Rural Legal Outreach Program

Rural Communities Criminal Justice Awareness

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 10 to 20 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.

This program employs the following approaches

  • Legal experts are contracted by KOWA foundation and brought into the community to give basic legal education to rural committee members. The members 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 twice a year that will provide local legal services accessible to all communities served by KOWA Foundation.
  • Contracted visiting lawyers travel out to communities to offer free legal consultation and guidance to community members on a regular (bi-annual frequency)

Community dialogues with lawyers for free consultation, guidance, and action.