legal aid services provided
In partnership with DGF, FIDA-U has continued to implement holistic legal aid services for poor women, men and children in Kampala, Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Kamuli, Kapchorwa, Kabale and Lwengo, as well as in the magisterial courts of Nsangi, Nabweru, Kasangati, Nebbi, and in the markets of Nakawa and Kamwokya, providing justice through legal aid clinics, family justice desks, and mobile legal aid clinics. The aim of the project is the provision of legal aid, social and economic empowerment and enhancing the standards in legal aid service delivery.
The first phase of this project started in 2018 and ended in May 2019. The second phase of the Project started in September 2019.
Under this project, FIDA-U’s main goal is to increase access to justice to vulnerable groups, such as women and children, including refugees and war-affected communities. Increasing these communities’ access to justice helps them claim their internationally guaranteed human rights and makes post-conflict reconstruction increasingly gender transformative.
Throughout 2019, the project has worked towards:
Contributing to reduced tolerance of human rights abuses, such as sexual and gender-base violence, lack of access to property ownership, education opportunities, and economic opportunities among girls, women,and children.
Providing indigent and vulnerable women and children with legal aid services to enforce their rights to seek legal redress for abuses, such as sexual and gender-based violence
Influencing legislative reforms, including passing of the Legal Aid Bill and the National Transitional Justice Bill to comprehensively increase access to justice, including legal aid services to indigent and vulnerable women and children.
Influencing legislative, policy, and programmatic reforms to strengthen and include better protections on women and children, including refugees’ rights;
Economically empowering girls and women with skills for enterprise growth through FIDA-U self-actualization model to ensure economic independence as a method of preventing and reducing human rights abuse, including violence against women and children;
Throughout 2019, FIDA-U staff in the project districts supported 14,378 (8,253F; 6,125M) legal cases,including civil and criminal cases handled directly by legal officers who offered court
representation, legal advice and ADR services. Most clients preferred ADR compared to other
methods, followed by legal advice. Other services provided included court representation, court
annexed mediation, duty counsel lawyers; and legal advice through toll free lines, social media
pages and the FIDA App.
Collaboration was fostered through MoUs with the African Prison Project and Law Development
Centre, and Health Centres. In Kamuli, Lwengo, Kasangati and Nsangi, FIDA-U received
support from Health Officers at various health centres who refer clients to FIDA-U services
and also give FIDA-U staff one day per week to hold empowerment and sensitization meetings
with women living with HIV/AIDS at the health centres. Activities under the DGF project were complemented by activities under the VOICE project, supported by Oxfam. To further refugees’ access to justice, FIDA-U also conducted two mobile legal aid clinics in Palabek Ogili
refugee camp in Lamwo, serving 428 clients (231F; 197M). Overall legal aid in Lamwo supported
Economic Justice and Legal Aid
In Mbale, a woman who filed a maintenance case was counselled and sensitized on
economic empowerment. She now earns a steady income which enables her to rent
for herself a small house and feed her child as FIDA-U handles the maintenance
case in court.
In another case, a woman filed a maintenance case against her husband who agreed
to pay 50,000 UGX per month. However, the money was not enough for the child’s
school fees. FIDA-U connected the claimant to NGO support which now fully
sponsors the child’s tuition, uniform and supplies. Promise used the maintenance
money (50,000) to start a now thriving business in town. Her lifestyle has changed
for the better.
A UN Women project focusing on improving access to quality legal aid services and referral
services to women and girls who experience violence was rolled out in 2019. It also aimed
to increase awareness among community members about women’s rights, access to justice,
and sexual and reproductive health rights and services in the four target districts of Kaabong,
Napak, Kotido, and Moroto in Karamoja sub region.
To ensure women and girls who experience violence access and use quality legal aid and ending
violence against women services and perpetrators are held accountable, FIDA-U provided the
following services in 2019: