Mediation - what donkeys and humans have in common

The other day when I was out walking I remembered something a friend once told me.

He said: "Wouldn't it be great if we had more donkeys in the world?"

When I asked what he meant he explained. "Donkeys are so cool. Didn't you know that they are nature's best mediators?

For example they break up fights between bulls.

In a paddock with bulls and a donkey, everything will be all right."

Well, I am not quite sure how donkeys do it and what they might be saying to their friends in the paddock, but I would really like to witness such a thing first hand.

Mediators, human donkeys so to speak, are there to help people work through disagreements and conflicts.

Mediators should be familiar with processes of dispute resolution and good at asking questions and listening.

They should always be impartial and merely provide guidance as a process facilitator.

It goes without saying that they should also be trained and accredited so check your mediators credentials.

The mediation process is confidential and empowers the parties to explore the issues in a safe and constructive way.

It fosters communication, which is vital to resolving disputes and often the very thing that has been lacking and brought the parties into the difficult situation in the first place.

The common interests the parties share, become the focus during the latter stages of the process and are used as basis for collaboration and agreement on ways forward.

Mediation is a powerful process for overcoming seemingly unresolvable disputes, and is always worth a try, before choosing expensive and lengthy court processes, or other far less helpful and usually illegal human interactions.

Community Mediation Marlborough offers free mediations but koha are always most welcome.

It is a charitable trust and has existed for about two years.

It consists of an intake co-ordinator and a pool of experienced mediators who will work with the parties in dispute.

So, if you find yourself in a difficult situation with another party - be it in a dispute over family matters, neighbourly concerns or other - give the service a call.

The intake co-ordinator will advise whether the issue is "mediatable" and where to go from there.

You can connect with the service through Stephanie Moses at Community Law Marlborough on 03 577 9919 or visit them in Market St, Blenheim.

Other Marlborough services or agencies, such as Bread of Life and the police can also refer you to the service.

And, next time you see a donkey in a paddock, remember that this is not just a stubborn animal, but one who is very good at resolving disputes too.

The Marlborough Express