DRF and CSJP III Partnering on Community Mediation Project
The Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) and Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III are partnering to implement a community mediation project that will provide free sessions to persons in conflict.
This was disclosed by the DRF’s Content Delivery Leader, Paul Hines, who said the Foundation is aiming to host at least one session per month in each of the 50 communities served by CSJP III.
Additionally, he said the DRF is in discussion with churches and other institutions to identify suitable venues for these fora.
He was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, at the Agency’s Head Office in Kingston on Friday (May 4).
Mr. Hines said the project’s first phase commenced in January and included stakeholder sensitisation sessions with officers of the courts, the police, representatives of the churches and politicians, among other key interests.
Other phases of the project will include the training of additional resource persons and a media campaign launch.
In addition to providing funding for the project, the CSJP III also has a dual-referral relationship with the DRF.
This facilitates persons being referred from CSJP programmes for mediation, as well as DRF referrals for individuals in need of support, particularly from CSJP’s Psychological Services Unit.
Mr. Hines noted that stakeholder feedback has, so far, been positive, with persons welcoming the partnership to resolve conflicts, thereby reducing the case load before the courts and matters for police investigation.
“People disagree about things all the time; what we tend to see, however, is an escalation of those conflicts. But we have been offering mediation and sensitising persons about finding a way to engage when there is a conflict. That engagement helps them to find a way to talk it out, through the opportunity to work with a trained certified mediator,” he said.
Mr. Hines further pointed out that “when we invite persons to mediation, we want them to be in a space that they regard as safe (and which) we can (assure will) guarantee them confidentiality.”
“It’s amazing what can happen when people engage in mediation and what the results can be. It promotes respect, (and) it builds and repairs relationships,” he added.
Associate Clinical Psychologist with CSJP III, Chaday Nelson indicated that “we are (partnering on) this project because we see how it fits in with our overall vision and mandate to, not only build (the) capacity of communities to deal with conflicts, but to present other opportunities for community members to resolve issues.”