Workshop on Peaceful Conflict Resolution

Participants in the workshop on the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

In the “community building” section of CEDAC´s project, supported by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), 29 community representatives from the provinces of Gateri, Buterere, Rukaramu and Maramvya. In addition to members of CEDAC´s project partner, the Biraturaba Association participated in a training workshop on the Peaceful Resolution of Conflict from 4 to 6 December 2013 in Bujumbura.

The projects objective is to reinforce the community representatives and leaders capacity to resolve conflicts in places which have been deeply affected by war or have had an influx of refugees. The participants will be able to efficiently and peacefully manage disputes that threaten to break up families and/or communities in this post-conflict period. The community representatives have been able to acquire techniques and deepened their knowledge of using mediation.

In the first part of the workshop participants learnt to how to analyse conflict by considering the following points: understanding the background context; identifying individuals or groups of actors implicated; listening to all the different perspectives; and discovering the factors and trends that underpin the conflict. It was discovered that there are many differing types of conflict.

One of the participants explained how conflicts come about, saying that everyone wants to be listened to, respected and understood. If one does not listen to the person addressing them, there is little chance that they will be listened to in return. So one must ask questions, be prepared to listen and try to understand the others point of view.  Sometimes conflicts take root due to a lack of information or erroneous beliefs in how to communicate effectively.

In time, when conflict resolution through mediation becomes a common and widespread practice, the endless arguments and cases will decrease in both the traditional and state court system. The decrease or absence of conflict will result in solidarity and political stability giving place to actions and initiatives for community development.

The trainer a Mr. Gahungu, encouraged the participants to organise a lot of listening sessions to practice mediation, so that the knowledge acquired during the training course may be mastered and shared. By practicing, the community representatives can strengthen their own skills before being able to transfer their skills to other members of the community.

On the third and final day, the workshop was concluded with the handing out of certificates in recognition of graduation.

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