STRENGTHENING COMMUNITY JUSTICE IN RURAL MALAWI


Project goal: CHREAA, with funding from Mott Foundation, is implementing a project aimed at improving access and delivery of justice in local communities through empowering the communities and bridging the gap between the local communities and the formal justice system.

High levels of illiteracy and difficulties in accessing the formal justice system have contributed to poor access to justice in the targeted communities of Chikwawa and Mwanza districts.

This resulted in the formal justice system being disjointed to the local communities leaving the people with just the informal justice system which has its own challenges. In addition to this, there is lack of knowledge among the local communities on laws that protect their rights and, as such, most people do not seek redress.

The project, through Community Court Users Committee meetings and mobile legal clinics, empower the users of both formal and informal systems to know and claim their rights and to demand accountability from the justice systems.

Achievements:

  • Community members are able to follow the justice system and report issues.
  • Improved relationship between the traditional leaders, community members and the formal justice system.
  • Level the barriers in terms of how informal justice systems handle matters, i.e. a reduction in ‘chabwalo’ by some chiefs in Mwanza district.
  • Community paralegals are able to handle/refer cases.
  • The project has reached out to 4,421 people through mobile legal clinics.