In 2010 AFSC and Alianza Civica launched a yearlong project in three Mexico City neighborhoods that have experienced high levels of violence. By bringing to together police officers and community members, the program strengthens community bonds by addressing the negative perceptions of the police as well as the police’s perceptions of the young people living in the neighborhoods.
During monthly dialogue meetings with the police and community, participants get to know each other and talk about what aggravates tensions. In training sessions, neighborhood youth learn about conflict transformation and how to analyze their situation. Meanwhile the police officers are given a chance to discuss how they perceive their role in society and the problems they face. Based on these workshops the project has produced a manual to promote new thinking and help police officers imagine themselves as peacemakers.
AFSC adapted a “score card” method from India which measures the sense of security neighborhood residents feel at the beginning and end of the program to help the community see the impact of their time together.