140 New Peer Mediators in Schools
One hundred and forty (140) students from six schools across Trinidad, graduated as Peer Mediators on May 24, 2019 at a ceremony held at the Cunupia Secondary School. This school-based initiative, in its third year, facilitates training to selected teachers and/or guidance councilors to support the implementation of the programme and to assist in its management. It is also geared towards promoting behavior change and empowering young people to resolve conflict in a non-violent manner.
The Peer Mediation graduation marked the end of a yearlong programme where students from the Tranquillity Government Primary, Valencia Secondary, Pleasantville Secondary, Mt Hope Secondary, Cunupia Secondary and the St. Jude’s School for Girls were trained in several key areas of mediation. They were given practical skills in Defining Conflict, Anger Management, Conflict De-Escalation, Self Esteem, Creating Class Room Peace, Dealing with Bullying and the Mediation Process. It is expected that Peer Mediators will have a positive impact in not only their schools but their homes, and communities.
During the programme Peer Mediators were challenged to use their imagination to find solutions to conflict situations. They were given practical examples of how to problem solve in various scenarios and were assured that they are not alone in the quest to inspire an environment of peace, harmony and mutual respect. In speaking to the graduates at the ceremony, Manager of the Central Mediation Centre, Mr. Fidel Santana encouraged students to exercise “strength of character” in order to resist what he called “the hype of the crowd” in creating conflict. He advised them to have “courage to face conflict” and to use “imagination to seek out and communicate solutions”.
The Director of the Community Mediation Services Division, Beverly Harry- Emmanuel sees this programme as one tool to reduce the number of disputes taken before the courts , “We must empower our youths because they are the ones to make lasting changes among their peers, community and by extension the society." Mrs. Harry-Emmanuel noted "Cunupia is one of our success stories and the staff can testify to the positive impact this programme has made on students. They have even expressed interest in starting a new cycle with new students at the school.”
Each school will be evaluated following one year of implementing the programme, at which point the training and support can be renewed based on the needs of the institution or on the request of the school’s administration.
The Peer Mediation Programme is free to all schools. For more information contact the Community Mediation Services Division at 625-6768, visit cdca.go.tt or any Community Mediation Centre.