Deliberate Attempts to Prevent Violence
David Bucura, AGLI Coordinator, Central Africa
Soon after AGLI
introduced the Alternatives to Violence Program to the African Great
Lakes region, I received requests to train mediators since there were
so many festering sores that need to be attended to and the AVP facilitators
did not feel qualified to mediate. Here are two common stories from
Rwanda indicating the importance of trained mediators.
A mediator called
Edith mediated between two neighbors who were fighting for a path to
their houses. They have spent long time in different courts in Rwanda.
The wife of one man in conflict took the case to Edith, and Edith asked
her if was possible to ask the men in conflict for mediation. She went
and convinced her husband to try mediation and she asked as well the
other man. Both agreed for mediation and Edith started mediating with
them. She spent five sessions listening and doing mediation. By the
end, they agreed on what to do and not to continue to go to the courts.
They regretted that a lot of money was spent in the courts with lawyers
and travel. They asked forgiveness of each other and went to testify
in their families with Edith. Now they are good neighbours but before
mediation, they were enemies with no greetings from one another. Their
children and their wives were in conflict. Now Edith says that their
wives talk and the children play together.
Rususuruka, who is a mediator and a lawyer, gave a testimony on how
mediation prevents violent conflicts. Two persons had a conflict, an
employee and his boss. The boss did not pay his worker well, says the
worker. They went to the lawyers because they wanted to bring this case
in court. The worker went to Adrien, who is a mediator. He listened
to the worker and, after hearing him, he asked him if he may go and
ask his boss for mediation. After thinking, he agreed and he asked Adrien
to be the mediator. He went back and one day after they came together
for a mediation session. Adrien mediated between them and the boss paid
the worker and now they are best friends. They avoided conflicts from
the families and they avoided a lot of expenses because they would have
had to pay the lawyers and the court.