Call for Jamaicans to Get Mediation Training

The Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) is urging persons from all levels of society to get training in mediation in order to play a role in resolving conflicts.

Content Delivery Leader at the DRF, Paul Hines, said certification in mediation could be beneficial to student and youth leaders, community leaders, as well as members of community groups and other organisations.

“I am encouraging you, if you are in school, for example as a prefect, you can offer peer mediation. If you are a young person in a club or group and you get the skills as a mediator, what that does is allow you to help your friends manage issues peacefully,” he pointed out.

Mr. Hines, who was addressing a recent JIS Think Tank, said community members eager to contribute to the peace-building effort should also consider getting trained in mediation.

He noted that this type of technique can also be beneficial in helping families that have long-standing or difficult conflicts.

“Sometimes, there are family matters that are begging for mediation. Many families have been pulled apart because they were unable to resolve issues, and it needs someone on the outside, many times, to really help them,” he said.

Mr. Hines added that “sometimes, simple matters that can be resolved are not resolved for the want of somebody who can play that role of mediator, which is to help the parties who are in conflict to talk it out”.

Persons can contact the DRF at 876-906-2456 to access mediation training. Sessions can be arranged for evenings and weekends.

Mediation training is 40 hours plus a practicum, which includes supervised mediations, observations and exposure to conflict coaches.

“You have to have an interest in helping persons resolve their conflicts. If you think that you are that person and you have the patience, [you should get trained]. A mediator is someone who helps persons resolve their issues. It’s not somebody who imposes his or her own values or views on them,” Mr. Hines said.

Meanwhile, he said the DRF is focused on developing a network of trained mediators at the community level.

“Our effort is to pull all the mediators together… . It’s about how those resources are going to be used in such a way that impacts the life and the values of the community,” he said.

He said the DRF is helping community-based organisations, such as churches, football and youth clubs, to develop new mechanisms to resolve conflicts, which involve using mediation and other alternative dispute-resolution techniques.

The DRF is a private voluntary foundation started in July 1994 to establish and encourage the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques throughout Jamaica.

Some of its objectives are to encourage and educate the public about using ADR techniques and community and restorative justice practices to promote peace and resolve conflicts without resorting to violence, to establish peace and justice centres in communities throughout Jamaica, and to increase mediation and arbitration services by the legal profession and courts as dispute resolution options.

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