School mediators gathered at the Interregional Forum “Life Without Conflict”
The Interregional Forum of School Mediation Practices “Life Without Conflict” was held in Kyiv.
The event was attended by over 160 participants, including the representatives of 5 school dispute resolution services (SDRS) who reached the final of the “Best Mediator Service 2018” contest (see https://goo.gl/1U9wd8 for details).
- SDRS “Dovira”, Novomykolayiv school of the Skadovsk district council, Kherson region;
- SDRS “Zlagoda”, Dvořichansk school No.1, Kharkiv region;
- SDRS “Shans”, Lipovetsk school №2 of the Lipovetsky district council, Vinnytsa region;
- SDRS “FirSTep”, “O.Pchilka Kovel City Gymnasium”, Volyn region;
- SDSRS “Harmonia”, “Academic Gymnasium”, Skadovsk, Kherson region.
The participants were greeted by Yevgen Poltenko, Executive Director of the Legal Development Network, Olga Galchenko, coordinator of the program “Human Rights and Justice” of the International Renaissance Foundation, and Olena Mytnyk, head of the Legal Awareness expert group of the Directorate for Human Rights, Access to Justice and Legal Awareness, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.
The finalist teams prepared their homework, that was evaluated by the jury. Namely, the teams gave presentations on the topic “What is mediation and why are dispute resolution services necessary?” Also they simulated the mediation procedure by recreating the real situations that they encountered at school.
Having evaluated the presentations, the jury decided to award the title “Best School Dispute Resolution Service 2018” to the team of mediators of UDRS “Dovira” from Novomykolaivka, Kherson region.
Also during the Forum the participants had an opportunity to take part in the interesting workshops held by the finalists. In addition, a number of master classes were devoted to the issues of mediation, non-violent communication, restorative approach and bullying countermeasures at school.
Another event that took place at the forum was the press conference devoted to mediation and its development in Ukraine. In particular, it was discussed how school mediation can resolve conflicts at school, the history and prospects of creating school dispute resolution services in Ukraine, and practices of school mediation. The participants also discussed the results of the Legal Development Network project “Development of school dispute resolution services”.
The press conference was attended by Ella Petrenko, Head of the Legal Development Network project “Development of school dispute resolution services”, Tetyana Shevchuk, regional coordinator of the project in Khmilnyk district of Vinnytsia region, Natalia Zykova, regional coordinator of the project in Skadovsk district of Kherson oblast, and Elizaveta Koval, mediator and coach-facilitator of the NGO “Institute for Peace and Understanding”.
During the press conference Ella Petrenko spoke about the results of the Legal Development Network project “Development of school dispute resolution services”. As a result of the project implementation the communication was established between the offices and the school dispute resolution services in 5 regions with over 140 participants of the coordination meetings. 42 coaches-facilitators were trained by the mediation specialists from the Institute for Peace and Understanding.
As a part of the project 250 mediators (both schoolchildren and teachers) were trained, and the activities of the newly created SCRS covered over 6 thousand children in 22 educational establishments. One of the immediate results of the project implementation is the fact that at the moment 38 school dispute resolution services work in partnership with the Legal Development Network offices in Bilozerka (Kherson oblast, 6 services), Dvorichna (Kharkiv oblast, 3 services), Skadovsk (Kherson region, 8 services), Khmilnyk (Vinnitsa region, 8 services), Kovel (Volyn region, 5 services), Turbov and Lipovtsy (Vinnytska oblast, 8 services).
Elizaveta Koval paid attention to the specifics of the restorative practices during mediation. She talked about their principles: voluntariness, confidentiality, neutrality and distribution of responsibility.
Natalia Zykova devoted her speech to the implementation of mediation in schools of Skadovsky district of the Kherson region. She explained the benefits of this method in resolving conflicts, emphasizing that it greatly contributes to the development of leadership qualities. She also talked about the obstacles to mediation development in Ukraine.
Tetyana Shevchuk spoke about the development of conflict resolution services in Khmelnytsky district of the Vinnytsia region and about the on cooperation with the “Institute for Peace and Understanding” on the trainers’ capacity development. She also said that as a result of their cooperation with local government, the funds for further training for students in mediation will be allocated from the local budget.
The press conference was attended by the student-mediator of the Nerubai Educational Complex Yulia Mikhaylenko (Odesa region), who talked about the practical aspects of mediation in school and typical problems that make the students turn for help to mediators.
The forum was held on June 20th in the Creative Space IZONE (8 Naberezhno-Lugova St).
Olena Mytnyk, Head of the Legal Awareness Expert Group of the Directorate for Human Rights, Access to Justice and Legal Awareness of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine: “Mediation as a non-violent conflict resolution method is currently being actively implemented in Ukrainian schools. The Legal Development Network is actively working on promoting and implementing mediation in partner schools of non-governmental organizations, in particular, the school dispute resolution services are the direct result of this work. The Directorate strongly supports the implementation of such initiatives, as we understand that the disciplinary methods for resolving the conflicts among students don’t always work. Mediation from being implemented from the early age, forms the ability to understand their own and others’ interests, as well as aids in resolving conflict situations through productive communication, rather than violence”.
Ella Petrenko, Head of the Legal Development Network project “Development of school dispute resolution services”: “School statistics show that the level of violence among schoolchildren is increasing, as well as the level of violence in our society. Traditional conflict resolution methods no longer give the desired results. In this situation, mediation methods can play a positive role.”
Elizaveta Koval, mediator and coach-facilitator of the NGO “Institute for Peace and Understanding”: “Restorative practices used in mediation offer an integrated approach that not only helps conflict resolution, but also supports social rehabilitation for all involved parties. This is a concept that exists through the community, for the community and through the unification of all members of the community: students, teachers, administration and parents.”
In the photo: Elizaveta Koval, mediator, coach-facilitator of the NGO “Institute for Peace and Understanding” who held a workshop on restorative approach in school.
Olga Tutun, member of the board of the National Association of Mediators of Ukraine: “I think that absolutely all conscious members of society should be interested in the development of school mediation as a culture of conflict transformation in school environment. After all, without a big exaggeration, our future depends on how our children will learn to resolve conflicts, constructively or destructively; and on the example of the adults they see around themselves. At the Interregional School Mediation Practices Forum, I saw inspired, positive, active and creative gifted teens enthused by the idea of non-violent communication. They came to Kyiv from different regions of our country with the support of the creative and enthusiastic adults. During the competition children demonstrated good mediation skills while working with conflict relations, needs and emotions of the parties to the conflict, and they brilliantly coped with their tasks. In fact, these skills are universal and they will be useful in everyday life, in learning and communication. Of course, there is still much to learn and areas to develop. However, the path will be overcome by those who follow it!”
The event was conducted as a part of the Legal Development Network project “Development of school dispute resolution services”, which is implemented by the NGO “Belozersky Center for Regional Development” in partnership with the members of the Legal Development Network – NGO “Podillya Human Rights Center”, NGO “Pravo”, NGO ” Center for the Community Growth”, NGO “Roma Human Rights Center”, NGO “Dvorichanshchyna Rural Communities Foundation”, NGO “Skadovschina is my native land”, IRC “Legal space” with the financial support of the International Renaissance Foundation.
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