High-school students trained in peer mediation extended their skills at SADRA’s Peace Camp near Cape Town, South Africa. Photo provided by SADRA.

By Sibonokuhle Ncube and Oscar Siwali
Wednesday, April 10, 2024

In March, SADRA (Southern African Development and Reconstruction Agency) Conflict Transformation held a Peace Camp near Cape Town, South Africa, to reinforce peer mediation skills taught to high-school school students.

March 18-24, SADRA (Southern African Development and Reconstruction Agency) Conflict Transformation conducted a Peace Camp for 59 youth peer mediators, from five high schools in Crossroads, Khayelitsha and Nyanga townships in Cape Town, South Africa. During the camp, students learned conflict resolution skills to help them address issues in their schools and communities. These issues grow out of gang violence, sexual violence and drug abuse. With support from Mennonite Mission Network, through a Showalter Foundation grant, the campers had the opportunity to analyze school-based conflicts and consider effective strategies for peacebuilding.

SADRA director Oscar Siwali said that a highlight of the camp was that many of the camp coaches were alumni of previous peer mediation trainings and camps. Silubonile, a coach for the March camp, was one example. He had attended SADRA camps in 2018 and 2019. Silubonile told this year's campers that the peer mediation program had a positive impact on his behavior and academic performance. He said he went from being the worst student to being in the top three in his high school class. Silubonile is now a third-year student at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Silubonile said that, after he trained as a peer mediator, he gained self-esteem, as he began to receive invitations to help resolve conflicts at his high school.

"Positive peer-to-peer interactions are a key approach for influencing behavior change among youths, as they tend to thrive through affirmative interpersonal affinity and group harmony," Siwali said.

Siwali has observed that peace camps inspire hope and confer dignity to participants, who return to their communities with mediation tools and a deepened desire to engage in transformational work. SADRA is planning to expand its peer mediation program into more schools this year.  

 

 

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https://www.mennonitemission.net/news/5062/Peer-mediators-gain-self-esteem-while-working-for-community-peace

Sibonokuhle Ncube is Mission Network Co-Regional Director for Africa and Europe.

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