Since its formation in 1999, the Mediators Network for Sustainable Peace (MedNet), Inc has endeavored to reach community mediators in different parts of the country through the provision of training. Over these past 15 years, MedNet has gathered valuable lessons from these training experiences, especially form the reflections of trained community mediators on the applications of learned mediation principles and approaches. These lessons have not only enriched the participants’ mediation practice but have also led to the continuous enhancement of MedNet’s training modules.
This issue of The Mediator presents samples of experiences of MedNet in training. It begins with a discussion of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – or Empowering Dispute Resolution / Management Process (EDRMP) as called by MedNet – which I initially wrote for a legal audience. ADR is presented here as an approach to ending environmental conflicts. It looks at the concept as enunciated in major policy pronouncements with focus on its use in Philippine environment arena. We when move to four stories of training experiences. The first and second stories present the successive training activities that built the capacities of the local mediation of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) in Mindanao.
The third story consolidates the lessons learned from am mentoring partnership with interfaith religious leaders and their conflict mapping experience involving a land resource conflict in Zamboanga Sibugay. It provides valuable insights on the role of local organizations in community conflict resolution / management. The fourth story is an assessment of the EDRMP training that MedNet provided to about 600 barangay officials in the municipality of Santa Barbara in Iloilo. This cites how the training increased the participants’ confidence in mediating disputes in their respective communities.
Then this issue ends with an overview of the enhanced mediation training manual of MedNet. This enhanced manual reflects the transformation of the mediation perspective and practices of MedNet over its 15 years of training and mediation experiences. It also seeks to present to partners what they can expect from the next mediation training workshops of MedNet. Thanks to the community mediators whose shared reflections on the learned mediation training workshops of MedNet. Thanks to the community mediators whose shared reflections on the learned mediation principles and approaches and on their outcomes to their practices have led to these revisions.
I must say that the stories in this issue are not yet finished. They are instead celebrations of the ongoing, open-ended, dynamic process by which community mediators attempt to help others unlock barriers to effective management / resolution of conflicts, continuously learn from stories as they unfold, and create more peace advocates within communities.