Access to justice is integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inclusive growth. An estimated four billion people around the world live outside the protection of the law, mostly because they are poor or marginalized within their societies. They can be easily cheated by employers, driven from their land, preyed upon by the powerful and intimidated by violence. The lack of legal accountability allows local corruption to undermine economies, diverting resources from where they are needed the most.
Lengthy delays in processing legal cases inhibit individual economic activity, while the inability to enforce contracts deters people from entering into them. Overcrowded prisons are full of poor people waiting months or even years for a first trial, forced to give up work opportunities and unable to support their families. Women, who often face multiple forms of discrimination, violence, and sexual harassment, are particularly affected by legal exclusion. Addressing these legal challenges is essential to enable the basic protection of human rights, from protection of property to legal identity and freedom from violence.
It is against this backdrop that Rising Fountains Development Program is responding to challenges faced by women in the various communities is implementing the Access to Justice and Human Rights Project with funding from the Finish Embassy. The project was launched on 7th January 2015 in Lundazi, and it is being implemented in four chiefdoms namely: Kazembe, Mphamba, Mwase Lundazi and Phikamalaza. The overall objective of the project is to significantly improve capabilities of 2,400 women to have access to courts, guaranteed legal Aid, and Legal representation and to seek and obtain remedy through formal or informal institutions of justice in compliance with human rights standards.