Rural Communities Criminal Justice Awareness Project - RCC-JAP

Rural Communities Criminal Justice Awareness Project - RCC-JAP

Uganda
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

With RCC-JAP, committees are formed at the village level and equipped with basic property, legal and human rights concepts by contracted lawyers to sensitize locals to legal concepts and encourage them to monitor, and report any injustice to the lawyers for action. Consultation dialogues with community members and personnel from key government departments are organized to address identified issues

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There is a widespread lack of information on legal rights remedies & the types of legal assistance available. Many do not even know who they can contact for aid. Many key policies on land & property rights or domestic violence are not translated into local languages. Often, current policies are unknown or misunderstood, a problem further complicated as many policies have recently been amended or newly passed into law. As the courts enforce existing policies & begin to enforce these new laws, the combination of new and older policies is such that many community members are confused as to how best to approach situations. The issue is compounded by the nearest legal firms being over 7 miles distant. In the absence of good legal aid, abuses of office by local council authorities are rampant. Police commonly accept bribes and intimidate victims. The result is that many, especially women & children, are too intimidated to register complaints. Incidents of physical abuse, even torture, have been reported. All these factors make it extremely difficult & dangerous for the rural poor to access the justice system. As a result, many have lost their property and confidence in the legal system.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

There is currently no mechanism in place in Uganda to ensure property and other legal rights of the rural poor are protected. The RCC-JAP seeks to involve poor rural communities in monitoring any injustice in their respective communities and to seek justice legally and confidently with no fear, regardless of their ethnic background, economic status, educational level, or gender.
Members serving on existing and future community legal committees are and will be democratically selected from within the community. Committees will be established by documented governance procedures that will ensure an appropriate gender mix and equitable community participation. The governance procedures will also describe the operating principals under which the committees will function and will provide for regular interaction between the committees to share experiences, identify areas needing action and related functions. Key among these are:
• Legal experts will be contracted by RCC-JAP and brought into the community to give basic legal education to committee members. The members will use this education to assist villagers in monitoring and reporting (to contracted lawyers) any injustice suffered by any community member. Committee members will be equipped with basic knowledge in filing official reports with the help of project report templates in order to report injustices.
• Permanent Community Legal Aid Clinics (CLACS) will be established in two centrally located communities that will provide local legal services accessible to all 30 communities served by RCC-JAP.
• Contracted visiting lawyers will travel out to communities to offer free legal consultation and guidance to community members on a regular (weekly being the proposed frequency) basis.
• Organized periodic community dialogues will bring in experts from various departments for free consultation, guidance, and action.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Since the project’s implementation in June 2009 through the present, 353 adults and 471 children have been educated in the basics of criminal justice, legal processes, and basic human rights. 76 community members in Kyampisi have been helped to access legal services for free. To date, five legal advisers, seven government officials, fifteen police officers, five human rights activists, four local media groups, and six local and international interns have participated in the project as speakers, consultants, reporters, and in a variety of other roles. This project will significantly extend the scope of the project and the resulting benefits within the community. Specific examples of successes to date include: • In the case of a theft of land owned by 68-year-old Mr. John Kanongo of Kikandwa village, justice was reached through the magistrate court in Mukono. • 35 employees of the DAMJI Tea and Sugarcane plantation were helped in securing their retirement packages and other employment benefits from their employer who had deliberately refused to pay them. • 87-year-old Kizza was able to recoup her money from a tenant who was squatting on her land without paying rent. • Mrs. Kayondo and Mrs. Walusimbi were able to secure their rightful claims on the property of their deceased husbands and utilize them for helping themselves and their children. 100% of 500 community members who responded to the project’s assessments survey recommended the continuation of the project because of its great impact.
About You
Organization:
Kikandwa Rural Communities Development Organisation
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Robert

Last Name

Kibaya

Country

, MUK

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Organization Name

Kikandwa Rural Communities Development Organisation

Organization Phone

+256414670686; +256712848448

Organization Address

#494 Kikandwa Village, Kabembe Parish, Kyampisi Sub-County, Mukono

Organization Country

, MUK

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, MUK

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Actions

To date, RCC-JAP has formed two committees and if funding is obtained is looking forward to create another. Over time, should funding be available, the RCC-JAP concept can, & will, easily be extended to additional villages in the area.
The committee members will undergo training in basic criminal justice, human rights, and legal procedures in order to assist them in extensive community sensitization, monitoring, and how to refer the abused to contracted legal counselors and report any human rights abuses in their communities. Dialogues between community people and key representatives from the police, judiciary, human rights organizations, local government, and legal defenders will be periodically organized for free community sensitization, consultation, and guidance.
The establishment of two community legal aid clinics to offer free legal services to communities is a principal objective as lawyer’s services are always needed by the community. Information on criminal justice, human rights issues, key policies and the contact details of key departments like police, district security, & other important organizations will be freely provided to community through the resource center

Results

The establishment of the RCC-JAP committees will increase capacity for rural populations to access key legal information and to demand their basic rights when at risk.
With the two CLACs serving thirty villages of 9,000 people in Kyampisi, rural community members will have a chance to take legal steps in combating any injustice and human rights abuses without the limitations of distance, illiteracy, poverty, or other factors. Again, the CLACs will act as centers for legal document drafting for rural community members.
The committees will offer an enhanced ability for rural populations in need of legal services to access quality counsel and to take the necessary legal steps in curbing abuses and exercising their rights.
The project will improve a community information resource in Kikandwa to offer free information on human rights, legal practices, property rights issues, and other legal issues. Currently, a section on human rights and criminal justice programs has been established in the resource center in Kikandwa and we are currently soliciting material from different stakeholders to be accessed freely by the community.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

If so, how?

Yes. The project seeks to sensitize and educate communities on newly passed bills which are laws, including land rights and domestic violence policies. They were passed last year and many people know very little about them yet they are now used by the courts in cases on land rights and domestic violence here in Uganda. Understanding the content of these policies is very important for people in rural communities, especially women and children, for they clearly define their rights on property, forms of domestic violence and laws against them, and other important topics. Additionally, the project will be able to represent its community members to government agencies to help ensure that new or changed policies are implemented which match with community needs and desires.

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation.

RCC-JAP is working in partnership with several NGOs during its implementation. Working with NGOs has helped greatly due to their advanced experience and expertise in areas that RCC-JAP is not well versed. For example, during the implementation of my justice makers project in Kikandwa, I invited the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association to educate community members on the land and domestic violence bills which had been passed by the parliament and were awaiting the President’s signature before becoming law. 
Partnership with local businesses has also been an asset. For example, RCC-JAP partnered with a local advocate firm M/s Mungoma, Mabonga Wakhakha & Company Advocates which provided two visiting layers to my justice makers project. A number of partnerships have been formed with businesses in order to tackle other issues such as bookkeeping and information publishing & distribution.
Government departments have helped with recommendations and permission to call public dialogues.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

In its initial stages RCC-JAP will be primarily supported by grants and donations from foreign donors. So far, one grant has been awarded to the project to justice makers by International Bridges to Justice worth US$5,000, which was used to kick-start the project’s activities in June, 2009. Additionally, contributions from the management committee of the organization have been useful in covering financial gaps. There is no formal Business Plan or Revenue model yet created. The current objective is to obtain funding that will enable the establishment of the CLAC’s and documenting the governance and operating procedures of RCC-JAP. In parallel, a formal business plan is in process of being drafted with volunteer assistance that has already been offered by a Canadian NGO. This will be based on the concepts included in this proposal. It is anticipated that the revenue model of the RCC-JAP will be based on a combination of grant and foreign aid augmented by funding from the local villages for the next 3-5 years at a minimum.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

I was brought up in rural area and I have extensive experience on how things are done there. In most of the villages in Uganda, things are far different from those in urban places. Very little attention is paid to rural community members in government service delivery at all levels. This is so because the rural communities are not well represented in most of the national development programs. Most of the rural community representatives are not natives of the very communities that they serve, thus their performance is never adequate for community uplifting. Communication and information access is very poor in rural areas and they are always marginalized based on their low literacy levels. A basic education of key issues is never well or completely implemented in rural communities. This has kept the rural communities far behind in most development programs.
The majority of rural community members, especially women and children, are continuously suffering at the hands of their fellow man because they do not know how or where to report criminal cases. Rural women and children in my community face many hardships which include (but not limited to) rape, harsh treatment, property rights abuse, and intimidation. Most of their cases are never presented in courts of law for judicial action because they lack information on whom to contact and so issues are always resolved unprofessionally on a personal basis, often with bribery.
In 2003, I laid a strategy to help out people in my community by establishing an organization called Kikandwa Rural Communities Development Organization (KIRUCODO) with the aim of empowering rural communities through skills development, sensitization and training. Implementing the strategy has been a challenge as many seemed to not support the initiative of assisting in empowering rural communities. A plan of action was developed with a focus on sensitizing rural people and educating them about the need to help each other rather than waiting for outsiders who may have different goals. Today, all the development programs going on within my community are mainly supported by the people themselves. They learned that helping each other and working together as a team is the best approach for social and economic development.

Tell us about the social innovator—the person—behind this idea.

Professionally, Robert is a Science Technologist in Biological Sciences. Founded and managing Non-Governmental Organization- Kikandwa Rural Communities Development Organization (KIRUCODO) and is 2008 Justice Makers Fellow of International Bridges to Justice
Since 2003, Robert has served in various organizations in the capacity of: Systems administrator for ICT-4 Schools & Community under Mission Harvest Ministries Africa; volunteer in the department of information and communication of Disabled Women In Development (DIWODE); Coordinator for Community Water and Sanitation Policy monitoring, evaluation and advocacy in Makindye Division under Uganda Domestic Sanitation Services (UGADOSS), General volunteer for To Love Children (TLC) organization; etc.
Robert has participated in a number of International training programs and workshops such as: Three-months Global Educational program in Japan under World Campus International-Japan; two-days training workshop in Information and Communication Infrastructures for Rural areas in Africa under UNIDO Nairobi-Kenya; five-days training workshop in Information Production with satellite receivers in Accra-Ghana ; one-day Seminar on Challenging Impunity of Sexual Violence by A.C.O.R.D ; penal leader of Refugee Life and Internally Displaced People during the International conference of Humanitarian Studies in Netherlands, Presented a poster on Commercial Algae farming for Bio-diesel production and environment conservation in rural Africa, among others
Robert is a member of the following networks: International Humanitarian Studies Association, International Criminal Court Coalition, Justice Makers network, Peace and Collaborative Development Networking
Lastly, Robert is interested in Rural communities development and empowerment, human rights, reading and writing, sustainable development, technology, alternative technologies, making friends, and God

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another source, please provide the information.

Peace and Collaborative Development Network www.Peace and Collaborative Development Network

Additional
Which (if any) of the following strategies apply to your organization or company (check as many as apply)

Legal education and awareness.

Please explain how your work furthers one or many of the above strategies (if you selected “other”, please explain your strategy)

The project will increase Policy advocacy to property rights or security of tenure through community organized dialogues with the concerned parties aiming at defining these policies in local languages that the majority understand. By doing this, community people will be able to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of these policies.
The project will extend free basic Legal education to public