The Ministry of Justice (Minijust) and its partners in supporting mediation committees (Abunzi) have moved to harmonise training modules.
Every partner used to have a particular module for the district they operated in, which caused discrepancies among mediators supported by different partners
Odette Yankulije, the head of Access to Justice department, said harmonising training will improve effectiveness.
Yankulije was speaking during a meeting with partners to foster a framework for cooperation.
“If you try to analyse decisions taken by mediators supported by different partners, you realise that there are disparities in knowledge and effectiveness of their decisions. We now want to adopt a common training module to ensure every mediator is equipped with enough skills, which I hope will help improve the service they deliver,” she said.
“Besides, harmonising modules will help strengthen the partnership through information sharing and articulate a clear and coherent strategic policy for the sector on agreed areas of cooperation to ensure proper coordination of all activities relating mediation committees.”
Figures from Minijust show that Abunzi have reduced 80 per cent of cases being filed in conventional courts, 80.5 per cent of the cases handled by Abunzi committees are not appealed against, while more than 50 per cent of their verdicts appealed against in classic courts are upheld by the court.
A survey conducted by Rwanda Governance Board, in 2014, also showed that 67 per cent of Rwandans were pleased with services delivered by Abunzi.
‘Lack of understanding’
Benoit Joanette, the country director for RCN Justice et Democratie, an agency that has been involved in training mediators over the last seven years, said lack of understanding was the main challenge facing mediators
“One of the main challenges they face is lack of understanding of the law. It is important that they understand their mandates and limits,” Joanette said.
To harmonise training, six modules have been elaborated for trainers of mediators. They include a module on land use and management, children’s rights, mediation techniques, gender based violence, n civil, commercial, labour and administrative procedures and a module on criminal procedures.
To ensure all mediators are equipped with enough skills to deliver on their voluntary work, more than 16,000 mediators across the country will undergo training beginning September 14.
Among the partners and donors in activities relating mediators’ committees include the Institute of Legal Practice Development, the Legal Aid Forum, USAID Land Project, RCN Justice et Democratie and the Youth Association for Human Rights Promotion and Development.