One of the main elements of GIZ's approach in its work with youth and on youth policy, since the inception of its activities in Serbia in 2002, has been a focus on conflict and conflict resolution.
This arose from a crucial role of youth in the post-war society and the objective is to support/build youth capacity so that they could give their contribution to the efforts to overcome the crisis, and thus help lay the foundation for the development of a democratic and open society.
In this respect, the objective of the previous phase of the GIZ project "Strengthening of the Structures of Youth Empowerment and Participation in Serbia"(SoSYEP) was to empower youth to develop their own ideas and initiatives, particularly to solve problems at school and among the young people themselves through peer mediation.
The approach employed as part of the methodology for development of conflict management activities is enshrined in the concept of alternative conflict resolution. A fundamental characteristic of this approach is that a conflict among smaller groups or individuals is not to be perceived as something a priori negative, to be avoided at all cost, given that this may be conducive to an accumulation of tensions and situations too complex to be resolved, and potentially destructive.
Conflicts appear to be something by which we are constantly surrounded. We find ourselves embroiled in conflicts with our parents or children over whether we should go on winter holidays; we fight with our partners, neighbours, cousins and other people we meet. Conflicts are a part of our life.
It is a fact that interpersonal conflicts do exist, hence these events are of importance to us. They may well be inevitable, but they can also teach us how to behave in our interpersonal relationships and how to resolve conflicts, which ultimately contributes to our personal growth and development. At times, when we do not want to participate in a conflict, we may simply walk away. Sometimes, we may be drawn into a conflict, but then decide to move away from it and let it fizzle out. At times we think we will not give up whatever we are fighting for, no matter what, and we stay immersed in the conflict to the point of exhaustion. At that point we are no strangers to either physical abuse or aggression. However, sometimes we just try to let it pass, expecting from the other person to do the same and this is when we seek a compromise.
However, there are other, alternative solutions for conflict resolution – when we think of our own interests, but also take into account the interests of that other person or persons we are in conflict with – and these are as follows:
Both modules were created with an intention to cover the following:
- the needs of the world of escalating conflict incidence rate;
- the youth and youth organisations' needs;
- children's rights-participation, right to development ( UN Convention on the Rights of the Child);
- European trends: networking, communication, tolerance, participation;
- Legal regulations – pupils' parliament;
- Requirement for relevant, short, efficient and interesting training as part of youth education/upbringing.