"Belize is a country of peace and tranquility, where citizens live in harmony with the natural environment and enjoy a high quality of life.” That is the country’s goal as outlined in the Horizon 2030 National Development Framework, and a critical aspect of peacebuilding is conflict mediation. Belize recognizes this, doubling down on its efforts to increase its capacity to cope with conflict through a series of mediation trainings. These trainings are held in partnership with RESTORE Belize, the Youth and Community Transformation, and The Ministry of Human Development.

Picture of participants in a large group discussion

175 Belizeans have been trained through this programme since it began in 2012 with 41 of those participants trained in the first half of 2018. The trainings were broken up into theoretical and practical portions with participants taught the tools necessary to conduct effective mediation. Lessons followed the Belize Mediation Training Student Handbook, and the curriculum was delivered using a mix of lectures, presentations, group discussions, interactive exercises, demonstrations, and coached role playing.

Facilitator prepping participants for role-play

Training facilitator Sandra Diaz-Cadle elaborated on one of the main skills in mediation - effective communication which involves “active listening, inquiry skills, how can they get information and learn to understand, move disputants from position to interest without mediators imposing their values, without mediators getting frustrated with the process and lastly the mediator as a facilitator."

Picture of participants engaged in small group discussions

The first round of trainings for 2018 was held in June with 19 participants including social workers, police and youth officers. The second round was in August with 21 participants from Maud Williams High School and 1 social worker from RESTROE Belize. To become certified RESTORE Belize mediators, participants must complete 3 supervised mediations. To find out more, check out the conflict mediation programme page, and read about the court-appointed family mediators sworn in at the start of this year.