Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Impact in Burundi

Wow. It is always good to hear that Global Rights is having an impact. So I was particularly pleased when we received an email from Steven Goldberg a volunteer with the International Senior Lawyers Project who co-facilitated our Strategic Litigation workshop in Burundi last week. Here is a bit of what he wrote about the impact of our training:

"I wanted to give you a brief update from Burundi, at least from my perspective.

This is obviously an extraordinarily ambitious program. You are educating people about international law, you are getting them to think about how to apply principles underlying that body of law in their own countries to specific legal problems, and how to do that strategically.

The trainers you've chosen -- all African -- are terrific. Knowledgeable, experienced, and totally committed to this work.

...The skills part of the training has been useful on several levels. It has made people think about the practicalities of doing this work: When working with communities, how do legal issues get defined, how does the lawyer avoid letting his or her own biases define the work as opposed to the people he's representing, who is the client when dealing with groups of people, how do you create trust with your clients to facilitate disclosure of the facts you need to litigate, how can the work be done in such a way that empowers the client. These are not necessarily issues and skills people think about as they train to become lawyers, and then practice law but really are important whether you are doing divorces or large impact cases.

Steven Goldberg at the Strategic Litigation workshop
We've also tried to do this part of the training in a way that gets the participants actively involved, and that's been a success. People have been actively involved, willing to participate in role-plays, filled with questions and comments. We've had to be flexible about how to do this. But my sense from the participants is that they are enjoying the training and finding it valuable.

...Now being home, the impact of this experience on me has been significant -- apart from the training and cases. The participants in the workshop were amazing people: so committed, bright, willing to take significant risks challenging their various governments in cases challenging human rights violations.

I left Africa this time with a sense of perspective that change takes time. I also have optimism about the future given the amazing people I met.

Thanks so much for this experience."

- Steven Goldberg, Attorney at Law

I am glad to know that our USAID-funded program is helping to build lasting legal skills that will have long-term impact on strengthening participation in rule of law.  Click here to read more about our strategic litigation workshop. 

- Susan

Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

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