Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Time on the Fringes

Hi, there! It’s Donald (Don) Rukare, Global Rights’ Uganda country director. I am spending this week over 210 miles away from our headquarters in Kampala in the remote Bundibugyo district with a team of 10 lawyers. We are bringing the justice system to one of the most underserved regions in the country.

After a nine hour drive down windy roads and rocky dirt paths, the team and I were finally greeted by our partners in Bundibugyo. For the first time, qualified lawyers are present in the district. This week, they will play an important role in strengthening the skills and knowledge of our partner paralegals and providing access to the justice system for some of the most underserviced citizens.

Training participants role play
The lawyers will spend 11 days mentoring our Global Rights’ trained partner paralegals, providing them with valuable technical support. The lawyers will conduct human rights and legal awareness sessions, complimented by presentations on the local FM radio. Together with the paralegals, the lawyers will also conduct mobile legal aid clinics where they will provide much needed advice and guidance to the community.

We are also currently conducting a refresher training for our partner organizations and paralegals. The week-long session is focused on equipping 30 participants with a deeper knowledge of women’s, children’s and land rights, domestic violence, statutory rape and will writing.  I am excited to have two reputable human rights advocates, Sophie Dhatemwa and Ida Wadda, lead the trainings using a hands-on, interactive method. The group discussions and role plays are motivating the participants to learn how they can better serve their community.

There is no doubt that this groundbreaking collaboration will contribute to the legal empowerment of the vulnerable and neglected communities in Bundibugyo.  The lawyers are finding the experience very rewarding and enlightening, and the community could not be more appreciative of their guidance. It is evident that the paralegals are providing an essential bridge for their communities to access justice in some of the most rural communities on the fringes of Uganda.

I look forward to updating you on our work.


Global Rights thanks USAID for their generous support of this project.

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