In efforts to strengthen existing mediation-support capacity on the continent, and to enhance the capacities of African countries to effectively and peacefully resolve their own conflicts, ACCORD conducted a French Advanced Mediation Training for the African Union (AU). Bringing together fifteen participants, consisting of representatives from the AU Liaison Offices; Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Civil Society. The training took place in Libreville, Gabon, from 29 – 31 July 2013.
The participants after one of the sessions
The training is part of ACCORD mediation curriculum which builds on the acquired skills from the previous AU Mediation Training that was conducted in Dakar, Senegal in September 2012. The training adopted a participatory approach whereby the participants were immersed into a simulated mediation environment. The purpose of this methodology was to enhance the practical knowledge of participants as mediation process experts and to provide a platform for AU, RECs, and Civil Society to apply their skills in a complex mediation scenario. As one participant noted, "The fact that we utilised simulation has helped me understand the mediation process and experience the transformation of different parties in a conflict.''
In recent times there has been an increasingly sharp focus among peacebuilding and conflict management practitioners in Africa on the need to lay more emphasis on preventive mechanisms so as to prevent the emergence of violent conflicts as well as to sustain post-crisis recovery efforts. Such emphasis calls for the need to among others, continuously strengthen the capacities of mediators at the regional and continental levels. The use of simulated mediation trainings goes a long way in the enhancement of mediation capacity among mediators. The need to build mediation capacity in Africa is congruent with the overall goals of ACCORD's Peacemaking Unit which are: prevention of violent conflict, promotion of dialogue, and peaceful resolution of conflicts on the African continent. The Unit strives to achieve this through initiatives that focus on the strengthening of existing mediation and mediation-support capacity on the continent. ACCORD intends to continue supporting the work of the AU and the RECs through engaging more training and capacity building initiatives.
A section of the participants during group discussions