The Nomboniso Nangu Maqubela Memorial Prize for Scale and Sustainability
We narrowed down the candidates for the Nomboniso Nangu Maqubela Memorial Prize for Scale and Sustainability to ten organizations that help people to know, use, or shape the law to advance justice in their country. A panel of judges consisting of leaders and visionaries in the field of legal empowerment selected Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice as this year's winner.
Read more about the impressive work of Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice and the other finalists below.
Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice
Country: USA and Mexico
Mission: CMWJ works to support farmworkers organizing to improve conditions in the fields. We organize with farmworkers and allies to fight for a more equitable agricultural system where farmworkers have a voice as stakeholders, and have the right to collectively bargain and negotiate fair wages and safe, humane working conditions.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: CMWJ has partnered with the labor union, Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), to conduct research, training, and legal advocacy work to expand access to information on legal rights and to ensure rights are respected. CMWJ staff coordinates with FLOC members and other migrant workers to visit labor camps and residences around the state of North Carolina, which is the largest producer of tobacco in the United States. Visits include training on labor rights, as well as assistance in connecting with an attorney, if needed, as well as help crafting a strategy to get a more immediate resolution to violations of rights on the job, including but not limited to public campaigns, direct negotiation with employer, or negotiations with purchasers of agricultural products at the farm. A key part of the legal empowerment work also occurs in Mexico, where migrant workers travel during off-season. The H2A "Guestworker" program often allows for blacklisting and retaliation to intimidate workers into not using their legal rights. However, CMWJ and FLOC staff work in Monterrey, MX, the location of the US Consulate that issues the most H2A visas in Mexico, as well as in rural towns in "sending states" of Mexico to conduct the above mentioned outreach activities.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: Since 1980, CMWJ has successfully grown to assist migrant workers in Ohio, North Carolina, and Mexico through a strategy of building alliances, seeking foundation support, use of volunteers and student internships, small donations, and most importantly, supporting migrant workers to be their own advocates and building their own institutions locally. CMWJ seeks support for specific project expansions through grassroots fundraising and foundation support, then focusing on building ongoing support around particular programming. For example, after expanding to North Carolina in the late 1990s, CMWJ achieved significant foundation support for the original expansion, then building on a community organizing model to seek support from the local communities and businesses, as well as church, student, and organized labor support.
CMWJ assists workers in building capacity to be their own advocates, do their own fundraising, and organize their workplaces through collective bargaining, that can be self-sustaining. The work in North Carolina led to the need to expand into Mexico because a large portion of the migrant workers in North Carolina return to Mexico during the off season, where they often experience blacklisting, fraud, bribes, and other recruitment problems. This work has been supported by FLOC members through dues payments and other grassroots fundraising. As the work in Mexico has become more important with the expansion of guestworker programs around the country, CMWJ is seeking funds to expand organizing in Mexico and replicate past successes.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: CMWJ work is always done with scalability in mind. Having assisted migrant workers in winning agreements to resolve disputes directly with employers and broader agreements with agricultural purchasers in various industries, the strategy can continue to be replicated within an industry in different regions and/or in new industries. For example, CMWJ began when migrant workers in the mid-western US founded the organization, building capacity and helping workers win collective agreements with growers and the tomato and cucumber industry. During and after these wins, the work was scaled up from a small non-profit helping a few hundred migrant workers each year, to one assisting workers regionally throughout the mid-western US. Later, the work was expanded to North Carolina, similarly assisting workers in building organization and networks in the South, which was later expanded to Mexico.
From Mexico, this work can be scaled up to assists migrant workers throughout the Southern US, as migrant workers travel from a number of key "sending areas" in Mexico to do work in the tobacco industry throughout the Southern US, including the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Historically, as migrant workers in one industry and region consolidate improved wages and working conditions, it naturally leads to new organizing work in related industries or neighboring locations. With the ability to do more work in Mexico, assisting migrant workers with knowledge and accessibility to the US legal system, we expect that scalability in the Southern US will come naturally. Learn more about CMWJ Website: cmwj.org
African Prisons Project
Country:Uganda and Kenya
Mission: African Prisons Project’s mission is to bring dignity and hope to the men, women, and children living and working in prisons across Africa.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?:Through legal education, we provide a pathway for inmates and prison officers to become lawyers and paralegals so they can take the power of the law into their own hands and use it to create positive outcomes. APP’s Justice Changemaker Program: Provides full scholarships to eligible prisoners to support their undergraduate studies at the University of London’s Bachelors of Laws distance learning program; Educates inmates on criminal justice systems, legal procedures, key differences in local laws, and legal rights and responsibilities; Allows student-inmates to provide legal advice to their fellow inmates and teach them the fundamentals of the legal system. To ensure long-term impact: APP has a Secondment Program that sends local senior prison officers to the UK, aiming to share best practices in prison management to develop and replicate them in Kenya and Uganda. APP also cultivates relationships with the wider judicial actors at regional and national levels.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: The sustainability of APP’s work rests on our collaboration with our partners, pool of volunteers, diversified funding sources, and potential to introduce a revenue model. 1. To create long-term change, we prioritize our partnerships with local governments, prison communities, donors, and law firms. We recognize that APP’s mission and impact is a joint effort and responsibility shared with our local government and prison partners. It is only by working together that we can create impact both on the ground and at a policy level. APP encourages an inclusive approach, involving not just prisoners and prison staff in the project, but also engaging with criminal justice personnel, the police, and local judiciary systems to maximize success. Strong leadership and empowerment is a key element.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: APP’s model is highly scalable and has the potential to be replicated in prisons across Africa and beyond. 1. APP has had considerable success scaling previous models of work, as demonstrated by our health initiative, the Prison Village Health Teams. In response to a chronic lack of qualified medical support in rural prisons, APP trained prison officers and staff in basic medical skills and facilitated networking with local health facilities that resulted in overall improvements in healthcare. Our health model is now being rolled out by the Ugandan Prison Service to many more prisons. 2. Drawing on this success, we are currently scaling our legal empowerment program to reach more prisoners. 3. APP also shifts the cost side of the question by proving that the Justice Changemakers program works for the most vulnerable prison populations at a cost that can be sustained by governments. Our model draws upon resources readily available (prisoners and prison staff) and delivers high impact solutions at minimal cost. In the long run, APP’s model saves governments money. APP’s efforts to increase cost-efficiency will allow us to implement our programs on a larger scale and reach more prisons in new geographies.
Alliance of Local Communities in Hardship Areas (ALCHA)
Mission: To facilitate sustainable development of the pastoralist communities through access to quality basic education, civic education and democratic governance, integrated health and nutrition management, environmental conservation, peace building and conflict resolution and entrepreneurship development.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: ALCHA formed and trained community-based paralegals in 2013 in Marsabit County of Kenya and provided them with legal first aid kits including badges, paralegal journals, T-shirts and bags. ALCHA conducts legal aid clinics on quarterly basis. Public forums on legal awareness have been conducted in all sub-counties. Activities of paralegals in dispensing justice to the poor and the marginalized were facilitated through drafting basic legal documents including but not limited to plaints, defence, affidavits, notice of motion, certificate of urgency, agreements, letter of administration etc. The organization has also distributed user friendly IEC materials on access to justice by the poor and the marginalized.
ALCHA is actively engaged in child protection activities (juvenile justice), referral of cases to higher justice institutions such as FIDA-Kenya, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Commission on Administrative Justice, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Kenya Human Rights Commission among others. ALCHA carried out training of women, youths and PwDs on their Economic, Social and Cultural (ECOSOC) rights. The organization also trained community on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and facilitating reconciliation dialogues to resolve disputes at village levels. Court Users Committee (CUC) and Area Advisory Council (AAC) meetings on child rights and protection were facilitated. The organization conducts prison's inspection and provides legal advice to remandees. The paralegals are divided into two levels. Most of them are based at village levels and resolve community disputes. They then refer some cases requiring further attention to office based paralegals who are in possession of computers and stationeries to draft legal documents for members of the communities.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: The existing networks such as Moyale/Sololo paralegal network and peace mediators are already operating on voluntary basis to ensure their respective communities are secure and better served. These structures shall continue serving the community. The capacity building workshops provided for the youths, women, community local leaders, people with disabilities and the minorities will have a lasting impact as it leads to attitudinal and behavioral change of the target groups. The knowledge imparted to the target groups will remain to reshape the society. The various fora on human rights and new devolved government, for women, youths, people with disabilities and minorities will continue working as their skills, knowledge and competency levels has been improved to stand on their own. The various primary stakeholders, line ministries and other human rights, justice and governance networks will replicate the imparted knowledge in their own organizations and institutions thereby creating good atmosphere for multiplier effect.
ALCHA strategies focus on putting people at the center of influence systems, practices, policies and structures to ensure the government’s responsiveness to the needs of people and equitable distribution of resources. Poverty therefore is seen beyond deprivations of income to include issues of access and control of resources, representation, participation and discrimination. ALCHA will therefore continue to work towards formulation of rights based poverty programmes. ALCHA has therefore capacitated community paralegals to be members of Court Users Committee (CUC) who have allowed the paralegals to draft basic legal documents (plaints, defence, agreements and affidavits etc) at subsidized cost. Further the organization has office-based paralegals who handles cases referred by village paralegals who are mostly not in possession of printing materials and facilities. ALCHA was able to link the paralegal program to governmental higher justice institutions like Kenya National commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) creates platform for referral of cases. Similarly, the organization was able to link paralegal program to like-minded human rights organizations like FIDA-Kenya, Paralegal Support Network (PASUNE) National coalition for Human Right defenders (NCHDR-K) Independent Medico-legal unit (IMLU) and Legal resources foundation strengthens the work of paralegal initiatives.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: The paralegal program is easily scalable to other pastoralist districts in Marsabit county but requires funding. The organization is writing proposals so that the program can be replicated elsewhere.
Country: India Mission: ANTODAYA believes that its vision can be realized through Group Action, which leads to - Emergence of strong Village Level Organizations -Critical analysis of situation. -Having access to development opportunities where they exist and asserting for it where they don’t. -Encouraging the marginalized sections for their greater involvement in a development process, -which is sustainable, socially acceptable, economically viable and technically feasible. -Collaboration/building partnership with like-minded institutions, groups and individuals
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: ANTODAYA realizing the intensity and gravity of all the above issues affecting the poor, marginalized people work for the empowerment of those people through building their capacities. Promoted and trained village level community rights volunteers who can work for their own community. The Community volunteers and the Village level organisations are being empowered through update information flow, trainings, exposures and encouraged to raise their voice at different forums, filing complaints and claims at appropriate authorities and legal forums. ANTODAYA also facilitated the community volunteers and organisations to build linkages with state and National level networks for advocacy campaigns, bargain with law makers and assert for their rights.
ANTODAYA team members and lawyers run Right to Information clinics and Land Rights resource Centers equipped with relevant information books, posters, leaflets etc. and support the community to file the claims, applications for different entitlements including Forest Rights and Land rights claims, queries under Right to Information and all other entitlements. The Resource Center and Clinic also help the community to file their grievances and applications for free legal aid from the Legal services authorities. At time of need ANTODAYA also encourage the community members to seek justice through filing of Public Interest Litigations at High court. In case of Human Rights violation violation and denial of entitlements members file cases at Human Rights Commissions and other appropriate commissions for justice and succeeded in getting justice.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: : Sustainability of the innovation solely depend upon the Community volunteers and the Pro Bono lawyers. ANTODAYA has been regularly following up with the 120 volunteers trained in the first phase and added more 59 volunteers at later stages and trained them to serve their own community. Further the Volunteers/paralegals need updated information on the changes of law, introduction of new laws which will sustain their efforts.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: The innovation of RTI Clinic and Land Rights Resource centers by ANTODAYA got recognition at state as well as at national level. The National Legal services Authority replicated the model with Legal services authorities and established Gram Panchayat level Legal Aid Clinics engaging trained Para legal volunteers to operate the centers. At state level in Odisha the government has adopted the model and appointed Legal Aid lawyers at Block level to deal with the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled caste cases free of cost in 181 tribal sub-plan areas of the state. Subsequently the State government has adopted it as a policy and planned to replicate the Legal aid clinics with Legal Aid lawyers at all 6800+ Gram Panchayats of the state naming it as MADHU BABU AAIN SAHAYA KENDRA (Madhu Babu Legal Aid Center) from 2018.
Mission: Centre for Social Justice's (CSJ) mission is to use law for social change while ensuring access to justice for vulnerable communities and to secure social justice, equity, equality, and fraternity; and to promote an enabling policy and legislative environment that respects, promotes and protects human rights of vulnerable communities.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: The following methods are used to empower the target group:
Village Visits: The village visits help the CSJ staff to identify the problems faced in a village through a series of meetings held and information captures in a form. These forms will be collated to identify the issues. The meetings also helps in locating a community leader(s) to be associated with CSJ.
Legal Awareness Camps: Following the identification of problem, a series of legal awareness camps are conducted on various laws, policies and legal procedures as it pertains to the needs of the village.
Capacity Building: The identified community leaders will be invited for trainings on enhancing their socio-legal knowledge, skill development and information of various laws, policies and schemes. These trained leaders will be associated with CSJ as paralegals.
Advocacy and campaigns: To enhance wider awareness on problems faced in the region, identify policy issues, and to make recommendations - a series of advocacy initiatives and campaigns are conducted.
Public Interest Litigations (PILs): Filing PILs based on academic research and understanding of ground situation pertaining to various socio-economic rights is a key component of CSJ's strategy.
Stakeholders: Train paralegals and volunteers to engage with stakeholders at all levels.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: The volunteer programme and process of CSJ is in itself a sustainable model. The village volunteers include elected representatives, Sarpanches and members of various standing committees under the Panchayats. The focus is to build greater understanding of the socio-economic rights of each and every volunteer so that they can share their learnings across their villages and help spread awareness. These village volunteers play a crucial role in facilitating claim entitlements, bringing cases to the district law centres and assisting the centres in their interventions. These volunteers are connected with the stakeholders, especially the authorities, so that in the event when law centres have closed or changed the location, the volunteers approach the stakeholders or bring the cases and claims to the existing centres and help the villagers in resolving their problems.
The introduction of Nyayika model of for profit affordable legal services by CSJ is in the right direction to ensure that legal empowerment exists beyond the project cycle through the “multi-speciality law centres.” The Nyayika centres have proven to be one stop legal assistance for several thousands of community members who are being benefited by it since its inception. The law centres of CSJ are locally recognized by the NGOs, CBOs, and government agencies as a resource centre on legal issues affecting women, dalits, and children. These institutions directly contract CSJ for their training and capacity building initiatives.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: CSJ’s began its work in the state of Gujarat and it has spread full-fledged in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, while working with partners in 5 states is evidence enough to prove the demand and scalability of the legal empowerment work of CSJ. CSJ's work has been scaled across verticals. The work over the years has not merely focused on the number of villages, states, and community members reached out to, but it has scaled at different levels in terms of capacity of the organisation to communicate at the grassroots, stakeholders, judiciary and academia by bringing in the younger generation into understanding the work on legal empowerment and access to justice. Representatives of local NGOs and paralegals are trained on definite issues of concern in the area of their operation.
The tribal rights work that has started in the Dang district of South Gujarat has spread to the surrounding tribal belts in the state and the adjoining states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where there is a dominant tribal community. Lawyers for change, a fellowship programme to train the lawyers and build a human rights based approach and perspective has started in Gujarat and has now spread to all areas where CSJ is actively working and beyond with demand from various states of India. Young Professional Programme for Legal Empowerment (YPPLE), a programme aimed at introducing the young lawyers to link and understand law and its real implementation has started with three law students trained for a period of one year is gaining popularity and the numbers have been gradually increasing to eight of them working currently.
Country: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine
Mission: The European Roma Rights Centre combats antigypsyism by exposing human rights abuse against all Roma, litigating that abuse in court, and mobilising Romani women and men to contest illegal practices, unjust power relations, environmental harm, and inequitable resource allocation, and to contribute to positive sustainable development. We mean all Roma, especially Romani women, girls and youth, and Roma who have other intersecting identities, such as Roma with disabilities, LGBTIQ Roma, and Muslim Roma. We also work with people who do not identify themselves as Roma, but who are still the targets of antigypsyism, such as people in Europe who identify as Travellers, Sinti, Ashkali, or Egyptian.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: For most of our history, we enabled Romani victims of human rights violations to take cases to court. This led to important victories, notably condemning school segregation in the Czech Republic and Hungary and police brutality and Bulgaria and Romania. But this was an elitist approach. The organisation's almost exclusively non-Roma staff identified cases and convinced Romani litigants to fight them, often for many years and with few tangible results. Schools in the Czech Republic and Hungary are still segregated and police brutality in Bulgaria and Romania continue. We became a Roma-led organisation in early 2016, and about six months ago our staff became Roma-majority for the first time. We are becoming the litigation arm of the Romani movement. We are putting law and litigation in the hands of Romani activists and communities. We are instructed and directed by Roma to solve problems they have identified. We are running legal mobilisation projects in some of the poorest Romani communities in South East Europe and Ukraine, responding to - not directing - Romani people's calls for litigation. In parallel, when our Romani leadership identifies issues that need litigating, we now focus on taking complaints in our own name as an NGO.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: Our main sustainability strategy is to put forward activist litigants - including ourselves as an institutional plaintiff - to open up space for Roma to be empowered to emerge as litigants in their own right (see also above, previous question). Roma recognise that they are victims of serious rights violations but for many reasons are often not willing to litigate: fear of victimisation; lack of faith in the system; the need to focus on urgent, short-term needs. If the ERRC brings complaints in our own name (through so-called "actio popularis" cases in court, or complaints to decision-making equality bodies or other institutions), and we succeed in those complaints, we create a space for Roma to see recognition that their rights are being violated and then emerge to fight themselves in court or elsewhere. We are also working to train and motivate the first generation of Romani lawyers who will bring Roma rights cases. In addition to our own Romani legal trainees and lawyers, our paralegal projects employ Romani law graduates, including placing some of them in firms for training contracts (apprenticeships) that are notoriously difficult for Roma to secure, because of litigation.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?:There is no one-size-fits-all model for scalability. You must be adaptive to local conditions. For example, in France our work fighting forced evictions has been easily scalable because of the availability of legal aid; once a few lawyers saw it was possible to bring challenges - and particularly, following our example, take them to the European Court of Human Rights - they used the legal aid system to create a thriving practice. This is, of course, rare. A more effective solution is to focus on the activist litigant, which will often be your NGO, and which can press a legal point, hopefully with low costs, in order to achieve a precedent that can be taken forward by empowered victims of the rights violation that has been exposed. It took us almost as much time this year, for example, to empower one woman (in Hungary) to challenge racist abuse while she was giving birth as it did for us to start two pieces of litigation challenging the widespread practice of abuse in segregated maternity wards across Bulgaria. The hope is that once our cases in Bulgaria achieve initial precedents establishing that the situation is unlawful, Romani women in Bulgaria, who are understandably now unwilling to expose themselves as plaintiffs in individual cases will be empowered to do so, securing compensation and other specific remedies.
Learn more about European Roma Rights Centre Website: errc.org
Legal Aid Office, Pakistan
Mission: To work specifically for the welfare of adult male, female and juvenile prisoners held in prison in the province of Sindh, Pakistan by: 1. Raising the level of legal and rights based awareness amongst prisoners and prison staff 2. Providing legal assistance to underprivileged under trial prisoners 3. Advocating for and providing goods to improve living conditions in prison 4. Ensuring oversight and accountability in prisons 5. Conducting research to better understand the prison structure, administration and problems faced by prisoners
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?:We employ legal awareness, legal aid and policy reform initiatives to address the issues faced by prison inmates. We conduct two types of legal awareness programs: An intensive, 16 hour legal awareness program that covers the Constitution and fundamental rights, criminal law and procedure, prison rules, property law, juvenile justice, domestic and gender based violence.
Participants that show interest and ability during this awareness program are selected as paralegals and receive further training on paralegal skills. Trained paralegals then conduct awareness sessions for all new entrants in to the prison. All new arrivals attend a 2 hour legal awareness session that covers fundamental rights, criminal trial and sentencing and prison rules. Paralegals also connect prison inmates with legal advice and legal aid providers and other state and non state service providers. LAO also provides legal aid to an average of 1400 individuals every year. Recipients of free legal assistance are screened using a means test and must fall in to the category of casual, first time offenders accused of non-heinous crimes.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: LAO's prison paralegal program has achieved a great deal of sustainability by employing three specific non-monetary measures. The program relies on volunteer paralegals selected from convicts that participate in the LAO legal awareness programs and meet specific criteria related to education and communication abilities, nature of offenses, time remaining in prison, and willingness to participate. The LAO prison paralegal program is convict led and convict run with support provided by lawyers that volunteer their time in addition to their legal duties. The program also aims to motivate paralegals by helping them appreciate the importance of assisting new entrants in to prison by relating to their own experience of first arriving at the prison. And finally, participation in the prison paralegal program also results in the paralegal receiving a reduction in their sentence through the use of a legal provision in the prison rules that allows the prison administration to provide a remission in punishments based on good behavior.
The use of volunteers in this context also allows the program to draw on the experience of paralegals that have lived through the challenges that new under trial prisoners face. The combination of motivated, well trained and experience paralegals is a critical part of the success of the program. Additionally, LAO has partnered with various donors to fund the development of training material and some parts of paralegal training. The organization has an MoU with the prison service in order to facilitate access and ensure institutional support. We have also received funding from international donors working in legal empowerment as well as state funding for the provision of legal aid. By using paralegals to connect under trial prisoners with legal advice and legal aid, we have successfully made the case that the paralegal program should be considered part of legal aid and can be supported by funds allocated for the purpose.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: The LAO prison paralegal program was piloted in one prison - Central Prison Karachi, the largest prison in the province with close to 6,500 prison inmates. The success of the program has led to its deployment in up to 9 out of the 21 prisons in the province, although the program currently operates in 5 prisons, each of which have a population of over 1000 inmates. The model of using trained convict paralegals to empower under trial and convicted prisoners can be replicated in any prison where there is a sizable population - and hence, a demonstrated need for deployment of resources. Trained paralegals also benefit their own communities upon release by being a source of legal information and guidance on accessing justice through formal justice mechanisms. Learn more about Legal Aid Office, Pakistan Website: lao.org.pk
Mission: Our aim is to Legally empower and promote access to justice for people in situations of social and legal vulnerability, especially women. Our work promotes the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Objective 16, which seeks to promote access to justice and provide access to a legal identity for all.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: Our Foundation works to legally empower people in these situations so that they may know, use and shape the law through various strategies: 1) Education and Workshops on Rights (including identity rights, family law, women´s rights and micro enterprises, etc.) so that they may understand their rights and obligations, 2) Individual legal counseling and advice, 3) free access to an attorney and litigation services, 4) mediating disputes, especially in family law. 5) Provide access to a legal identity, through birth registration or rectification of items and documents. We carry out specific Identity Programs in rural areas (indigenous groups) and slums where this is a pressing issue. All our services are free. To undertake all of these activities, we work closely with the Grass roots organizations that are already present in the slums and marginalized areas. This way, our Foundation obtains direct contact with people most in need of legal empowerment. Our volunteers and staff visit these communities on a weekly basis to provide training, advice and follow up of the legal cases.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: In 2016, the strategies developed by Fundación Microjusticia Argentina were recognized by the Legal Education Foundation and Open Society Foundations as a financially sustainable, scalable basic legal services model. The sustainability of the model relies on several factors: Diverse funding sources. Fundación Microjusticia´s budget is based on very diverse funding sources including: - Cross-subsidising by charging fees to (a) microfinance institutions and large NGOs interested in having Microjusticia’s lawyers serving their clients and communities; and (b) law firms, law schools and in-house legal teams interested in training their lawyers or offering CSR/pro bono opportunities. - Smaller NGOs and grass roots organizations who cannot pay for Microjustice services offer in-kind collaboration by providing office space in the slums and areas where we work, as well as communication with the beneficiaries. - “Micro-donors” cultivated online and through social media and annual gifts by private donors. Governmental partners: Now that Microjusticia has reached more scale and visibility, it has become a recognized partner by many public institutions.
We have developed working relationships and specific implementation programs with several organisms (Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Justice, City of Buenos Aires) that are an increasing source of revenue for the organization. - Prizes and Grants (from institutions such as Ernst & Young, AVON, Salesforce,). Corporate sponsors: The foundation develops volunteer programs for corporate employees and receive donations as well as in kind support (printing services, transport, etc.) As stated in the report by the Law and Development partnership the foundation “relies primarily on contractual fees from a relatively wide range organizations to cross-subsidise its provision of basic legal services.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: Microjusticia Argentina has developed a bottoms-up, cost-effective approach to legal empowerment. We started in 2010 with a group of five volunteers on Saturday mornings. Today, we provide our services five days a week in more than 25 spots in slums and marginalized neighborhoods in four provinces, and are planning to open new services in Tucuman, another northern province of Argentina in the coming months. This capacity to scale-up our work is based on several strategies: Our work is based on Co-operation and effective partnerships: Microjusticia Argentina partners with more than 42 key institutions (universities, NGOs in the field, government bodies) to provide effective services. We work in association with Grassroots, microfinance and public organizations that are already present in the slums and marginalized areas and they provide us with office space and direct access to very vulnerable populations.
Thus, we have found win-win partnerships structures (microfinance institutions can ensure that their clients and families have necessary documentation and legal services, NGOs can provide additional services to their beneficiaries, Universities have an opportunity to provide students with real cases and learning, etc.). By providing volunteers with the opportunity to participate in our internship program, we work with over 40 volunteers each semester. This allows us to reach many different areas and slums daily, in four different provinces.
Mission: Empowering female heads of households and contribute to building a more prosperous, gender responsive society with full respect for human rights, by improving the female heads of households' welfare by organizing and facilitating them to have access to various resources; enabling them to actively participate in every phase of development in their regions; raising their awareness about their rights as human beings and as citizens; and empowering them to have control of their lives, the decision making process within their families, as well as within the society.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: In 2005, PEKKA began to develop a legal empowerment program in response to the marriage and family issues faced by the PEKKA community. Since then, PEKKA has trained hundreds of women as paralegals who, in turn, have assisted over 125,000 women and children to resolve family law cases in the courts and obtain legal identity documents. These cases include obtaining birth certificates for girls and boys to enrol in senior high school and university. In 2014, PEKKA launched its legal aid clinics in which it provides legal advisory services to individuals at village level.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: As a strategy for the sustainability of PEKKA and its community organizing work, since 2014 several initiatives have been developed as the embryo of autonomous institutions that will support PEKKA’s work in the future. These initiatives are related to specific areas of focus.
1. KLIK-PEKKA To further develop legal clinics (KLIK-PEKKA) initiated in 2014, the program was broadened to several other PEKKA locations in 2015. PEKKA paralegals and lawyers from legal aid institutions and universities provide free consultancy services to the public, available in regular scheduled sessions.
2. PEKKA Centers As the hub of community-based activities, especially for women household heads, PEKKA Centers have been developed since 2004 through self-funding and non-binding aid. Apart from being activity hubs, these centers are also where women household heads develop their businesses.
3. PEKKA Hair Salon Since 2014, PEKKA has partnered with L’Oreal CSR for developing hairdressing courses and establishing PEKKA hair salons. This is an initiative to help women household heads develop productive enterprises
4. Alta Karya A proportion of PEKKA women are artisans and producers of various sales-worthy products. Their products however are only sold at local markets. To broaden their marketing networks to the national level, PEKKA has developed the Alta Karya initiative to help PEKKA communities better market their products. The Law also states that village committees comprising women and men determine how these Village Law funds will be used. Under the Village Law there is provision for the Village Committees to establish local institutions based on the needs of the village. PEKKA will continue to promote the importance of village legal clinics as well as economic empowerment centres to address the needs of women and girls.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: PEKKA is developing an application called PEKKA Move that will be used to expand the working areas, increase Pekka Association membership, get funding from various sources, get volunteers, marketing etc. PEKKA is open to other organizations that want to replicate the PEKKA program. PEKKA is willing to help the organization in the preparation stage such as to train field facilitators. PEKKA has assisted the West Java government to replicate the PEKKA program in 22 districts. PEKKA trains all field facilitators for the 22 districts and involves them in PEKKA activities. PEKKA will advise the organization that will replicate the program that the most important is to strictly follow the principles of empowerment such as self reliance, capacity building by providing training and mentoring, linking the beneficiaries with multi stakeholders.
Mission: WJI improves the lives of indigenous Guatemalan women and girls through education, access to legal services, and gender-based violence prevention.
How does the organization empower people to understand, use and shape the law?: WJI addresses the challenges indigenous Maya-Kaqchikel women face by providing free, culturally grounded, legal support, bilingual legal education, and leadership training in 24 communities in rural Guatemala through its four programs: Women’s Rights Education, Legal Services, Community Advocates, and Adolescent Girls. The Women’s Rights Education Program is a six-month legal empowerment course that educates women about their rights, including the right to live free from violence, sexual and reproductive rights, and property rights and inheritance, as well as leadership, decision-making, and communication skills so they can better assert their rights. The Community Advocates Program is a grassroots legal advocacy program that provides intensive human rights and leadership training to graduates of the Women’s Rights Education Program so they can become local leaders and grassroots legal advocates for women and girls in their communities. Community Advocates support WJI in facilitating legal literacy workshops and providing accompaniment to women seeking legal services. The Legal Services Program provides free legal aid directly to women in need by bringing lawyers and paralegals to their communities and providing bilingual Maya Kaqchikel-Spanish resources. The Adolescent Girls Program supports girls ages 10 to 17 in asserting their rights, delaying marriage, and achieving their personal goals.
What are the strategies that the organization uses to ensure the long-term sustainability of its work?: Legal empowerment activities are sustained by the involvement of Community Advocates, trained by WJI, and through collaboration with partner institutions. Community Advocates are active in the dissemination of rights information in their communities and are grassroots legal advocates for their peers. Advocates’ presence and advocacy will help destigmatize addressing VAWG in rural communities, enabling survivors to come forward and access justice. WJI is also increasing its collaboration with the Women’s Municipal Office (OMM) and providing capacity-building for the OMM and municipal government. WJI hopes to foster a long-term partnership with the OMM through which the Advocates would receive remuneration, additional capacity-building training, and a formal role in the municipal response to VAWG. The Advocates will refer cases and accompany the survivors to the local judge or police and then to lawyers or paralegals from the OMM. A partnership with the OMM would house bilingual indigenous paralegals, trained by WJI, who would lead mobile outreach and provide services in rural communities. This strategic alliance would enable WJI to transfer responsibility to the public sector and local community, effectively eliminating the need for NGO interventions in VAWG prevention and ensuring sustainability.
What are the strategies used to increase the scale of its work?: In order to scale up in the future, WJI understands that its network of Community Advocates and employment of professional paralegals will be key, alongside increased regional partnerships. WJI has successfully piloted a model of capacity-building of local actors, Community Advocates, who become legal advisors and mentors in their communities. It is through this innovative and essential focus on peer to peer legal empowerment, that WJI responds to the roots of unequal power relations to achieve increased justice for Maya women. As WJI looks to scale up, these Advocates are essential as they provide local expertise and conduct much of the necessary field work in rural communities, allowing WJI to serve a significantly larger population while controlling administrative expenditures.
Similarly, WJI has found that employing formally-educated paralegals who are supervised by lawyers, instead of employing a full staff of lawyers, is a cost-effective approach that enables greater opportunities for growth. WJI also recommends building strategic partnerships with local allies, NGOs, and municipal providers to scale up. By partnering with local actors, WJI can provide training and share its curriculum for creating a network of Community Advocates, improving grassroots legal support systems and multiplying WJI’s impact. Learn more about WJI Website: womens-justice.org/