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Effective Mediation In the Community Setting

  • Effective Migrant Community Mediators represent the rights and interest of people within migrant communities
  • Effective mediation, of any kind, requires building a solid strategy or plan and practicing skills to help you feel comfortable and confident in reaching your mediation goals
  • In order to make your mediation efforts effective you should:
  1. Break down the problem
  2. Educate yourself
  3. Identify the rights involved
  4. Develop a solution (goal) and strategy to address the problem

Identifying problems

Your key goal as a mediator is to identify all the problems which could be solved with mediation, but also to prioritise which ones should you tackle  first.

Criteria to Assess Problems in Your Community

The problem occurs too frequently (FREQUENCY)

The problem has lasted for a while (DURATION)

The problem affects many people (SCOPE OR RANGE)

The problem is disrupting personal or community life (SEVERITY)

The problem deprives people of legal or moral rights (EQUITY)

The issue is perceived as a problem (PERCEPTION)

Why should you analyse community problems?

To better identify what the problem or issue is

To understand what is at the heart of a problem

To develop the best action steps for addressing the problem

To determine the barriers and resources associated with addressing the problem

Finding the priority problems to focus on

In the next few steps, we will show you an approach to prioritising problems called


Design Thinking

Design thinking is a human-centred approach to creating solutions and ideas.


  • social collaboration
  • human-centered innovative activities
  • visualised ideas
  • social strategy determination

Design thinking & mediation

  • As a mediator, who do you empathise with?
  • What problems can you define, what is your mission, and purpose?
  • Can you collect ideas, meaningful to the people you need to empathise with and whose lives you will impact?
  • Can you create a solution, or idea? Describe it!
  • Can you try out your idea/solution? Does it work, does it help? Why? What’s good, what needs fixing?
  • Can you fix it? How?

5 Phases of Design Thinking Process











1. Emphatise

Ask a good question.
Get close to the lives of those you are trying to serve

  • Understanding the problem that you are trying to solve
  • Understand their experiences and motivations
  • Set aside your own assumptions about the world
  • Observing, engaging and empathising

2. Define

Reframing problems
Seeing opportunities

  • Analyse your observations and synthesise them in order to define the core problems
  • Problem statement in a human-centered manner
  • Help your community narrow in on great ideas
  • “How might we..„ is a way to start phrasing the problem into a solution

3. Ideate

Bring together perspectives and strengths of your community  members

  • “Think outside the box”
  • Generate a large quantity of ideas that the community can then filter
  • Uncover unexpected areas of innovation
  • Get obvious solutions out of your heads

4. Prototype

Build to think and launch to learn

  • Simple experimental model of a proposed solution (Quick and rough – useful for early-stage testing and learning)
  • Bringing conceptual or theoretical ideas to life
  • Exploring their real-world impact 

5. Test

Reveal insights that redefine the problem

  • Inform the understanding of the users
  • Can be undertaken throughout the progress
  • Feed into most stages of the Design Thinking process

Prioritising Grid

Helps problem solvers to understand the problem, as well as understand the people who need the solutions. It is deeply rooted in EMPATHY, and we will use the PRIORITISATION GRID based on this DESIGN THINKING method.

The prioritisation grid breaks every task into 4 possible sections:

  • High impact / Low effort
  • High impact / High effort
  • Low impact / Low effort
  • Low impact / High effort

This helps a mediator choose which mediation task to take up first.

How to use it?

Place all the problems you have identified on the adequate square on the grid, by asking your self:

  • Does this problem have high or low impact?
  • To solve this problem do I (do we) need high or low efforts?

1st Choice

Now prioritise the problems placed in the top left corner: HIGH-LOW.

This means that you are choosing to solve a problem which has the most negative influence on the community AND is also not too dificult to solve.

If no problems clasified by this criteria, choose the next best thing.

2nd Choice

If there are no good candidates among the problems in the HIGH-LOW corner, this is the next best thing to do:

  • If you have time and resources to put in the effort, choose the ones in the top right, HIGH-HIGH corner. This means you will work harder but solve a BIG problem.
  • If you cannot afford too much effort, you might try to solve multiple SMALLER problems by investing a little effort. Choose the bottom left corner: LOW-LOW


Mediation Scenarios

Landlord/Tenant Conflict

Maya has concerns about the fact that the windows in her first-flooraccommodation don’t lock. She didn’t notice that the windows didn’t lock when she viewed the apartment before signing her one-year lease. She recently talked with her landlord and he promised that her windows would be replaced. Three months have gone by, and no action still.

Pretend you are Maya’s peer mediator

  • What additional information do you need?
  • Where can you get more information?
  • What outcome(s) does Maya want to achieve?
  • What rules/ordinances/laws govern this situation?
  • Who are some of the key decision-makers?
  • What strategies have you and Maya agreed you could use?
  • What barriers might you encounter/have to overcome?

Being an efficiant Mediator

  • Set up your leadership plan.
  • Base your plan around actions needed to tackle the issues!
  • Write these actions down!
  1. What is your goal?
  2. What do you know, that helps reach that goal?
  3. What problems are you facing?
  4. What are the possible solutions?
  5. What strengths and opportunities can you detect?
  6. What are the main actions of the best solution and who can help you implement them?