Empowering South African women in mediation

[Image] Accord trained this group of Darfuri women
in conflict resolution and negotiation.
(Images: Accord)

Bonisiwe Themba
  Progressive Women’s Movement
  +27 11 833 0200

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MediaClubSouthAfrica.com reporter

Middelberg in Mpumalanga and Ficksburg in the Free State are the first two venues to host the Training in Mediation course on behalf of the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa (PWMSA).

The training is supported by Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part social initiative and is presented by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (Accord).

The aim of the three-day course is to impart mediation skills to women from the PWMSA, and provide course participants with both a practical and theoretical framework within which to analyse and mediate conflict.

Group exercises to integrate the skills learned will also be conducted, to empower the women to play mediation roles in their respective communities.

In partnership with Accord, Brand South Africa aims to improve social cohesion and active citizenship with the sessions.

Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said: “This training is important because we need to equip and empower our people so that they are better able to take care of themselves and to play their part in their various communities.”

Who better to make a difference than the women of South Africa, he asked.

Creative African solutions to conflict

Based in Mount Edgecombe, north of Durban, Accord works to bring creative African solutions to the challenges posed by conflict on the continent.

Operating across the Southern African region, through the Great Lakes, to West Africa and the Horn of Africa, Accord has trained over 20 000 people, from government to community level, in conflict management and resolution, since its establishment in 1992.

The organisation signed a memorandum of understanding with PWMSA in September 2011, with the aim of contributing to peace and sustainable development in South Africa and across the continent. This it plans to achieve through the development of skilled female mediators, who are active in their communities.

Through these training sessions, it is hoped that the participants will reach a better understanding and appreciation of their roles as mediator in their communities.

Armed with an understanding of conflict analyses, and basic knowledge of the principles and concepts underpinning mediation, the women will go forth with the confidence to be able to effectively solve conflict situations.

They will also receive certificates, asserting their new status as conflict mediators.

Giving women a voice

The Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa is a non-profit organisation that enables women to speak with one voice to address their concerns using a single platform of action irrespective of race, class, religion, political and social standing.

It works to counter the traditional system of patriarchy, which in the past has undermined the role of women in society and prevented them from playing a substantial role in nation building.