Nature and methods of managing Interpersonal conflicts at neighborhood Level in shewarobit town of north shewa zone

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Addis ababa univeresty


The purpose of this study was to investigate the nature and methods of managing interpersonal conflicts at the neighborhood level among the two kebeles of Shewarobit town. The subjects were 240 household heads of Shewa1'Obit town who completed questionnaires. And 16 people who participated in traditional conflict resolution process were selected for the focus group discussion'. The discussion was conducted by dividing them in to two groups. Furthermore 3 key informants were interviewed. The subjects were selected by using simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques. This study outlines the inevitability of conflict and the existence of various conflict resolution mechanisms. Among the various conflict resolution mechanisms, the traditional way of resolving neighbors' conflict is the commonly/frequently used method and effective method than the modern judicial system. According to this study, although frequent communication between the two parties can reduce the tension/level of conflict, solving conflicts through discussion/communication of the two parties is the least commonly employed/used method of all. The findings also indicted that conflict due children's affairs, land borders and falsified information are the main causes of neighbors' conflicts mentioned by household heads, focus group discussants and key informants. Neighbors' conflicts have many and diversified psychological, social and economical effects not only on the two conflicting parties but also on their family members. The study reports that in traditional method, there is a marked absence or inadequacy of enforcement mechanisms to effect what the elders and other traditional courts have ruled. The customary courts rely on goodwill of the society to adhere to its rulings. In terms of gender consideration there is a serious gender and age imbalance as women and youth are largely excluded from important community decision making processes. Women and children are there to be seen and not heard despite of the fact that they play a critical role in precipitating conflicts.The study proposes that there should be increased collaboration and networking between the government and traditional institutions' of governance. In particular the government should recognize and aid customary courts enforce their rulings. The elders should be trained on modern methods of arbitration and at minimum and traditional mechanisms of conflict management should be more sensitive to the universally accepted principles of human rights. Gender and age mainstreaming in conflict resolution should be prioritized in all traditional courts and in decision making processes. Women and children voices should be heard and seen to the fundamentally alter the pace and direction of community governance systems.