Conversations with a Veteran Mediator
•An Overview : ADR in Islam • Trainees' Insights • Real Estate Deal Turned Nightmare•
The implementation of the normalization phase of the peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front ushered in new opportunities for MedNet in reaching communities affected by armed conflict in the now Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
MedNet’s initial efforts in BARMM particularly in Maguindanao, Cotabato City , and Midsayap, North Cotabato through the Misereor/KZE project have been expanded under the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) component of the Support to Peacebuilding and Normalization-Welfare Assistance for Vulnerable Sector (SPAN WAVE) Program of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and United Nations Development Program.
As of writing, a total of 216 community leaders, barangay officials and representatives of 14 civil society organizations working in Marawi City, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi have participated in a series of basic and advanced mediation training. Unique to these modular training activities is the inclusion of an Islamic perspective on alternative dispute resolution.
MedNet trainees, trainers, and Muslim religious leaders and scholars learned a lot from this series of training activities especially the cultural context of their conflicts and their processes. It deepened our understanding of the kinds of conflicts that ordinary people in conflict-affected communities are confronted with, from simple neighborhood issues to marital conflicts and boundary disputes where many of these results in rido.
Thus, this issue of The Mediator gives ample space to the learnings and insights of our trainees and co-facilitators from partner civil society organizations on the training and initial field application work.
Also shared with you are experiences of other trainees from Quezon City and highlights form a Learning Exchange Forum in the Cordillera Administrative Region among MedNet Trainees and like-minded practitioners, and the thoughts and feelings of UP students who looked at conflicts in a different community-that of Manila City Jail as part of their civic welfare assignment from MedNet being their NSTP placement office.
Capping this issue are the reflections from a MedNet member drawn from years of work as farmer, activist, barangay official, and practicing mediator.
Dear readers, it is my hope that you are inspired by the stories shared with you. May you continue supporting the work of community mediators as they confront new realities and challenges in the field.