Mediate: to try to end a disagreement between two or more people or groups by talking to them and trying to find things that everyone can agree on; to succeed in finding a solution to a disagreement between two people or groups.
Mediation, an extremely useful skill can be used anywhere in the world. Conflict is pervasive; in the home about what a child’s punishment should be to two political parties fighting over an army chief, as is the current news in Nepal with the Maoists and the government. It is essential to learn mediation skills in any context and think it’s very beneficial here in Nepal.
I am very interested in intercultural mediation practices so I was excited when Ram-ji Chaudray asked me to join him in a mediation orientation in Hadiya, a nearby village. NESPEC has realized that this is needed with their committees. Many members are in an environment where they are surrounded by constant conflict and do not know their resources or their capability in resolving problems. The purpose was to educate on a very basic level what exactly conflict is, what power sources there are and peoples rights.
After the long motorbike ride I was very curious on what the meeting was going to entail. I wondered how many committee members would attend considering maybe the subject did not interest them or how many could leave their work to attend. A good number arrived slowly to the field office, forcing us to move to the village district hall. There were almost twenty Hadiya committee members in attendance. Unfortunately only two were males. Since there was a lot of rain the days before there is a lot of cultivation work to be done.
Ram-ji, the project coordinator presented in a very clear manner with colorful cards that made for easy understanding. He asked, “What are the local problems here?” Many replied with answers ranging from; alcohol consumption, women not leaving the house, domestic violence and differences in ethnic groups. The participants were very active throughout the day, revealing that maybe this was not only awareness-building, yet also a way of venting what was stressing them out. Nepali tradition during meetings is to have a closure where participants share what they learned. Many stood up proudly explaining they were very grateful for the orientation and learned many new things such as the political structure, along with conflict management. I was able to interview two women at the end of the meeting with translation help. I hope to post when I am hooked up to a better internet signal.
Posted By Morgan St. Clair
Posted Aug 7th, 2009