How can the mediation skills of influential members of society be enhanced? How can they best contribute to the transformation of violent conflicts and how can their work in the ongoing search for peace in Somalia be supported?
These questions set the scene for a 4-day ‘Mediation Support Workshop’ with influential members of the Somali society, conducted in April 2018 by the Berghof Foundation’s Somalia Team in Djibouti. The workshop brought together 16 of the most influential professionals and civil society representatives from Hirshabelle State to share their knowledge and experience of reconciliation processes and expand their capacity in mediation. The participants of the workshop included leaders of women’s groups, teachers, representatives of the business and media communities, activists, IDP camp operators, and local peace committee members.
Civil society representatives and professionals play important roles in the prevention and transformation of violent conflicts. Through their influence and embeddedness in society, they are also key to sustaining peace in Somalia. The workshop worked to enhance the capacity of these members of society in collaborative dispute resolution and reconciliation, by building on the deep local knowledge of the participants and adding practical skills to it. The workshop also provided a platform where these citizens from the former regions of Middle Shabelle and Hiiraan could connect with each other and exchange ideas on how to best form a network of insider mediators. Thus this group will now connect with the selected group of traditional elders from Hirshabelletypo3/#_msocom_2 to consolidate the Hirshabelle insider mediator network.
The workshop was the second in a series of three ‘Mediation Support Workshops’ focusing on various influential stakeholder groups for reconciliation in Hirshabelle State. Building on the needs identifiedtypo3/#_msocom_3 in the first phase of the project, the current second phase aims to prepare and connect the relevant mediators through joint learning and exchange, ahead of the traditional dialogue assemblies (Shirarka) to be facilitated by this insider mediator network in the subsequent third phase.