A mediation where everybody wins: dream or truth?

Wednesday’s workshop was with the Traditional Council of Bombe Bakundu. GCI members Ebeny, Derick and Giorgia worked with the council on the issue of mediation in our continued mission to increase the capacity of traditional councils to resolve disputes in their communities fairly and amicably.

The workshop opened with an icebreaker.  The members of the council coupled up and each pair faced each other while holdingGCI staff conducting the icebreaker right hands. Then each person had to push against the right hand of his partner trying to touch him while his partner attempted to do the same. This was supposed to represent bad mediation. When each person is only pushing against the other, there will be no solution. Good mediation involves each person to compromise and listen to the other side.

After the icebreaker, Giorgia gave a lecture on good mediation. The main point she wanted the council to understand is that in good mediation, the mediator cannot look only at the argument that each party brings to the table. If he does that, his only solution is to decide who is right and who is wrong – a win/lose scenario. If, instead, he looks at the interests behind each part’s argument, the mediator can find common ground in the interests and find a solution that fulfills the desires of each group – a win/win scenario.

Another benefit of this approach is the ability of building better relationships in the community because common ground and common interests will be seen and the community will know how to move forward together as they strive towards development.

In conclusion, the workshop was a success. The council members were open to the new ideas and participated fully. Next workshop, the council members will have the opportunity to put these new ideas into practices as the will be asked to reside over mock cases.