Reinventing the Rules

Discover the Latest Innovations and Lessons Learned in Rule of Law and Legal Empowerment Projects

6 Innovative Justice Projects on GBV, Police, Pretrial Detention, and FOIA

Last week, Making All Voices Count awarded 28 innovative proposals with funding to boost government responsiveness and effectiveness in developing countries. Six of these awards are cutting-edge solutions that touch on the intersection of justice, pretrial detention, gender-based violence, and the freedom of information act. Read summaries of these projects below or click here to view all 28 proposals!

Credit: Amitava Chandra

Credit: Amitava Chandra

Giving a Voice to Survivors of Gender-Based Violence

Country of Implementation: South Africa

South Africa is facing an epidemic of gender-based violence and sexual assault. Based on widespread evidence and previous research in this area,  Foundation for Professional Development Pty Ltd. (FPD) proposes to exploit its existing relationships with Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC) and implement an ambitious, multi-stakeholder project to track and trace survivors of sexual assault through appropriate health, justice and psychosocial support services. This project will improve coordination and continuity between service providers and give survivors of gender-based violence a voice and the means to hold service providers to account. FPD proposes a low-cost, phone-based app for TCC case management and a confidential way to document client experience. This builds on experience and lessons learned from interactive text-based health apps in a South African context and offers situational review and consultation with TCC partners. FPD will develop, test and document an effective, locally-sustainable system that will enhance survivors’ access to justice through a National Prosecution Authority (NAP)-led TCC network.  Ultimately, this project has the potential to contribute to improved conviction rates.

Closing the Feedback Loop to Empower Citizens in Liberia

Country of Implementation: Liberia

At the heart of this innovative project lies a two-way government-citizen-government feedback loop that will address the current gap in Liberia regarding citizen participation in governance. TGCI will work with the Ministry of Gender and Development and at the community level. As well as raising awareness (initially in two pilot areas) among women and youth groups regarding sexual abuse legislation and provision, TGCI will establish and support a clear-cut communication and feedback process between citizens and government and government and citizen. Making use of ICTs, this will provide target groups with an opportunity to share their experiences and needs with the Ministry. This will pay dividends in terms of increased citizen engagement in government and improved government policies and programmes. Ultimately, a successful outcome would result in reinforcing the feedback loop model for other issues in Liberia.

Anonymous SMS Hotline to Promote Police Accountability

Country of Implementation: Liberia

Search for Common Ground proposes an SMS system to monitor and report misconduct by Liberian National Police (LNP) officers. This project confronts the lack of trust between the LNP and the public, fuelled by poor responsiveness, corruption and a perceived lack of accountability. It will provide a voice to those who feel there is no outlet for grievances or who fail to report misdemeanours for fear of reprisal. Search for Common Ground will develop an SMS ‘hotline’. SMS is a cheap and widely available technology that offers a degree of anonymity. The core message is that if citizens perceive the LNP to be making efforts to be more accountable way, then trust will increase. While other SMS based systems take an adversarial approach, applying pressure and shame on the subject, this model seeks dialogue between government, civil society and the public. Search for Common Ground has achieved success with similar projects in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

Ending Abuse of Pre-Trial Detention Practices in Liberia

Country of implementation: Liberia

This project confronts the enduring problem of overuse and abuse of pretrial detention practices in Liberia’s criminal justice system. East-West Management Institute, Inc. (EWMI) proposes the development of a new intake database to track detainees and improve the flow of information between correctional authorities, Ministry of Justice, detainees and their families. This platform will give a voice to the forgotten pretrial detainees in Monrovia’s Central Prison (MCP). Improved tracking and communication will also assist families in tracing relatives in pretrial detention. It will create a new feedback loop in the prison system. Better management of information will ensure timely release of detainees and hold government accountable for dangerous prison conditions and violations of criminal procedure codes. Ultimately, successful implementation will result in reduced numbers of pretrial detainees in the notoriously overcrowded MCP. EWMI will automate the current manual system for prisoner intake and to facilitate awareness about the existence of a system for tracing relatives.

Closing the Gaps in Freedom of Information Legislation to Improve Public Service Delivery

Country of implementation: Indonesia, Uganda and Nigeria

The Carter Center proposes support of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws in the public sector in Indonesia, Uganda and Nigeria by applying their Access to Information Implementation Assessment tool. This identifies implementation gaps with respect to FOI legislation in selected ministries, providing advocates with verifiable benchmarks and implementation rates. A prerequisite to improving service delivery is having information on the state of services and the ease of access to this data. The Carter Center will focus on ministries tasked with public service delivery and to conduct a voluntary research project to define indicators and score the extent and quality of FOI legislation in the target countries. Findings will be discussed with stakeholders and used to map implementation challenges.

Enhancing the Implementation of Liberia’s Freedom of Information Act

Country of implementation: Liberia

mySociety seeks to promote awareness and use of Liberia’s Freedom of Information (FOI) act, which despite guaranteeing effective, equitable and inexpensive exercise of the right to freedom is infrequently used by citizens. Where requests are made, responsiveness of the relevant institutions is poor. In response, mySociety wants to promote awareness and use of the law and foster accountability in the institutions receiving FOI requests. mySociety will fund user identification and engagement; the adaption, customisation and launch of an open source FOI platform; and research and feedback on usage. This inclusive project includes both online and offline components. mySociety has 10 years of experience running transparency and accountability websites and Liberia has the enabling legal and policy framework to make this solution possible.

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This entry was posted on April 25, 2014 by in Innovative Programs and tagged , , .

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