There were many lessons to chew on
There were many lessons to chew on
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By Edmund Mingle

The maiden Afadjato Mediation Expedition, organised by ADR Daily, came off successfully last Saturday as more than 30 mediators, joined by other professionals stormed Afadjato, Ghana’s highest mountain.

The mission was simple; to promote the ADR mechanism of mediation by conquering the 885-metre high Afadja mountain.

It was an adventurous mediation exercise that was designed to test and enhance the mediation skills of the professionals.

Elikem Obuo (mediator), Thomas Atiah (left) and Emmanuella Manassah (right), acting a role play with supervision from Mr Austin Gamey
Elikem Obuo (mediator), Thomas Atiah (left) and Emmanuella Manassah (right), acting a role play with supervision from Mr Austin Gamey

The ride on the luxurious bus from Accra to Gbledi, the home of Afadjato, and the hiking to the summit of the mountain, produced interesting results and take-aways.

After a presentation on mediation, and mediation clause drafting on the bus, as well as the screening of a managerial mediation role play video, cases were distributed to volunteer mediators and parties.

The mediators were informed of the opportunity to hold their pre-meetings with the parties on the bus.

Four key lessons emerged for mediators

Lesson 1: Act Expeditiously

While some of the mediators engaged their parties for pre-meetings, others did not, thereby wasting time.

As a mediator, you have to act fast on your cases. Don’t spend all the time in the world studying and analyzing the case. You are not a judge. You are to facilitate a conversation, and leave it to the parties to produce the resolution.

Remember that parties resort to mediation because they desire an expeditious process for resolution.

Some of the lessons were recorded
Some of the lessons were recorded

Lesson 2: Effective Communication

There was evidence of inadequate communication between mediators and parties. Effective communication is vital a successful mediation. It helps to prepare parties for the mediation, and ensure early and sustainable resolution.

Lesson 3: Don’t Abandon Parties

The climb to the summit of the mountain was a matter of survival. As a result, some of the mediators abandoned their parties to survive on their own.

In the end, the mediators reached the summit only to realize that half of the parties couldn’t make it to the top. There was no mediation for those cases.

As a mediator, you are required to guide the parties to climb the theoretical conflict mountain in mediation.

You don’t leave the parties when the mediation process becomes more challenging. The mediators lost the opportunity to engage the parties by climbing together.

Chances were that if they had climbed together with conversation, the cases would have been resolved even before reaching the summit.

It was a useful experience for all participants
It was a useful experience for all participants

Lesson 4: Change venue where necessary

It was presumed that the parties had chosen the summit of Afadjato for their mediation. But the mediator has a responsibility to assess whether the venue is conducive for the exercise, and whether both parties can easily access the venue.

In this case, on realizing the challenge in reaching the summit, the mediators could have proposed a change in the venue. Mediation could have been done at any point along the climb, or even at the base of the mountain. Only secure the consent of both parties.

Remember that mediation procedure is not rigid. In practice, parties may have indicated a particular venue in their mediation clause. But if at the time of the dispute, that venue is not conducive or cannot be reached by any party, the mediator can propose a change in venue.

The parties can also agree on a different venue and inform the mediator.

Mediation doesn’t fail !

 

VIAEdmund Mingle
SOURCEADRDAILY
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ADR Daily is a one stop news portal with a focus on providing world-class Appropriate Dispute Resolution, Human Resource Management and Labour Relations news, and also a resource base for all ADR, Human Resource and Labour Relations (Industrial Relations) issues. With the growing trends on increased demand on the ADR, HRM and IRM practice, there is the need for a resource center where practitioners can access news, follow-up on and contribute to development in their field of practice. The ADR Daily news portal seeks to become a pivotal partner in not only addressing those needs of professionals, but also creates a network of professionals across the continent and the world that will bring together their expertise to enhance best practice.