Mediation Plus – the community mediation service for Eastbourne and Wealden – are celebrating the successful launch of a school mediation project in Uganda following the training of the projects’ Executive Director last autumn.
Early last year Mediation Plus were approached by Geoff and Geraldine Booker, founders of the Quicken Trust - a small Hailsham based educational charity which began its work on the Kabbudu Development Project, Uganda in 2000 after a chance visit. They had secured funding from the 'Commonwealth Professional Fellowship' to support Enoch Kagoda, Executive Director of the project to come to the UK and attend training and also to promote their work.
Geraldine said “‘When we first visited, the villagers of Kabubbu had no clean water supply, no electricity and no access to education or health care. They lived in poverty and destitution, surviving on subsistence farming and casual work breaking stones in a quarry. This job was done by women. They were paid £2.50 a week. Many children had been left orphaned by AIDS or malaria. The villagers saw themselves as ‘The Forgotten People’."
Enoch was keen to learn about mediation as he could see the value of peer mediation groups within the school and also wanted to use the skills within his role as director of the project and also within his community. After a week shadowing the Mediation Plus management team, where he was able to gain more knowledge on setting up mediation programmes, he completed their accredited mediation training where he was one of 12 participants from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.
Enoch said of his experience “It was a privilege for me to be able to get that kind of training from the UK. The support and encouragement I received contributed greatly to me being able to complete the course. The course was informative, interactive and the class size was just optimum. I liked the way the facilitators handled the learning materials. They were also friendly as well. The skills passed on were appropriate and make a trainee be able to handle a mediation process.”
Since returning to Uganda in November, Enoch has already started to implement his new skills and started the Trust High School Peer Mediation programme, as well as using the skills in his daily work for the project. Following the successful launch, Mediation Plus will be welcoming school Headmaster Ben to Hailsham in May to undertake their next mediation training course and advance the use of mediation in Kabubbu even further.
Mediation Plus Training Manager Joan Eades said “We are delighted that we have been able to help develop and promote mediation in this exciting new way and that the skills we teach our volunteer mediators here are now being used to such good effect as far away as Uganda. The success of our training has been evident in the professional and confident way that our mediators provide our services locally, and we have always believed there were many more individuals and organisations that could benefit from this knowledge. We are really looking forward to welcoming Ben in May and developing our work with the Quicken Trust even further.”