As part of the Enhancing Mediation Capacities in West Africa, CMI and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre are producing training films to accompany the ‘Mediation and Conflict Analysis Training Package’ being developed. Films will include a case study on the conflict in Sierra Leone as well as five shorter thematic films. Production of the films began in the region in November 2011. Interviews with key mediators and negotiators in the region’s conflicts such as Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, Niger, Guinea, Senegal and Ghana have been conducted. Editing of the films is currently underway.
The West African sub-region has been, for the last two decades, one of the most conflict-prone areas of the world. It unfortunately also lays claim to three of the most violent civil wars in contemporary African political history; Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.
There is an identified need in West Africa to develop capacities of actors of all levels in the areas of conflict prevention, management and resolution. The Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) has also identified certain capacity needs among which are training/capacity building in conflict analysis and mediation skills at various levels. This is the basis of the development of the ‘Mediation and Conflict Analysis’ training course being developed by Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) and the Kofi Anan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in collaboration with ECOWAS. Between July 2011 and December 2012 CMI and KAIPTC are developing a training program in mediation and conflict prevention for key actors involved in West Africa’s peace processes. The training films will form a critical component of the training modules and materials for this program.
Increasingly,using media such as film during training has been found to make the learning experience more enjoyable and increase learning capacity. These training films will have the ability to bring to the participants real life views and images from across the region. Using the films also adds depth by providing multiple viewpoints as well as additional information.
In October 2011 mediators at track 1 and track 2 levels were interviewed for the films. Countries represented included; Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire, Niger, Guinea, Senegal and Ghana. As well as sharing their experiences of mediation in respective countries mediators also addressed specific thematic issues that related to mediation such as; women and mediation, the role of civil society, the role of ECOWAS and justice and reconciliation.
From January 27th to February 3rd filming was conducted in Sierra Leone for the production of the case study on the country’s ten year conflict. Interviews took place in the different regions of the country to provide a more national reflection. Those interviewed included the lead negotiators from the rebel forces and government as well as civil society members involved in the peace process. In order to get a deeper understanding of the impact of the war former combatants and general members of the population also shared their experiences of the war.
As well as describing the chronology of the war and peace process, interviewees addressed some key challenges relating to final peace agreements, issues of justice and reconciliation and post-war reconstruction. Overall the case study and 5 shorter thematic films that will be developed will illustrate ideas and experiences that will allow those being trained to grapple with the complexities and realities of mediating conflicts in West Africa.
Additional interviews with international thematic experts will be filmed in Ghana in late March to complement existing footage. Editing of the films is currently ongoing in Dakar, Senegal. The films should be completed in early July and ready for the first pilot training in the last quarter of 2012.