Bullying on the Net – California Hackathon experience Saturday, Aug 30 2014 


As technology changes our lives positively, there are some negative consequences of the internet. Such as Cyber bullying which has caused some people to commit suicide. Youngsters seem to be the biggest victims of online bullying, whether on twitter, or Facebook or even YouTube. However, increasingly governments around the world have been keen to stamp out bullying on the net. Mostly by educating the populace, and regulations geared towards safeguarding actions of online users.

California hosted a group of intellectuals, which included Ms Ijeoma Ononogbu, Solicitor England & Wales, MADR Director Bill Warters,
Professor Leah Wing of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
a social justice educator and Mr Patrick Chan San Francisco- based student interface designer. Our group took on the challenge of addressing cyber bullying. There were cross movements of advisors, however, after the 1st day groups settled into concrete block with an intention to build an App that stands out.

Our summer participation in the first national Tech for Justice Hackathon held at the Code for America Office in San Francisco. Pressing issues in the justice field (bullying, landlord tenant conflicts, environmental and public policy conflicts, access to justice services, etc) were presented by topical experts and then teams of designers, coders, law students and dispute resolution specialists formed around about 7 different projects, building the best app they could imagine in the 2 days of available time.

Our team came up with a mind- blowing App on curbing and stopping Cyberbullying. Interestingly, delegates found our App interesting, one of a kind, and insightful.

Why did our team think Cyberbullying worth addressing? We felt there is a need to address the dangers of online bullying on the Net. In recent years, media centres have captured the demerits of Cyberbullying, which has not been adequately addressed.

The exciting news is that our app design for the “We’re With You” cyberbullying bystander activation app was awarded the second place prize. Our team was given individual prizes by the current President of the American Bar Association, Jim Silkenat, during a full-day conference entitled “Breaking Mad” held at Hastings Law School exploring conflict resolution in the emerging “collaborative economy”. Video footage from the live stream recording is available online, and will be uploaded for public viewing shortly.

Power of negotiation in conflict situations. Thursday, Aug 14 2014 


Conflicts have always existed in all cultures and religions, from the time man was created. Conflicts are present in all areas of human relationships, and have been known to occur in the animal kingdom. The beauty of conflicts is that there are means of resolving the disputes, regardless of how serious they are, or how long it has been ongoing. Human beings , according to researchers are short memory span, in other words, people have a tendency to disregard an offence committed. However, the duration of actual forgiveness varies from person to person. As such , there are no absolutes, rather this is  the general notion of most people do let go of a wrong done to them.

We find stories in Christianity, in the Islamic culture, among Native Americans, and many other traditions that describe processes that have been used from the earliest times to find peaceful solutions to various disputes, and much can be learned from the past. There are means of resolving conflicts ,notably in the use of  negotiations. Conflict is endemic to human society, among individuals and groups, and it is important to manage it.

In recent decades, the various conflict resolution approaches have become a widely accepted field both of academic study and of practice, with official and/or legislative functions in many countries. In international relations, they plays an increasing role in containing, managing and resolving potential sources of conflict.

Alternative Dispute Resolution utilises various approaches for the resolution of disputes in a non-confrontational way. This  ranges from negotiation between the two parties, a multi- party negotiation, through mediation, consensus building, to arbitration and adjudication Key skills required, with particular attention to their important role in the process of negotiation and mediation, with examples of their application in national and international water conflicts.

In recent decades, the various conflict resolution approaches have become a widely accepted by legal practitioners and non-practitioners alike. In international relations, they plays an increasing role in containing, managing and resolving potential sources of conflict.

While conflict is be dangerous, it also carries the possibility of producing creative cooperation in a win–win solution. The key to this is when participants are keen to engage as joint problem solvers, whereby they are really seeking to resolve the dispute, and to try to “enlarge the pie” rather than acting as adversaries and aggravating the situation.

An arbitrator has the mandate that disputing parties come out after an awards given satisfied, feeling its been a WIN/WIN situation , as opposed as a feeling of loss. Equally, a mediator can play a valuable role in this process, this is done by the facilitation of a negotiation process which may have come to a dead-end, as well as helping the parties concerned to focus on their essential interests rather than defend (or attack) fixed positions.

The principles of negotiation, based on interests and needs of the parties, the use of proper communication, and maintenance of a working relationship as an essential component for reaching a durable agreement. The crucial element in negotiations, is the principles and procedures of consensus building in alternative dispute resolution.