Community mediation in Nagybörzsöny
Hungary is suffering of a large number of community conflicts, a considerable proportion of which involves Roma people. Recognising the significant peacemaking needs, Foresee Research Group, together with its numerous local consortium partners, has been running a three-month-long experimental project funded by the Hungarian Crime Prevention Board.
The project combined community building and mediation methods in a small rural Hungarian village. Throughout the project we provided training for the local people, including: ‘tolerance, ‘mediation and a so-called ‘implementation training, namely how to locally implement the learnt techniques and apply them in a sustainable way; organised group activities for children, young mothers and local volunteers and offered ADR (alternative dispute resolution) services in which the trained local people participated as co-mediators besides our teams mediators.
Although the project was of short duration, some successful outcomes could be perceived: several successful mediations were conducted, the community cohesion has been significantly improved according to local people, and the newly trained locals has become committed and willing to give ongoing help as mediators and volunteers. Their work is largely supported with a community mediation protocol (a kind of handbook) that we have complied by the end of the project.
As one of the most important lessons during the project, we learnt that community building and mediation are mutually interrelated. Namely, mediation cannot become a trustworthy and successful activity in a locality with such weak social cohesion, thus the community must be prepared and strengthened beforehand or parallel. On the other hand, if successful mediations are conducted in a community, it can rebuild bonds and relationships, hence lead to a stronger sense of community, which may make the way for further structural development efforts.
As an ultimate project outcome, we have made a 15-minute promotional film (directed by Eszter Hajdú) with English subtitles, which can be watched from: http://vagyunkmiis.foresee.hu/
The project started in 2009 and is now finished.
Last review: September 2017.