Friends Peace House trains people to be able to mediate conflicts in their communities and work with their community to decrease violence resulting from conflicts.
Target Group: prisoners, who could themselves benefit from this training and who have the capacity to use these skills to benefit prisons and their communities in return.
This report concerns the project of transformative mediation carried out by Friends Peace House in prison. This year, a financial contribution of 6,701,591Rwfr was deposited to the account of Friends Peace House, in January 2019. The funding aimed at carrying out 15 workshops on transformative mediation to improve the prisoners’ knowledge to fight against all forms of violence, both in prisons and in the community after their release.
To date, 25 prisoners have been trained, of whom 10 have been able to return to their respective communities and have become mediators and trainers for Friends Peace house. Friends Peace House has also trained 11 other trainers and mediators. 5 157 432 Rwfr has ben used for workshops, follow up, and field visits.
- Friends Peace House expected to train 450 inmates from 5 prisons, but due to limited funds, FPH trained 25 inmates of Ngoma prison, 11 trainers, and will train 50 new inmates in December 2019. In total 86 will be trained (11.1% of the targeted number).
- The project that was submitted to Global Giving was supposed to come up with 15 workshops. FPH was only able to conduct 4 workshops so far but will carry out 4 moreworkshops.
- FPH expected to get 19,547, 099 Rwfr to run the transformative mediation program, but FPH received 6,701,591 Rwfr (34.2%).
- Through the workshops we learned that when there is not conflict transformation, mediation cannot bring peace; parties have to be aware that it is not us against them but us against the problem.
- FPH and its trainers also learned many skills from inmate practices for handling conflict.
On 12th November a field visit was organized to meet with the inmate mediators and come up with an updated report. FPH mediators met with 15 inmates since 10 among the 25 trained had been released. The most significant outcome was establishing the mediation rooms in Ngoma prison. Other significant impacts in prisons and in the community included the following:
- 73 cases were resolved with a settlement rate of around 91% of all cases received for mediation.
- The referral of 16 cases to FPH mediators saved time and resources for civil court judges. All the cases were handled by FPH mediators.
- Mediation skills are being used to prevent or deal with conflict in the prison and community.
- Relationships are being saved between inmates, students, and community members.
- People are using mediation skills in business situation.
- People are using mediation skills with close family members.
- Participants have become professional mediators.
- Among 10 released prisoners, 3 finished their setences, 3 received a presidential pardon, and 4 were released because they had exemplary behaviors.
The following are the challenges that the mediators presented:
- Sometime the parties in conflict slow down and become silent. In such a situation, it is a challenge for the mediators to help such people. The mediators FPH trained recommended getting a refresher on how to continue asking questions that could bring back the process.
- The limited number of mediators relative to the number of cases of conflict was a challenge: sometimes, the parties are not comfortable with some mediators, and having a larger number of mediators can increase the choices of parties in conflict.
Muziranenge Vestine (Social worker, Ngoma Prison):
“I came to work in Ngoma prison three months ago. In my previous endervours, I encountered many violence cases. When I reached here, things were totally different. The mediators are working hard to solve and bring back the relationships broken. The thing that touched me is the methodology of mediation where the mediators accompany the parties in conflict and facilitate them to solve their conflict. This leads to transformation. Mediators are contibuting a lot to handle conflict and dispute; I can testify that mediation has played a great role in Ngoma prison; every one here can say the same thing.”
Inmate X who didn’t want her name to appear:
“When I was called to mediate for the first time, I was not confident and thought things would be worse. I tried using reflection, summarizing, asking open-ended questions, and silence skills. Fortunately I facilitated the parties in conflict and they came up with a solution. I was very happy and the two people are now friends. Since then, I felt confident to mediate different cases of conflicts. I mediated 4 cases and all of them passed through.”
“I’m confident that students are receiving mediation service here at Mwananshuti (a school that helps vulnerable youth, created by Friends Peace House). Having mediators and a listening room here at school is a solution for promoting good relationships between children of different backgrounds that we receive here. I used the mediation skills to facilitate mediation between 4 students, and at school there is a good environment of peace and tolerance.”