One of the intended uses of the WJP Rule of Law Index is as an action planning tool for global civil society. The Rule of Law Index truly comes alive when citizens are given the opportunity to analyze information and shape implementation with their own aspirations and situational context. Freely available online, Index country data has become an entryway for rule of law conversations, and the promotion of civil society and the rule of law around the world.

Check out these three examples of civil society and the Index in action:

In Afghanistan, Marnie Gustavson's PARSA initiatives - promoting women's economic empowerment, community development, and access to social and medical services - embody the Index's unique ability to inspire direct action across a multitude of disciplines. Ms. Gustavson took her experiences in WJP World Justice Forums and the Asia Pacific Regional Conference to develop opportunities for over 15,000 young Afghans to participate in creating more stable conditions in their communities, allowing the rule of law to take hold one person at a time. 

In Venezuela, a member of the Venezuelan Penal Forum connected the scores in the Index to emblematic cases of the judiciary, underscoring the use of the Index's an apolitical resource that can highlight areas of contention without pointing fingers, or casting blame. "The existence of political prisoners in Venezuela demonstrates precisely the political use that is given to the courts, and that was reflected in the report," said lawyer Alfredo Romero. 

In Malawi, civil society organization Citizens for Justice (CFJ) reached out to the WJP to help create an initiative to monitor the state of the rule of law, using the Rule of Law Index data as a means of mobilizing civil society participation, lobbying for law reform, and raising the profile of key governance reform agendas. On March 12-14 2013, CFJ and the WJP held a workshop in Malawi for over 60 participants. The outcome of the workshop produced recommendations informed by Index sub-factors and country data that were presented in face-to-face meetings with six government ministries and announced to national media.   

In each case, the story is not simply about the Index and its findings, but the unique power that is mobilized by committed civil servants in pursuit of the rule of law.     

To learn more about the Rule of Law Index and how it affects your work, click here

Bethan L. McGann The World Justice Project
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