How to use this website
A Traveller project needs to commit, individually, organisationally and collectively to understanding conflict. It needs to recognise that commitment needs to be met in terms of designated time to use this resource, to commit to time to reflect on and use these resources and then, most importantly, to engage and bring Travellers along in the process to ensure the community knows about and buys into the development of a local strategy.
Step 1: Designate someone in the organisation to take a lead on this, whether in a paid or non-paid role. This person will need to have insight into the work of the project, experience and a good understanding of Traveller issues and someone who can command respect within the organisation and who has the capacity to take new ideas and embed them into the group. Ideally it should be someone with experience in presenting information to a group, or someone who has delivered training before.
Step 2: Commit some time for this person to take time to explore the website. Make sure time is given to do so as part of their schedule to fully get to grips with all the learning, and if necessary, to seek supports from ITM. Consider this a time-bound piece of work for the person to have finished using the website by a certain date in order to keep this focussed.
Step 3: Create a space for this person to report back to staff and management of what they have learned from the website. Encourage the development of learning environment within the organisation, with the designated person taking a lead to develop the organisations’ specific responses to conflict by carrying out the various exercises.
Step 4: Develop clear organisational policies, discuss them and ensure that all staff and management not only know about them, but have ownership of them, and are comfortable communicating them among the community and externally as well. Clarity is important, uncertainty undermines the Traveller organisations’ credibility- and this is really important that everyone shares a clear understanding of what you are going to do and what you are not going to do.
Step 5: Create ways whereby the community is engaged, across all families, sites and including Travellers in private rented etc to ensure that every Traveller in your area knows what you mean about conflict, what you are proposing to do, what roles you can take, when and how you will intervene. Develop resources which you can distribute with key contact details etc. Target key individuals who have influence within families and engage them in conversations on your approach and what you are trying to achieve
Step 6: Communicate clearly to agencies and service providers of how your organisation views conflict, how you will approach it and what you can work on. Look to create a specific conflict response coordination group that can work together, with agreed principles,
with agreed principles, if tensions escalate what possible roles Traveller projects can play, which, if needs be, can be supplemented by peace enforcement or recourse to Courts and the legal system.
Organisations need to recognise that this is a huge topic, which has huge consequences for the community and Traveller groups. It will take time to fully come to grips with the learning on this website as some of it will be challenging to bring on board.
It is vital that organisations develop a collective response. This means that everyone in the organisation needs to become conflict aware. It is vital that once groups look to develop an organisational response to conflict that the community is fully aware and engaged in what you are trying to achieve, in clear language which removes uncertainty of what you are trying to achieve.
Once everyone in the organisation has a good understanding of conflict, has begun to explore conflict awareness and is clear of who in the organisation plays specific practitioner roles, the message of what the project now can do is fully explored with and endorsed by all Travellers in your area. Once this has happened you can message your collective organisational role to agencies in your area and create conflict response networks.
The organisation needs to commit to using this website as a learning resource. You need to create spaces to read/discuss and put into practice conflict awareness skills based on the analysis and exercise in this website, individually, organisationally and collectively (with the community).
Conflict work is not and should not be seen as a separate piece of work, an optional “add on”. Conflict work should be seen as an essential part of existing work that Traveller projects are involved in. It is a set of tools to compliment existing practices which can be used in a number of places. It is a framework/lens for looking at relationships, between individuals, community members, between communities (Traveller and non-Traveller) and between Traveller groups and State agencies and other bodies.
Finally, while this web resource will give invaluable information to Traveller projects, especially in times of crisis, we recommend that Traveller groups invest time in using this website before a crisis occurs. The best policies, strategies and practices are developed by Traveller groups when they have the time and space to fully explore issues as a collective, with full engagement of the community. It is impossible to do this if there is extreme tension in one area. This is not to say that groups cannot use this in times of crisis, but to recognise that Traveller organisations should not look at conflict only when it becomes visible – it is much easier to develop an approach without the extreme pressures or fire-fighting that is needed when violence or tensions break out.