The project KA462 - Mediation in progress (financed under the theme Social wellbeing) is working at full steam. The first group of Finnish volunteer mediators got continuing education and training on restorative justice in Finland already in January and soon the training of mediators will start also in the Russian side of the border.
On 16th April, 2013, took place the official opening of the first Mediation services office in the Republic of Karelia. Work on mediation has been going on in Petrozavodsk for several years, but now the mediators have their own office in the Republican Children's eco-biological center. In September, mediation offices will also be opened in the areas of Pryazha and Sortavala, where they will be offering their services in centers for psychological, medical and social support.
In developing mediation services good connections with local officials are essential. Specialists of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Social Development of Karelia, Investigative Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Commission on Juvenile Affairs as well as the Commissioner for Children's Rights, actors of different NGOs and teachers attended the opening ceremony in Petrozavodsk. Cooperation between the mediators and officials will be supported further in joint seminars in Petrozavodsk and in the areas next summer.
There were several journalists in the opening ceremony and the opening of the office was reported in the news in Russia 1 Karelia and Sampo-tv. A new website on the Mediation services in the republic of Karelia was also published in the event.
Furthermore, Russian specialists will come to Finland on a benchmarking trip (25.-28.4.2013). During their visit they will meet the employees of the Mediation office in North Karelia, volunteer mediators and representatives of Finnish police force and prosecutor’s office. They will also attend the National Mediation Seminar in Jyväskylä together with 480 other mediators!
If you want to know more about mediation itself, check out the North-Karelia Mediation Office’s website (in Finnish / English / Russian). Information about the project and its future actions can be found on the Lead Partners project page.
Sonja Kortelainen, project manager
Aducate, Centre for Training and Development,
University of Eastern Finland