From conflict to consensus: A catalyst for healthy human, economic and ecologic conditions
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Abstract: Conflict resolution skills are taught to various participants of the SANREM/CRSPs Phase II program in Mali, West Africa. The premise of introducing these skills to participants is that unresolved conflict robs communities and institutions of vitality and opportunities to make rapid progress toward important Goals and objectives. Appropriate conflict resolving processes can lead to consensual decisions of all involved parties, yielding behavior that is consistent with those agreements. This paper describes the methodology and consequences for bringing together the various stakeholders in the management of the bourgoutieres, important riparian areas.
The conflict resolving process engages all conflicting parties in an atmosphere of respectful listening; allows the expression of concerns; and the fostering of desired outcomes. The participatory process is easily transferable, particularly when repetition is designed into the program. The workshops in Mali are designed around conflict resolution associated with various situations such as times of scarcity, and issues associated with power and control, change, and diversity. These skills are transferred directly to the participants and consequently capacity is built within the project. Key interest groups are villagers and herders living from the land; collaborating African agents, administrators, and scientists; and the array of US-based scholars, consultants, and institutions involved.
Available also as a conference paper.