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Jun 15, 2017

In the quest to ensure peace in schools, student leaders have been urged the play the role of mediators in helping to resolve conflicts among students and the youth in general.

Rather than using mere counseling in resolving disputes, it is believed that youth leaders need to use mediation to effectively settle conflicts by addressing the interests of all parties involved.

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Mr. Ogochukwu Nweke, a legal practitioner and ADR advocate, who made the suggestion, fears that conflicts that constantly arise among the youth, especially in educational institutions, can adversely affect their learning capabilities and environment if not properly addressed.

Citing instances, especially in the universities where misunderstandings among students groups have led to clashes and interruption of school activities, he said mediation mechanism could be effectively deployed to forestall their recurrence.

“Youth counselors and student leaders need mediation skills to effectively perform their functions,” he said in an interview with ADR Daily.

Explaining the difference, he noted that mediation is a dispute resolution process where an impartial mediator assists disputing parties in settling their dispute through open discussions, whereas counseling seeks to change a person’s way of life by setting goals for him or her to achieve.

“It is through effective mediation that a conflict can be resolved and not counseling,” he said, adding that counseling can complement the mediation process.

According to him, “the reason most disputes fester is because at the early stages mediation was not incorporated in settlement efforts,” adding that the mechanisms of mediation have to be integrated in the development of young people so that they would grow with the concept and acquire natural skills of mediation to solve differences in society.

“If you wish to be an effective leader, you must build up your skills with the aid of mediation in order to solve conflicts,” he advised.

He urged youth leaders to learn and use the Gentle, Honest, Open, Specific and Talk (GHOST) principles as a guide when settling disputes.

He stressed that the GHOST principle is an appropriate guideline and must be effectively utilized to better mediate between the disputing parties to resolve the conflict.

“You must be Gentle in handling the issue by addressing it in a calm manner. Be Honest with both parties and do not hide any information when discussing the issue.

“Always be Open in all you do, do not have any preconceived notion on the issue. Be Specific, go straight to the point and deal with the issue. And make sure you Talk because communication is the key to resolving the conflict,” Mr. Ogochuckwu added.

He advised that in order to be an effective mediator, youth leaders must be properly equipped with the Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR) skills as well as adequate counseling techniques to enhance their ability to deliver.

By: Fred Gadese-Mensah/adrdaily.com

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ADR Daily is a specialized news portal with a focus on providing authentic news, information and research analysis on Appropriate Dispute Resolution (ADR), Human Resource Management (HRM) and Industrial Relations Management (IRM) in Ghana and beyond. This platform serves as an information resource base for the progress of the ADR, HRM and IRM industries, and seeks to promote professionalism in ADR practice by supporting a network of ADR professionals within and across nations and continents. ADR Daily keenly encourages the mass adoption of ADR mechanisms, particularly negotiation, mediation and arbitration for the resolution of disputes in all spheres, through the publication of industry news and information, as well as by deploying innovative awareness creation engagements.