The African Ombudsman Research Centre (AORC) hosted a two-and-a-half-day training on Mediation for African Ombudsman at the Garden Court Hotel, Marine Parade, Durban.
The AORC is a resource and archive centre of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA) situated on UKZN’s Howard College campus. It serves as a focal point for Ombudsman offices in Africa, by coordinating their activities and supporting them with research, information, capacity building and advocacy. It also acts as a point of liaison with all those involved in enhancing corporate governance in Africa.
The training was attended by 51 participants from 27 African countries, a representative from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation and six sector ombudsmen. It was conducted by leading Africa-centric mediation trainer, Professor David McQuoid-Mason who is based at UKZN’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. McQuoid-Mason is a prolific scholar who regularly conducts training in South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Fiji, Italy and elsewhere in this specialised field.
The course was highly interactive, with a mix of presentations and opportunities for participants to share their thinking on the issues and information presented. This was an excellent opportunity to enhance the capacity of ombudsmen across the African continent in their tasks of reporting, mediating, complaint resolution and providing skilled resources for their countries and the African Union.
By the end of the training, participants were able to conduct an interest-based negotiation and a mediation, appreciate the value of these methods as a means of resolving disputes, and apply the principles learned to scenarios provided by ombudsman.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga
Photographs: Albert Hirasen