“Imminent divorces, discordant couples, neighbourhood squabbles, extended family feuds, polygamy wrangles, clergy bickering, property rows…..the list goes on.
The disputes may be wide and varied, for the most part complicated and controversial, others, too personal and confidential. Nonetheless, all are potential time bombs. If unresolved, they can lead to unfortunate consequences of violence, damage to property and even death.
We have found a reason to intervene in these domestic yet life threatening conflicts. Through mediation and counselling, we respond to calls from the community to mend the fragile relationships even at household levels.”
Mediation is the informal process in which the third party with no power to impose a resolution helps the disputing parties to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. Kuwadzana Conflict Management members employ this mechanism as prevention and early intervention of conflicts as an alternative to institutional mechanisms.
KCM expects that the mediation process would have a positive impact on living conditions in Kuwadzana high density surburb by affecting underlying levels of inter-group and interpersonal conflict.
Not only can mediation afford participants a sense of power and control over their lives, but it can also “humanize people to each other, help them to look beyond their assumptions and see each other as real persons with real human concerns and needs, even in the midst of disagreement – it can evoke recognition.
KCM not only develops a more appropriate and accessible forms of dispute resolution, but goes beyond that to reduce community tensions by strengthening the capacity of neighborhood, church, civic, school and social service organizations to address conflict effectively through community dialogues and conflict sensitisation meetings.
We embrace all facets of an excellent community mediation team. We are trained community volunteers and work as the primary providers of mediation services. Volunteers are not required to have academic or professional credentials therefore we are a representative of the diversity of women from many backgrounds.
We go further to engaging in public awareness campaigns and educational activities about the values and practices of mediation; providing a forum for dispute resolution at the earliest stage of conflict; and we aim at adequately providing an alternative to the judicial system at any stage of conflict.
We work with the participants to understand the concerns, fears, hopes, needs and expectations of everyone involved as opposed to imposing an agreement.
As coaches, we work with our client-participants to help them tell their “side of the story”, while ensuring that they also listen respectfully to the perspective of others. Our goal is to foster a win-win environment for all participants during the mediation and conflict resolution process, in hopes of supporting the parties in developing and strengthening coping skills and interpersonal group skills. We measure our success not only by the outcome of the mediation but also by the quality of the experience as reported by our participants.
It is an essential part of the process that people have access to non-confrontational methods of conflict resolution that focus upon restoring and building relationships among individuals and community groups. We also believe that people need to be more informed about mediation and conflict resolution strategies, as it can be a highly effective and empowering method of conflict resolution.
Each mediator gains power by the sheer willingness to listen, to question, to probe, to offer respect to disparate views, and to make an earnest attempt to understand the basis for each side’s position.
The real power, then, comes, not from the active engagement in what we think of as “mediation”, but in the silence that comes with patient listening, thoughtful consideration, and optimism for a different future. The perspective we are able to offer as the “third side” is no more than the mirror of the perspective of each side to the other.
With creativity and determination, the KCM mediators have achieved all three goals: prevented violence or conflict from escalating, resolved the actual conflict presented, and contained the violence or dispute so that peace and resolution will be lasting.