Wednesday, 29 June 2011

ENHANCING UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN YOUTH AND POLICE THROUGH PEACEBUILD AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT

A PAPER PRESENTION AT CLEEN FOUNDATION YOUTH AND POLICE FORUM IN LAGOS STATE AREA B COMMAND, APAPA HELD ON TUESDAY 21ST JUNE, 2011.

PRESENTER: Olutoyin Falade – Executive Director, Innovative Strategy for Human Development (ISHD)

INTRODUCTION
Improving relations between police and youth is part of the Community Relations Service which all relevant stakeholders must be committed to at all times. This becomes expedient in any society because of the importance placed on the two groups – one is the future of a nation while the other secures a nation.
The two groups under this discourse have been known to point accusing finger to each other on many issues bothering on the peace and security of our country, Nigeria. How long will they continue to accuse each other without having a way forward?

In order to avoid more incidences of violence that have been recorded in the past as a result of lack of understanding between our youth and police, the concept Conflict Management, which is also a skill will be exposed for our understanding in this discourse.

WHAT IS CONFLICT?
Conflict has been defined by many people based on their ideas, beliefs, values and experiences in life. One can bet if these definitions are not anything to lean on because those ideas, beliefs, values and experiences are opined by negative feelings and attitudes.

Conflict is when two or more values, perspectives and opinions are contradictory in nature and perform period. Getting the most out of diversity means often-contradictory values, perspectives and opinions haven't been aligned or agreed about yet, including:
1. Within yourself when you're not living according to your values;
2. When your values and perspectives are threatened; or
3. Discomfort from fear of the unknown or from lack of fulfillment.

Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals. The Chinese defines Conflict as an “Opportunity for Change”. Conflict on teams is inevitable; however, the results of conflict are not predetermined. Conflict might escalate and lead to nonproductive results, or conflict can be beneficially resolved and lead to quality final products. Therefore, learning to manage conflict is integral to a high-performance team. Although very few people go looking for conflict, more often than not, conflict results because of miscommunication between people with regard to their needs, ideas, beliefs, goals, or values. Conflict management is the principle that all conflicts cannot necessarily be resolved, but learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of nonproductive escalation. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about environment, conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your life.

UNDERSTANDING CONFLICT MANAGEMENT
Conflict management entails a lot of activities/interventions which are proactive and result- oriented by the parties involved in a conflict and/or by a third party. Conflict management helps to us to identify and understanding the following:
• The causes of conflict
• The stages of conflict
• The parties in a conflict
• Conflict handling styles

CAUSES OF CONFLICT
Many causes of conflicts have identified ranging from land/border dispute to political dispute. For this discourse, three categories of causes of conflict are highlighted for understanding, as follows:

1. Resources
This is physical, which means it can be finite and infinite, countable and uncountable, but a source of conflict due to greed, inadequate planning, uneven distribution, occurrence of natural disasters which leads to migration to mention a few. Examples of such disputes are land dispute, fuel crisis and water-shortage.
2. Values
Our values are based on our religious and moral beliefs, which differ from place to place. What is one person’s value may not go for another person and that being the beginning of trouble if not handled properly. Take for example, one person values NEATNESS and shares a room with someone who is all the time untidy – what do you think the outcome will be (it can be imagined, right)
3. Psychological
This has to do with one’s psychic that is emotional and behavioral characteristics of any person. Our feeling of happiness, self-worth, life satisfaction and fulfillment becomes important. The feelings to love and be loved, as well as sense of belongingness cannot be ruled out. Where an individual finds it difficult to express these feelings it can create conflicts. Our personality types can also be another cause if not handled well. One person is a talkative and the other is quite (extroverts and introverts) which we call personality clash.
4. Others are mis-information, wrong information, inadequate information and perception. Communication of course cannot be ruled out, too. Therefore, watch what you say, how you say it, where you say it, when you say it and who you say it to, because you might not be able to handle it.

CONFLICT HANDLING STYLES
Three types of conflict handling styles shall be considered for this discourse, they are;
1. Avoidance
Pretend it is not there or ignore it.
a. Use it when it simply is not worth the effort to argue. Usually this approach tends
to worsen the conflict over time.
2. Confrontation
Confrontation involves one of the parties involved in a conflict facing the other for an explanation for carrying out an act that is not acceptable. This must be done without violence in order to have a good result.
3. Joint Problem Solving. Focus on working together.
a. Use when the goal is to meet as many current needs as possible by using mutual
resources. This approach sometimes raises new mutual needs.
b. Use when the goal is to cultivate ownership and commitment.

TOOLS FOR CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION
These tools are also very important in handling conflict for youth and police of the 21st Century as follows:
• Communication
• Negotiation
• Mediation
• Arbitration
• Litigation

CONCLUSION
Both groups are supposed to work with these conflict management skills for a better relationship in our society.

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