"Seven weeks to look, see, learn, and share some skills in Conflict ResolutionÖ
For over a year this journey has gradually been coming together. But the seeds were sown over 40 years ago when serving in Tanzania with the Peace Corps."  

Mediation Class-Case Studies - Kigali

July 16-18, 2007
Day 1
The class began on Monday and had 15-20 students depending on the time attendance was taken. Because some students did not speak French or English well, I taught in English and translation to Kinyarwanda was done by Osee Rugagaza and Dieu Donne. A Korean art therapist who is living on the compound was also permitted to attend.

I did a lot of lecturing but spent about equal time responding to very good questions coming from the group. The class went until 4:00PM as opposed to 2:30 in Goma. The next two days began at 8:00AM sharp.

Our routine was:
1.Introduction of ourselves and something we like to do.
2. Group exercise to determine what they want to cover in the course. .
3. They asked for a review of the mediation process which is where I started and where we stayed for most of the next two days.
4. I gave them a lot of info on how we get referrals, opening a case file, contacting the parties, answering questions of parties, screening for history of violence, need for security, meeting , greeting and seating the parties, geography of the table, ground rules or no ground rules, the agreement to mediate, confidentiality, allowing people to take breaks, sending them home to do homework or think about the case. Also how the mediator must be humble, the relativity of truth, staying neutral, importance of listening, repeating the story so that parties know you heard them, the way to establish rules for mediation, staying focused, positions and needs, written invitation with details, when to caucus, what to do if parties refuse to sign an agreement to mediate, cycle of violence.

Day 2
The second day went well. We finished with process and then did a long demonstration of a mediation between a husband and wife which went into the third day.

Day 3

We finished the mediation at about 11. We did several light and livelies during the course when people were getting tired. I also tried a silent acting /pantomiming game designed to help people read body language which went quite well.

During lunch I interview people on camera about the cases they had done. This tape may be useful in selling the idea of mediation to others. If we could get some testimonials of satisfied customers that would also be useful for future fundraising and information sessions.

I determined that as a group they had done approximately 51 mediations although this was extrapolated from the number who were also absent on the second day.

In the afternoon, I began a discussion of where we go next and after five minutes felt comfortable in turning that process over to the members. I think they have most if not all of the same goals as the Goma group, and they are currently about as active. They have an additional problem of where they fit in the grand scheme of things with the Quaker community, Friends Peace House, AGLI etc. They could even be an independent body, but this would probably not be an acceptable choice as connected to Friends Peace House and AGLI, They could benefit from existing structures and services.
They set their next meeting for Saturday, September 29, 2007 from 9am to 1pm. Theoneste led the last discussions. Finances and funding are of major concern. Can they charge for their service, I see no reason why they should not. You pay a doctor to take care of your illness, why not a mediator to help you resolve your problems? They have not determined a year long calendar. They havenít determined should they meet every 2 or every 3 months. They did not mention a regional training center as Goma did. I see no reason why mediation could not eventually be organized on a regional basis.

During the evaluation, the main criticisms were lack of a syllabus, which I explained I couldnít provide, because I hadnít met them and wanted to learn what they wanted. Iíve never been very good at following a syllabus and apologized and acknowledged that they probably grew up with syllabuses and I didnít. One complained that I had not covered negotiation, so I loaned that individual the book, Getting to Yes and asked them to take it to the library at Peace House when they finished. There were a lot of compliments on the positive side of the evaluation, and I think Theoneste will mention them in his report.

Review of some of the cases

1. Argument between husband and wife after wife purchased a cow without husbandís consent.
2. Attempt to resolve conflict occurring in a young unmarried couple when girl contracted AIDS from the boy. Girlís family wanted him to be brought to justice, but she died before this happened. He eventually came to ask the pardon of the girlís family.
3. Children at a school for street children got into conflict over name calling between a boy and girl. Teacher/director resolved it.
4. A young couple in school, girl gets pregnant, mediation process helps them talk and find way of both continuing education and providing care for the baby.
5. There are several other interviews but the camera is not available to me at time.