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Access to Justice for Rural Women in Malawi

Requested by

Doors of Hope Foundation

Who are you trying to help? What issue are you trying to address?

Rural women’s access to justice remains a great challenge in Malawi and is characterized by a number of factors among them inadequate human and financial resources in the courts.
Another factor that contributes to poor access to justice by rural women is inadequate awareness about major women-related laws and court procedure. The majority of women now, and more so rural women, are not aware of legal instruments that protect their rights. There is a lack of factual awareness which can be traced to the absence of intensive community dialogue sessions, community debates, family education, and the use of innovative approaches like REFLECTS circles and other approaches.
In addition, there is also no legal representation at community level which has created a big gap between the referral of cases from the informal to the formal justice services.
Lastly, the economic disempowerment of rural women denies them a right to demand fair justice whenever they face violence. Women who suffer violence have to travel long distances to the district in order to seek redress and if that particular woman is not economically stable it is very difficult for her to attend repeated court sessions.

What is your project and how will it help?

The goal of the project is to improve access to justice for rural women experiencing gender based violence in three traditional authorities in the Mzimba North district by 2015. This will be achieved through participatory methodologies such as REFLECT, community dialogue, theatre for education, family based approaches and advocacy interface meetings at community, district and national level. The specific objectives of the project are the following:

1. Advocacy for adequate financial allocation and fair disbursement at lower courts for effective justice delivery by 2015
2. Strengthening the capacity of rural women in women’s rights legal provisions to enable them demand fair justice by 2015
3. Improving capacity of community based mediators, local leaders to enhance effective and efficient justice delivery in the informal justice system by 2016
4. Improving the economic status for vulnerable women to ably demand justice when they face violence by 2015

The Rural Women’s Access to Justice Project is designed to enhance rural women’s access to justice in the face of violence. It is also designed to empower women and girls to know and claim their rights in the face of violation of these rights and to know how to protect themselves from such violations.

How can other people partner with you on your project?

Through collaboration, networking and partnership in the implementation of the proposed project.

Please detail the resources that you need.

Financial resources amounting to Eur 200,000 which is equivalent to 75 million Malawi Kwacha. (U$ 256,948)

Contact details

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Partnership types

Advocacy of global issues; Project funding

Regions / countries / territories

Africa: Malawi

Global issues

Children, youth and family welfare; Community development; Education and training; all (7)


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