You are on page 1of 16

Sunrise Focus Group Analysis

Prepared by the Peace Bridges Organization Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Team in collaboration with Sunrise

1

2 .

IV. II. III. X. XIV. XI. What is Mediation? Types of Conflict in Communities Qualities of Sunrise Mediators Success in Mediation Appropriate Situations for Mediation Skills for Mediation Final Baseline Lessons Learned 6 6 7 8 9 10 11 End-line Report: January 2012 XII. XIII. Introduction to Peace Bridges Sunrise Project: Conflict Mediation for Commune Leaders Project Methodology Limitations of this Project 4 4 5 6 Baseline Report: August 2011 V. XVI. VIII. VII.Table of Contents I. IX. XV. VI. Changes to the Mediators Continued Advise and Education Qualities of Sunrise Mediators: A Comparison with the Baseline Appropriate Situations for Mediation: Family and Divorce Mediation Final End-line Lessons Learned 11 12 13 14 15 3 .

Originally conceived to help pastors and churches provide mediation and conciliation services. The Conflict Mediation for Commune Leaders project was initiated by Sunrise. Before providing skills to Sunrise. Our partnership projects include peace education in prisons. Kompong Cham province. skill and habit of conflict resolution and transformation in Vealvong commune. II. and other community organizations. including organizing. Introduction to Sunrise: The Conflict Mediation for Commune Leaders Project This project was conducted by Sunrise with with assistance from the mobilization team at Peace Bridges. Learn how to troubleshooting in their own lives and lead to help others. churches. This baseline also seeks to understand current attitudes towards mediation in order to assess what these individuals will gain by participating in the Peace Bridges trainings. Become good effective listeners in their own family. Kompong Cham district. the organization extends its activities with non-Christian groups (value based project) by cooperating with Sunrise (a local NonGovernment-Organization) to run Commune Leaders project which intends to provide conflict resolution and mediation skill to village and commune committee. While these mediators are experienced working in villages. It's also the first project which Peace Bridges cooperate with Sunrise organization for training in order to transfer knowledge. this baseline was conducted in Veal Vong commune. a partner of Peace Bridges. attitude. work place and community. schools. facilitating the trainings and the lesson design.I. unbiased and use active listening. graduates of Peace Bridges' second cohort of Conflict Resolution and Transformation training. the mobilization team at Peace ● ● ● ● ● ● 4 . Obtain knowledge and skills for consulting and mediating conflicts. Almost all activities are organized by Sunrise. they hope to expand their skills. The training project for Conflict Mediation for Commune Leaders began December 2010 and implemented in January 2011. Peace Bridges now provided longterm training and partnership/mobilization services to over 200 community peace builders. The goal of the project is to train 20 commune leaders so that they develop added skills and abilities to perform conflict mediation for people living in the above commune. This baseline was done to understand the capacity of village and commune committee in managing conflict in their community and find out any solution for those conflicts. All of above activities were designed by Sunrise staff. The project seeks to achieve Sunrise's objective to provide 20 commune authorities with knowledge and skills. Learn how to transfer their knowledge to communities through conflict mediation and consultation. Introduction to Peace Bridges Peace Bridges was formed in response to the recommendations of the Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia’s Task Force on Unity and Peace. The phrase “better conflict solving” here means mediators have to be neutral. Kampong Cham province. The program will be completed at the end of August 2011. Peace Bridges’ vision has deepened and expanded over the last six years. Today. The mobilization team at Peace Bridges plays a role in providing technical advice (both lesson design and facilitating the training) as well as some very small financial support to Sunrise for the project. Kampong Cham district. Upon request. The project was focused on the development of knowledge and skill for conflict resolution and transformation to commune authorities and proposes the trainees to: Understand how to build peace and how to resolve conflict peacefully. Learn about peaceful behaviors and attitudes. NGOs.

prejudice. Two FGD moderators and three note-takers were trained by the Peace Bridges Research. the research. summarizing) Creating problem list and its types (treatments and solutions) Stress management Term 7: Conflict Mediation Examination Trail mediation. There were four participants in each group. This 5 . Non-violence communication Quality of conflict mediators Term 2: The understanding of conflicts The understanding of conflicts and type of conflict Causes of conflicts (identification. However. this baseline analysis was conducted in order to understand what the mediators know and practice prior to the trainings. Methodology To understand their skills. The results showed that the conflict mediations that were often done were family or land related. The survey also provided some scenarios of conflicts and encouraged them to discuss solutions to the conflict. it was shown they struggled in their work for several reasons and hoped to improve in the following areas: ● ● ● Learning about the strategy of effective conflict resolution and transformation Specific process on how to consult and mediate conflict Communal problem solving and management skill Having seen the above requests. stereotype and discrimination) Listening skill I Term 3: Issues identification and analysis Individual interviews (skill of using question to collect information) Paraphrasing and reframing skill Problem analysis ( problem tree and map) Term 4: Problem identification and option generation Telling the story without interruption (create ground rule. Problem Ranking and Possible Solution Ranking were technique of conducting among those committee members in the field. The results from the field were recorded and later transcripted and transcribed for analysis. III. and training evaluation Term 5: Option Evaluation (Finding Strategies for Meeting Needs) Option generation (need strategies) Option evaluation Agreement generation Monitoring strategy Term 6: Conflict Transformation The understanding of forgiveness The difference between forgiveness and reconciliation The cycle of reconciliation Importance of confessions and changing attitudes Role Playing: Learning how to apply good mediation technique As another piece of the Peace Bridges and Sunrise partnership. the mobilization team and Sunrise teams developed the following curriculum to response to their demands and problems as the following: Content and title of lesson Term 1: Characteristics of conflict mediators Lessons on Shalom as a path to peace.Bridges conducted needs assessment of this context. and Evaluation Unit staff a week before data collection in January 2011. An end-line will be conducted at the conclusion of the trainings to determine how the lessons have assisted the mediators to become better at conflict management. Monitoring. 8 conflict parties (1h30mn/trainee) Monitoring and how to use power Discussing what the participants learned. monitoring and evaluation team at Peace Bridges conducted three Focus Group Discussions (FGD) using direct open-end questions. perception.

Baseline Report: August 2011 V. Other elements might not change. the problems which the Sunrise mediators face are most commonly land conflict among people in community. Ideally. the moderators explained the purpose of the project.training included specific instructions about how to administer the surveys as well as general lessons about the ethics of administering surveys. Some of them found other roots of the conflicts such as drug addict. in some cases. This occured for the baselines and the end-line focus group discussions. For each FGD. Types of Conflict in Communities In the Focus Groups. how the data would be used. debt. How and why people come to mediation varies. The second topic of conflict they most frequently encounter is domestic violence. IV. and moving on with as little bitterness as possible. What is Mediation? Mediation is a process where two conflicting parties have the opportunity to come together and resolve their differences in a way which they decide for themselves. Peace Bridges will be able to assist these mediators. the transcripts were later translated into English for analysis. reconciliation is impossible and both parties decide that the conflict has broken the relationship beyond repair. Qualities of Sunrise Mediators 6 . One such example is divorce cases. the parties need help reaching an agreement. This leaves limited time to practice their new skills. VII. in hopes of seeing change over the course of the trainings. In some areas. they did not mention how they categorize the size of conflict whether it is big or small conflict or if it’s bigger than their ability to solve it. and thirdly are cases of debt. This baseline report looks at how mediators with Sunrise approach their practice. and a lack of respect between individuals. This is done to understand how they currently approach their mediation. the mediator is the individual who guides the conversation in a direction which allows both parties to feel heard and ultimately come to a settlement themselves. Sample: It’s possible that the individuals sampled in the focus group do not entirely represent the feelings of the entire group. mediation preserves the relationship between the two parties. However. Timeline: The mediators participated in the end-line focus group several weeks after the training course was completed. People can seek mediation for anything from land disputes to child custody settlements. and fewer examples to share how they have changed. Oral consent was obtained from all individuals participating in the FGDs. This could lead to some different understandings of terminology and confusion over how certain words are used. In these cases. In its purest form. However. or that mediators not present at either or both of the focus group have different opinions. but this will be determined in the end-line. Language: While the focus groups were conducted in Khmer. These issues are the reasons people seek mediation. VI. Limitations of this Project This project--both the baseline and end-line focus groups--encountered several challenges which placed limitations on this report.

Making threats could be counterproductive. mediators sometimes speak about “common humanity” or “mutual respect” as reasons to change one’s behavior. This could simply be how the mediators describe their work outside of mediation. mediation is a place to resolve issues and problems and is this is their primary focus and the approach that they prefer. instead of other forms of mediation such as transformative or narrative mediation. This is most common in situations of abuse where the mediator threatens that if a husband does not cooperate they will seek legal help. They want to be a neutral party. The mediators also emphasized the need to make sure everyone has a space to voice their concerns and that the person bringing the complaint does not control the session. Similarly. it’s important that in the mediation. and finally encourage agreement towards this solution. such as in land disputes when someone else in the community might know important information. This is not the case for the Sunrise mediators. In other contexts in other places in the world. This tendency to give advice and guidance could be problematic. Neutral: All the mediators emphasized the importance of neutrality. The word “consequences” appeared when discussing outcomes of the mediation. find out the problem or root of the conflict. the language is frequently biased.” Some of these mediators try to discover the problems by asking the parties. we call them and suggest them to be in accord and let them make decision to find out any solution and agreement from that conflict such as about land conflict. or it could simply be an example of how mediation has been adjusted to be more appropriate for Cambodia. It also appears that the mediators sometimes use “threats” if behavior is unchanged. perhaps they are not practicing it as well as they could be. and how they understand their role in mediation. To these mediators. However. One of the mediators describes this in the following. The FGDs found most of the participants will begin a mediation by asking questions to both conflict parties. Educators: Several mediators reported that they see it as their responsibility to educate and give guidance. They will also bring in additional voices and perspectives in if they need facts verified.” “we need to understand their problem. find a solution. “the child’s mistake. Even though they value neutrality. Everyone has biases. the mediators believe part of their responsibility is to helping people see the future repercussions of their behavior as central to their role. Problem-Solvers: All the mediators are practicing problem-solving mediation. and both parties decide to mediate with each other and agreement to stop the conflict. 7 . or it could represent attitudes towards the role of mediation. “after we know the reason why they have conflict. but also talking about behavior which the mediator perceives is unhealthy. Regardless.In the process of analyzing the FGDs. When working with the parties.” This could simply be how the mediators talk outside mediation. several trends in behaviors were discovered in the Sunrise mediators. the mediators must carefully choose neutral words and phrases that help both parties understand that mediation is good for everyone involved and it’s possible that both parties can reach a solution which benefits both of them. Even though they value neutrality. This was especially true when asked to evaluate a case study. it’s worth considering how meeting unmet needs fits into this framework.” and “the person is a drunkard. or it could be worth exploring. and might not always make people want to cooperate for the right reasons. the mediators concentrate only on facilitating a peaceful solution.” “the husband is lazy. They will unfailingly listen unbiased to both parties. The mediator could be appealing to this as a motivational tactic to make the parties more invested. in the FGDs.

Detail-Oriented: The mediators all agree that finding the root causes of problems is very important. Or. when evaluating case studies. Mediators tell stories about their experience and mediations rather than strictly give answers. VIII. several mediators wanted to discuss the appropriateness of dating while in high school. Mediation is not a clear linear line of steps that are taken. What this means practically. When a mediator takes on a position of authority. Arbitrators: Another role that the Sunrise mediators sometime take is arbitrator. When describing several success stories. they see mediations to be like stories. However. It would be interesting knowing what specifics they use to evaluate their mediation. We asked what they defined as success. is not entirely clear. Or this could be a sign that they prefer to mediate situations involving a clear problem that needs a clear resolution. we discovered that the mediators also have a difficult time defining success. This could upset the power dynamic.The mediators easily agree that it’s important for the parties to come to their own solutions to their own problems. whereby they feel comfortable telling parties what they think is the appropriate solution. then it’s worth considering if giving advice or educating could make this difficult for the parties. or know how much follow-up is involved. They understand the importance of going beyond interests and positions and looking for core reasons people are in conflict. Sometimes a specific mediation simply does not work out and they do not offer specifics. often success at mediation is difficult to measure. the mediators describe how they went to multiple sources and individuals looking for facts and sorting out what really happened. They are willing to take time to understand the context and situation behind the conflict. mostly of situations involving land disputes where it’s easier to agree to establish a logical outcome. to the relationship in question. this could simply mean that they most commonly mediate land disputes because these are the most common problems in small communities. Success in Mediation Mediation hopes to provide both parties with a satisfactory solution to their problem. For example. Listeners: All of the mediators agreed it was important to listen to the parties and they all emphasized that they do their best to listen and help the parties listen to each other. It’s impossible to know if they are referring to the long-term solution. While these are factors in the case study. meaning that while the mediators want to find solutions to the problem. they would offer examples. It’s worth considering what this might mean about the types of cases that mediators normally take on. The mediators also do not offer clear guidelines of what they consider a failure either. The mediators would benefit from stepping back and understanding the entire situation and then learning to focus down on problem solving without getting distracted by details. All the above findings to inform us that mediation is also a narrative experience. or to the actual agreed upon solution. this contradicts the ability to be a facilitator. However. or went into great detail about the appropriate age for a child to skip school. the mediators are likely to become distracted in the details and lose the big picture. If this is a strong value. This could also be a sign that mediators do not always consider relationships to be important. in the case of the child skipping school. Investigators: The mediators also describe their role as trying to find the causes and specifics of the conflict. In the end. the role of silent facilitator mediator does not describe these mediators who appear to be comfortable inserting themselves into the outcomes of their mediation. Instead. This tendency could go alongside their role as educator and guide. these are details which received way more attention then was probably needed. In the focus group transcripts. sometimes 8 . who might feel coerced into a solution.

Later. what they say could be very damaging. it’s worth questioning if domestic abuse is continuing unnecessarily because mediators do not have the direct power to force parties to end violence. particularly if there are no support structures. Appropriate Situations for Mediation Mediation--like most tools--has its limitations. but could be unhealthy if it means that the abused party is coerced into staying in an abusive relationship. If one party tends to behave violently. The emphasis on neutrality in these specific cases could be problematic. the pain involved with abuse and the absolute gulf of imbalanced power between victim and offender. However. It’s also common that parties are secretly backed by powerful individuals who use their influence to sway mediations outcomes outside of the mediation. the mediators want to be reconciling figures. They can only hope the parties decide for themselves to end violence. A key lesson which the mediators would benefit from understanding is that reconciliation cannot be forced. Whatever the reasoning. the mediators attempt to educate the abusive party why his behavior is harmful. Also in situations of domestic abuse. Similarly. It is not always the best tool for resolving conflicts. if they continue to use alcohol.” As is also common is mediation globally. and you cannot force people to forget events in which they were verbally. Most mediation experts strongly discourage mediation in situations of physical abuse because of the unequal power dynamics. sometimes the mediators don’t even know why. however. An individual could rationally agree to mediation. or follow-up. perhaps it is idealistic to think that mediation will change this. These Sunrise mediators might say that they are simply adapted their practice to the Cambodian context. It’s worth considering if this is healthy. While these mediators are experienced and comfortable mediating. in these specific cases of family 9 . If the mediators are giving guidance and advice in the mediation. The mediators are open about the complexity of these situations. This is an honorable ambition. Mediators do not always side with the victim in some of these cases. physically. no matter how well the mediator facilities the session. or they simply perform a meditation when they are asked no matter what the conflict. Mediation could be the wrong place to discuss these questions or “educate” the abusive party. monitoring. we invited another party to come and solve the problem. there are also cases where there is no resolution occurs because the parties are uninterested in continuing the process: “One year ago. but there is also a prevailing belief that they can be resolved in mediation. This is considered very normal in Cambodia and if the wife leaves the mediation process. but rather continue to want to remain objective and rational.cases fall apart. or mentally hurt. Mediators must be aware of respecting the parties feelings. You cannot force the parties to trust each other. we tried to solve land conflict in our community. she is often vulnerable to poverty and more abuse. one mediator also reported occasionally. IX. This could also be worrying. this could upset any possible long-term solutions. there were situations in which mediators tried to resolve cases involving alcohol. the parties find their cases unsolvable and take their land disputes to court. was that most the mediators seemed very comfortable with the idea of mediating cases involving domestic violence. We tried to find out the problem by asking him deeply. In these situations. and one of conflict party told us that another party take his land. they did not come and solve that problem and I decided to send this conflict to commune council. As is likely true in mediation globally. It is not uncommon for courts to mediate situations of domestic violence. Of particular concern on the focus group transcripts.

The mediators should learn to be comfortable when the parties decide to end their relationship. Skills for Mediation Mediation as a skill can be perfected. These disputes are also less relational-based. there is the expectation that reconciliation must happen and when it doesn’t. XI. They requested assistance in several areas: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Dealing with money/financial-based disputes General mediation skills Speaking well as facilitators Psychological education Ability to analysis the situation more critically Land issues Family conflict and issues The mediators also frequently face issues involving land disputes. this will significantly help their practice. This is an area where they could be strengthened and assisted with a strong skill set. and something which these mediators should eventually incorporate into their practice. even unnatural. it’s still useful to consider if this attitude is healthy for the people who come to the mediation. reconciliation might be impossible. Within mediation. help them decide when giving guidance is helpful. Final Baseline Lessons Learned The mediators in these FGDs demonstrated a good knowledge of mediation. in the FGDs. Once they are exposed to these lessons. Mediation is seen as the appropriate place for that to take place. It’s often common in Cambodia that mediators are pressured to reconcile the parties and restore the broken relationship. These concerns and questions are raised for consideration and reflections and there is no easy answer. It’s important to preserve the relationship. However. This could be a source of encouragement as well as attempting to hold the mediators accountable for the skills that they will learn in the trainings. here was little to no discussion of power imbalances from the mediators. and when arbitration is appropriate. The mediators would also benefit from understanding several key differences between dialogue. and when the mediator’s role becomes to help that separation be as peaceful as possible. They know the fundamentals of mediation and even some of the ideas around conflict transformation. their skills are still limited and they would benefit from increased training and skill 10 . The focus groups did not give any indication of the severity of the abuse they have indicated. There were very clear requests from the Sunrise mediators about what they hope to learn. mediation and intervention. If this distinction is clearly understood. there is shame. It is important to understand different types of power and the effect of power on parties in mediation. as extreme violence can be considered a crime in the courts. even though this is the cultural expectation. and therefore problem solving mediation is ideal as the mediator does not have to focus on restoring the relationship to the same extent. The mediators did not request ongoing mediation training. Finally. this clarity could assist their practice. but perhaps they did not realize that this was an available option for them from Sunrise and Peace Bridges. This is a foundational value in mediation.violence. and help these mediators understand which details to focus on. However. These three situations all demand different approaches and skill sets which look very similar but are different. X.

” 11 . acknowledging that it was difficult and there were no easy answers. Especially. he was more respected in his community. and family disputes. but after the course.” Yet another mediator indicated that after the course. I was like a little kid. Analysis of the changes occurred December 2011 and January 2012 in order to discover what has changed over the course of the training. we can’t mediate. “I just felt like before I started the course. Several mediators responded with empathy to the situation. and with listening ears. what both of them want. listening. the mediators demonstrated increased empathy for the parties. and yet needs to be addressed sensitively with respect for all parties. particularly the abused party. the mediators noted the importance of listening to the parties. when compared to the baseline. Changes in the Mediators The end-line focus group discussion was conducted on 17 October 2011. End-line Report: January 2012 XII. More than any other skills or characteristics that the mediators reported learning in the training. We can hope that by the end of the training. In other examples that they shared from their work. and another mediator shared that he had used the lesson principles in his meditations and found them “very successful. The same mediator reported that he now felt equipped to handle 70 to 80 percent of the conflicts that he encountered. We need to listen more and more to spot the weakness and the strength to help us mediate the case well.building which Peace Bridges and Sunrise will try to offer. The end-line report highlights major changes in the mediators. Peace Bridges and Sunrise should consider how it can best equip mediators and peace builders to handle situations of domestic violence. According to one mediator from the focus group. the mediator posed a scenario involving a situation of domestic violence and asked the mediators how they would handle the situation. Increased Value on Listening: Several times throughout the focus group. This appears to be a fairly common issue facing Cambodian mediators. Two reported that they are happy to share the knowledge they have gained. Increased Knowledge: The mediators reported a high level of satisfaction with the training. We can’t fulfill one side’s desire. There are also challenges which these mediators face. Without listening. The two issues which the mediators continually address are land issues.” Increased Empathy: Towards the end of the focus group. This empathy was new. he didn’t know how to approach the conflicts he encountered in his community. giving him more prestige as a mediator. physical abuse and family disputes. This report is simply an analysis of how these mediators are currently practicing their skills. I could run like an adult. the Sunrise mediators will have acquired the skills to face these complex issues with confidence. Another mediator indicated that he was pleased with his new abilities to better handle land disputes. with respect for both parties. “We need to listen to them and try to understand each party’s intention. There are good things about this current position. One mediator reported that previous to the training. listening was emphasized again and again. Several reported the training contained very useful material. Summarizing the training experience. Solving conflicts requires us to listen. one mediator noted that. This is a reflection of where these mediators are. but we need to fulfill them all.

an area often considered “personal” or “family” issues and with little to no financial compensation for the mediator. In the end-line. This development could indicate that they are willing to involve themselves in family situations. His neighbor was beating his son. Single Party Mediation: An interesting development in the end-line focus group was several times the mediators reported conducting a mediation with only one party present. In fact. the mediators focused on land disputes and technical mediation skills. that they practice more counseling. Continued Advise and Education The focus group revealed that the vast majority of mediators give advise in their meditations.” even if they only communicated with one person. there was more discussion of family conflicts that they encountered.” going from one party to the other to communicate between the groups to find solutions. First. the mediators were greatly excited that the training had given them new ideas on how to advise and educate people. stepping in when they see a need.. The mediator summarized the story with “I thought that I could help the family. even though they call this “mediation. that the mediators practice more “shuttle diplomacy. then this is a highly interesting fact worth mentioning as a normal part of these mediators lives. However.“ demonstrating that he sees his role as an advisor. Mediation for these mediators doesn’t fit into Western concepts of mediation. these mediators are likely fulfilling a more traditional expectation of their role. This was unchanged when compared with the baseline. the mediators talked more about land dispute cases. As a result.” These individuals see their role as community problem solvers. This can be a valuable service. This could indicate that the mediators are less likely to compartmentalize their knowledge. XIII. Eventually. would make an excellent discussion. They try to assist their community in whatever way possible when conflicts arise. mediators educating people on their legal rights can be a good thing and mediation can be an excellent place for this to occur. Secondly. and the mediator encouraged the neighbor to stop beating the child. Now they are able to fulfill these expectations more competently with their new knowledge and skills. and a possibly better name for this. If the second. This might indicate increased sensitivity to these types of conflict and perhaps even an interest in resolving these types of conflicts. they were more equipped to process their anger and they had found peace in their own lives. offering guidance and words of wisdom.I wanted to mediate the conflict in his family. but he did not listen to me. One mediator said in the focus group that. The role of the mediators could be described as “counselors” or “wise leaders.Increasingly “People-Focused:” In the baseline. then exploring exactly what this means. One mediator reported that he has better relationships with his family. he had to face the law. In rural situations where legal opinions are unknown. One reason for this change might be that they are increasingly people focused and less concern with counting “successes.” If the first. The neighbor repeatedly agreed to end the beating but the behavior continued.. the mediators are less concerned with defining “what is success” in mediation. One mediator shared an example where he felt compelled to intervene in a situation of domestic battering. instead behaving more holistically. whereas in the baseline. the police were involved.” This situation could be better called an “intervention” instead of a mediation. Changes to “Success:” When compared with the baseline. This change can be considered positive for Peace Bridges and Sunrise. Personal Awareness: Two mediators noted that after the training. This could represent two things. This situation demonstrates how mediators 12 .” The mediators report a fairly equal number of land and family mediation cases. “we can provide some good advise for them to think and try to prevent the problems from getting worse. The mediators still called these cases “mediation.

XIV. especially if mediation increasingly resembles “counseling” or “therapy” which requires a different set of skills. In the end-line.” Mediators must build credibility. there are some similarities and some differences. the mediators appear to consider themselves problem-solvers for all problems which face their communities. According to one mediator. in both the baseline and end-line focus groups themselves. While it’s obvious that mediators value the concept of neutrality.” As noted in the baseline report. One mediator said. In fact. When conducting a mediation. One positive way of approaching this dilemma is observing how the mediators report that they must gain people’s confidence and respect. Finally. the community indirectly holds the mediator accountable. Neutral: This value did not change between the baseline and the end-line. This could also imply that they did not fully grasp lessons on nonviolent communication. this could simply be how the mediators talk outside mediation.” In the end-line. In this way. the mediators might perceive this to be their main responsibility. the people would not listen to us. “we can’t just say who is wrong or right. the mediators shared which characteristics they consider important for a good mediator. his mediation services and advise will no longer be desired. not just in a mediation. 13 . or this could be a more serious issue. there was also mention of the importance of trust and confidentiality. the mediators themselves used biased language when they shared examples. We should not think that way. instead of insisting on a more Western model for how a mediation will take place. They reported the following: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Neutrality Listening/listening to both sides Confidentiality Asking questions Honesty and trust Collecting background information Assessing the possibility of success Identifying “secret supporters” of both parties who may influence the mediation Verifying information before accepting it to be true When compared with the baseline.could possibility feel responsible to help their community when they see a problem. instead of waiting for their community to bring conflicts to the mediators. Problem-Solvers: It’s very clear in the baseline and the end-line that the mediators value finding solutions to problems. practicing neutrality in mediation requires action. Qualities of a Sunrise Mediator: Comparison with the Baseline In the end-line focus group. There will always be a concern that the mediators are advising incorrectly or that one of the parties in the mediation will feel coerced into a resolution. “if what we used was not effective. talking about parties who were “wrong” or “selfish. perhaps it is more helpful to consider how this habit of giving advise and education can be used to build peace. If a mediator fails to peacefully resolve cases. The role of mediator and “problem-solver” are very intertwined. the mediators must carefully choose neutral words that help both parties understand that mediation can be good for everyone involved and everyone has valuable feelings and opinions. However. This tension will always exist.

However. The mediators also talked about investigating if they would be respected. Again. “we have to seriously take a good look at the party to find who have people behind them to protect them. if they listen. This was a new development and not seen in the baseline. This was troubling because of the unequal power dynamics as well as a concern that perhaps domestic violence was continuing unnecessarily when it should end. Arbitrators: Also apparent in both the baseline and end-line is that Sunrise mediators occasionally take the role of arbitrator. this story illustrates two completely different points. This was also seen in the end-line.we have to balance it or else our mediation will fail. there were several related points that are interesting to consider. but if not. that will be great. Also in the end-line.” This was a new role for “investigators” that was not seen in the baseline. This compliments their role as “educator. If we could mediate the conflict successfully.” The value of taking the role of arbitrator can be debated. the mediators talked about investigating secret supporters behind each party to understand if the mediation had any chance for sustainable success. Issues of domestic violence were not substantially explored in the endline and there is not enough information to make a fair comparison. “we need to make sure if the parties listen to us or not. However. the court encourages reconciliation in at least two divorce mediations before divorce is considered.. then we should not involve. Listeners: All of the mediators agreed it was important to listen to the parties and they all emphasized that they do their best to listen to both parties. pg 12) Investigators: In the baseline. In several instance. This context makes it difficult for the mediators to discourage reconciliation. the mediator illustrates just how strongly reconciliation is considered normal. One mediator shared an example where he told a woman in a divorce case “that I did not support her idea of packing up and leaving her family” before giving her additional advise. then we need to bring it over to our superior to solve it. One mediator reported that.” Again.. this was also new when compared to the baseline. mediators reported that they pose questions as a way to encourage the parties to think. there was concern about how mediators were taking cases of domestic violence without much hesitation. mediators still encourage reconciliation. “we are not the court who judges someone beyond our scope of just providing mediation.Educators: In the end-line focus group. but if they don’t. the mediators attempt to “educate” people on the negative outcomes of continued violence. First. In divorce cases. we will do our job. one mediator saying. or to communicate. they understand the importance of allowing parties to 1 It's important to note that legally. (See “Increased Value on Listening. in the situation the mediator was not upholding neutrality.” The mediator told this story to illustrate the importance of listening to each party.1 Because reconciliation is such a strong a cultural norm. it cannot be expected that this will have changed significantly. 14 . Similar to the baseline. Secondly. the mediators discussed how they try to find the causes and specifics of conflicts. From other examples the mediators shared. particularly within family mediation. Appropriate Situations for Mediation: Family and Divorce Mediation In the baseline. and then “I asked them [the couple] to think of all the advise that I gave them. They feel comfortable telling parties what they think is the best solution. XV.” The mediators reported they were also unwilling to take cases that were too large for them to handle. the mediators still reported that they consider it their responsibility to educate and give guidance (see section “Continued Advise and Education”).

” In at least two cases. They emphasized the importance of finding a solution before the issue gets larger. Their examples demonstrate that they attempt to be practical problem-solvers. They report that they are respected in their communities. Final End-line Lessons Learned The end-line focus group revealed that the graduates of the Sunrise-Peace Bridges training demonstrate a better awareness of conflict transformation. Future mobilizations should consider the following. If this distinction is clearly understood. They reported they would mediate to avoid divorce and would prioritize protecting any children involved. It would be good for the mediators to understand the differences between arbitration and simply “education” or even “advise. the mediator can strongly influence the outcome as seen in the above example. There is still a strong spirit of reconciliation. It would be useful to understand differences between dialogue. They have been affected. help him stop partying out late at night. Realistically. Often the mediator is the clear arbitrator. This might be a consideration for future mediators to reflect upon. However. They highly value listening. bring the parties together. mediation. ● Increased content on family therapy and mediation. “we could help him change is ways of thinking. As part of the focus group. they reported they would try to help the husband. when a couple is so angry they want to divorce. it might be helpful to discuss the limitations of mediation. collect both parties perspectives. They demonstrate a knowledge of good mediation skills. For these mediators. They express a strong desire to help people. and hopefully will continue to change their habits as they continue integrating lessons into their work. These are all peaceful and positive messages. The focus group collaboratively crafted their response. the mediator reported that he would attempt to “advise” or “educate” the husband why he should invest in his family or help raising the children. this could assist mediators understand different ways of helping their communities. In the situation of smaller conflicts. attitudes and skills have certainly been affected positively by the training. the mediators were asked how they would handle a woman requesting a divorce. and finally work on finding a solution. The mediator will always be in a position of power and can influence the outcome even if he doesn't mean to. Finally. their knowledge. ● In-depth discussion of power: Mediators in Cambodia have a lot of power over the parties. let each side share. In future mobilizations. It’s possible that these frustrations influence how the mediators approach these types of situations and that perhaps the mediators grow impatient with these cases. ● Clarifying limitations of mediation. XVI. Finally. there are certainly changes in attitudes.make their own decisions. yet there were also several new references to forgiveness.” 15 . They feel significantly more skilled in their work. counseling and intervention. the mediators approached some of these situations by encouraging people to “let it go. the end-line revealed that mediators often experience very dramatic emotions from women seeking divorce. These four situations all demand different approaches and skill sets. It’s clear the mediators become frustrated in these situations and must spend a lot of time calming down both husband and wife in order to conduct the mediation. identify the conflict. it’s very late to be teaching them these lessons. This appears to be a critical part of the mediators work and there is clearly an interest in this topic.” While some behaviors appear to be unchanged or only changed a little. They also noted they would try to validate the wife’s feelings (“it’s normal for a woman to get angry when the husband doesn’t care for the children”).

The could benefit from continued informal support from Peace Bridges so that the new lessons aren't forgotten. The content as it was presented was highly appreciated by the mediators. We should not create problems with other people.● Patience: It's clear that often the mediators must face cases involving dramatic emotions and that it can take considerable length of time to create a space for a mediation. 16 . Sunrise and Peace Bridges have invested in these mediators. There was no criticism of the current material or content. “We need to be peacemakers in the society. One final quote sheds light on one final new development within the mediators. we should let these conflicts go.” This quote suggests that the mediators see that peacebuilding begins with them and that they realize that they are also part of bring peace to their communities. They must continue to invest in order to insure long-term change. ● Continuation of current program. and develop even more empathy might help them stay healthy and productive. Learning how to care for themselves as mediators. ● Ongoing Support: These mediators are new to conflict transformation. If they create conflict with us.