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Promoting social cohesion and protecting rights

Malawi
Malawi

 

The Village Mediation Programme

To be effective, approaches to justice and reconciliation need to be multi-faceted: state and non-state; judicial and non-judicial; legal and paralegal. The Village Mediation Programme (VMP) impacts positively on social harmony in the community, reducing conflict and creating greater understanding of the risks of unmanaged or mismanaged disputes.

The ultimate goal in resolving disputes is to repair harm and promote understanding between citizens of all religions, culture, gender, and race. The values which underpin mediation – empowerment, honesty, respect, engagement, voluntarism, healing, restoration, personal accountability, inclusiveness, collaboration, and problem-solving – apply to the length and breadth of best practices of community legal aid. Communities where the VMP is active have responded by saying that the programme has brought harmony to their villages.

Protecting rights

The VMP ensures that the provision of legal aid to communities respects the participants' diversity and equality and is non-discriminatory in upholding the rule of law. Standards are assured to protect its users, and its effectiveness continues to be measured through monitoring and evaluation, user feedback, and the programme's timely response to needs that arise.