Mediation training has become a growing need in Kenya as a constructive conflict resolution mechanism, especially because it is enshrined in the Kenya 2010 constitution. The Kenyan Judiciary has embraced mediation and is using it as a way to administer justice to people in a much faster way as well as deal with their massive case backlog. More people are training to be professional mediators! The more the professional mediators at every level of the community the better the help conflict parties can get. Bridges of Peace Initiatives (BPI) is committed to empowering people as conflict resolvers and peace practitioners in their own lives.
A professional online mediation training for 10 participants from seven counties in Kenya; West Pokot, Bomet, Muranga, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu and Nairobi, was organized by BPI on 26-30 June, 2023.
Through the 5 days the trainers, Njeri & Caroline, dissected the different topics of mediation with passion, professionalism and prowess. During the training, learners were informatively and comprehensively taken through the theory and practice of mediation. The learners took on the role of mediators through role plays and assessment tests.
The beauty of cultural diversity among the learners helped bring out diverse points of view broadening the minds of the learners especially during the role plays. This training was very impactful to each learner in different ways such that by the time the training was coming to an end many learners were confident they could mediate different cases successfully.
Most learners confessed to having learned not just to mediate others but to self-mediate. That this training helped them to gain the tools of resolving internal conflicts hence becoming better individuals, better parents and better professionals in their different fields of work. Many said from the role plays of the case studies provided they were able to learn the art of patience, the art of questioning strategically and the art of skillfully and confidently navigating through the hindrances that each case may present.
“This training has been impactful, informative and life changing for me. When we started, I was doubting if I will learn and be an effective Mediator. But I can confidently say that I am now a totally different person. I have learnt so many things and I am now confident to handle a Mediation case! As we were learning how to mediate parties, I was learning how to ‘self-mediate’ and resolve my own internal conflicts. The way I am now talking to people and even my children is different from how I have been doing in the past. The training has left me transformed into a better person, a better spouse and a better parent.” Was a comment by one of the participants.
Another participant shared; “The course has made me reflect on myself, some of my challenges in life and how I have been handling issues. I have learnt how to kindly and positively ask myself questions. So far, I have managed to resolve issues in my life that have been with me and would have taken a long time to resolve. I thought I was coming to learn how to help others. I have learnt how to help myself too.”
Thanks to the trainers’ openness in sharing their own journeys as mediators, the learners were able to pick out real life lessons that they may need to apply in this field moving forward. Many learners described this training as a life changing event that will forever influence who they are.
All participants were grateful for the opportunity to learn how to be better and how to make this world a better place through mediation. The training was concluded with a certification ceremony followed by thanksgiving and a closing prayer at 1700hrs on Friday 30th June 2023.
At BPI, we advocate for normalizing conflicts. For conflicts can bring positive changes if well handled. As Helena and Shoshana (2011) says; ‘Within each conflict lies the potential to move the relationship, the situation or the system forward.’
The trainers were Njeri Ndiangui and Caroline Wanjiku.
By Keren Nthambi