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Baketik training in Spain

26 June 2009

Baketik training in Spain

Participants during the Africandugu week hosted by Baketik, Arantzanzu, Basque Country. Present in the group are Rev. Jabulani Langa (back row, second from the left), Lancelot Thomas (back row, fourth from right), and Neliswa Hlongwane (front row, left).

Baketik: Bake (peace) Etik (ethics), Baketik therefore means peace and ethics.

During our ten days stay (8th – 18th June 2009) in Arantzanzu, in the Basque Country where the Baketik offices are located, we were able to undergo a ‘Conflict Resolution’ training course whilst also being part of the Africandugu week. The Africandugu week is basically a week where various projects from Africa are considered for a co-operative twinning with similar projects in and around Arantzanzu and the Basque Country as a whole. There were projects from Burkina Faso, Benin, Kenya and The Gambia. All the participants from these countries presented their projects and sought assistance which is not necessarily financial but could also be in the form of training and expertise. The main aim of co-operative twinning is to find out if similar projects in the Basque Country can assist as well as gain from twinning with these African projects.

We had the training course in the mornings for three hours and later in the afternoons we attended the Africandungu week. The lessons were an eye opener and very practical because they dealt with conflicts of all sorts not just political or ethnic conflicts. They also focused on conflicts that we face as human beings face in our everyday lives.  Of outmost importance was the manner in which conflicts are classified, i.e. destructive and constructive conflicts. This is done in order to resolve them in an appropriate and effective manner. The lesson on mediation was well received by participants. Mediation involves a process where both parties in a conflict are given a chance to state their case, as well as questions, with one party at a time. The parties in the conflict also seek to find out what seems to be the bone of contention between them and all this takes place in an orderly manner where one party speaks and the other listens.

The training also taught us that, to achieve peace, ethics must play a role and these ethics vary from one party to the other, because in a conflict one party may be the victim whilst the other may be the perpetrator. Some conflicts are largely dealt with mostly out of respect for the other party and parties in a conflict must respect one another, this does not necessarily mean becoming friends. This was out rightly stressed because many conflicts have failed to be resolved because parties believed that once their issues had been resolved, they must then become friends.

The participants of the conflict resolution training included three from The Damietta Peace Initiative as well as three Franciscans from Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. The three DPI representatives were Lancelot Thomas, Reverend Jabulani Langa and Neliswa Hlongwane. It was interesting to note that with the peace building process taking place in Rwanda after the genocide, the lessons became relevant to these Franciscans who are all involved in the process. They had very valid and vivid questions especially on the lesson on reconciliation which seems to be a very trying and difficult issue in Rwanda. From Baketik we learnt that reconciliation involves numerous aspects such compensating the victims and acknowledgement of wrong doing.

With the issue of Rwanda, the OFM Brothers stated that is was becoming difficult to differentiate between victims from perpetrators after the Genocide because many wanted to be classified as victims so as to receive the remuneration that the Government of Rwanda was proposing to give out.

The training was in my view very adequate and well structured, and as DPI we look forward to implement this training course to our various PACT groups. / The staff and personnel of Baketik were excellent hosts, amazing people, very humble, polite and highly motivated in their work, which is to try and help in bringing about peace to all. I hope that next year DPI can be able to send a group of people that can gain as well as export skills from the co-operative twinning Africa week. / Special thanks are also due to Franciscans International, through whom this training was organized.

Report by Neliswa Hlongwane.

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