Source: (1993) Forum. (Winter) Pages: 23-27.
The Community Dispute Resolution Trust is a committee of six individuals who help fund and guide the development of community dispute resolution centers that use mediation to resolve conflicts among community residents. This is an effort to provide black communities with a nongovernmental institution that relies upon the historically African methods of dispute resolution (primarily mediation) to resolve conflicts between individuals and community groups. The trust was established in 1990 and received major funding from the United States Agency for International Development and other funds from Great Britain, the European community, and local companies. Currently there are two dispute resolution centers, one in Alexandra and one in Hillbrow, and training is underway in seven additional communities. Each community proposes the names of people to be trained in mediation and the operation of the centers. The centers focus on the resolution of interpersonal and possibly interorganizational conflicts at the grass-roots level. In providing mechanisms to help neighborhoods address conflicts, the aim is to prevent escalation toward violence. Centers will intervene in minor criminal offenses such as property damage and petty theft. Conflict that cannot be resolved by the centers may be referred to the police. The system of dispute resolution centers is not intended to replace the court system, but rather to provide an alternative for people who prefer to address their conflicts through a neighborhood institution composed of their peers.
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