March 31, 2014
Washington, DC – The World Justice Project (WJP) today announced the results of its 2014 World Justice Challenge, a seed grant competition designed to strengthen the rule of law worldwide through practical, on-the-ground programs. Seed grants were awarded to 15 startup initiatives including projects focused on advancing labor rights for cotton pickers in Pakistan, promoting equal treatment for women soccer players in Brazil, developing an open-source, online civic participation platform, and more.
More than 360 applicants from 97 countries were considered for this year’s competition. Selected organizations will receive seed grants ranging from US$10,000-$20,000 as well as connections to other key partners in the WJP network and increased visibility for their work.
Applicants used data from the WJP’s Rule of Law Index® – a tool that relies on household and expert surveys to measure how the rule of law is experienced in everyday life– to identify rule of law weaknesses that could be improved in their communities. Programs were selected for their innovative approach, as well as for potential reach and impact, among other considerations.
The World Justice Challenge is an initiative of the World Justice Project (WJP), an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law worldwide.
“Effective rule of law helps reduce corruption, alleviate poverty, improve public health and education, and protect people from injustices and dangers large and small,” said William H. Neukom, WJP Founder and CEO. “Wherever we come from, the rule of law can always be strengthened.”
Over the coming year, WJP will support these programs by raising the visibility of their efforts and by fostering connections through its global network of government, civil society, academic, and business leaders. Previous seed grants have led to reforms in the criminal justice system in Mexico, land rights for women in India, and the creation of rural legal aid clinics in Nigeria. To learn more about current or past World Justice Challenge grantees, visit http://worldjusticeproject.org/programs/world-justice-challenge
2014 WORLD JUSTICE CHALLENGE GRANTEES:
A2I Toolkit: Improving Access to Information Laws Around the World (Global)
This program will create an open source toolkit to support legislative development, monitoring, and compliance exercises on a global scale. The toolkit will be developed using existing materials and an online prototype to rapidly advance several knowledge development goals including comprehensive National, Regional, and International legal frameworks, assessments against established benchmarks, and geo-referencing and map analytics to show patterns and relationships.
A Call for Justice: Making Justice Accessible Through Free Legal Phone Consultation (Tajikistan)
This program will provide a nationwide free legal consultation hotline, focusing its service on women and vulnerable groups. The project will produce a confidential online database for lawyers, donor agencies and hotline consultants, and work with the media on a campaign promoting the hotline.
A Mobile Training Platform for Urban Policing (India, Nepal)
India and Nepal have been experiencing urbanization at a rate faster than most other countries, and city police forces are not adequately trained to cope with the challenges of policing rapidly urbanizing populations. This program will create a low-cost mobile phone-based visual training system that will provide police with a platform to access training and informational videos on their mobile phones.
DemocracyOS: Digital Tools for Democratic Civic Empowerment (Global)
This initiative uses technology to build participatory institutions for the 21st century. DemocracyOS is an open-source, free software that works to encourage a robust public debate by empowering citizens to build a more inclusive, collaborative, and open social system. It is the first system that builds a bridge between the two formal kinds of code known to man: digital software (the net) and the legal contractual system that operates most of the governmental processes.
Fair Trial Rights Cambodia (Cambodia)
This program will raise awareness among the Cambodian people of their rights and the judicial process by producing video clips on fair trial rights such as the right to be presumed innocent, the right to legal representation, the right to liberty, and juveniles’ rights.
Ganhando Terreno: Gender Justice through Futebol in Brazil for the FIFA 2014 World Cup (Brazil)
Female soccer players in Brazil are often exploited. Very few of them have legal contracts, receive a minimum wage, or get worker benefits and many confront issues including sexual harassment, late pay checks, lack of health care, etc. This program will launch the Ganhando Terreno World Cup 2014 Campaign to promote women’s empowerment, employability and gender justice by training 24 female soccer leaders as ambassadors and mentors to other women in sports.
LGBTI Rights in Cameroon (Cameroon)
Among countries that criminalize homosexuality, Cameroon has some of the highest number of arrests and prosecutions of LGBTI persons and very few lawyers who will defend LGTBI persons due to intimidation and fear for their security. This program will help to defend LGBTI persons by providing legal assistance and technical support to their lawyers. The project will also strengthen the legitimacy and visibility of local efforts by facilitating an effective network of CSOs and local authorities.
Microjustice Kenya: A Toolkit for Women and Children in the Nairobi Slums (Kenya)
This program will develop a toolkit for women and children in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, to help protect their fundamental rights and prevent violence and intimidation. The toolkit will include information on key issues, such as how to register a marriage or partnership, and the importance of registering land and property in both the woman’s and man’s name.
Open County Government: Engaging County Stakeholders (Kenya)
A new government was elected in 2013 and tasked with implementing the constitution enacted in 2010 which includes focusing more political and economic resources into the county level, however, little progress has been made. This program will help county citizens to engage their leaders on issues of resource allocation, map community assets, and conduct “asset mapping” including village mapping, village street naming, and uploading GIS village maps onto Google maps.
Organizing Women Cotton Pickers for Economic Justice (Pakistan)
In rural areas of Pakistan, women play a major role in cotton production, one of the country’s largest cash crops for textile exports. However, these women cotton pickers face exploitative working conditions with wages that are far lower than men’s wages for equal work, exposure to poisonous pesticides, and sexual harassment from landowners. This program aims to provide legal empowerment to women cotton pickers on collective bargaining power, fair wages and safe working conditions.
Participlan: Integrating Slums to Build Multicultural Cities (Argentina, Bolivia)
The program seeks to upgrade and prevent informal settlements through participatory territorial planning, engaging slum dwellers and public officials in a productive dialogue to respond to the challenge of informal settlement expansion.
Promoting an Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Israel (Israel)
UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which Israel adopted several years ago, calls for equal participation of women in all peace and security initiatives. Unfortunately, women comprise only 23 per cent of the Knesset, leaving women absent from decision-making concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This program seeks to create a National Action Plan for UNSCR 1325 (in Hebrew, Arabic, and English) to bring more women into conflict resolution processes and prevention of further violence. The program will seek diversity and inclusion of Palestinian, ultra-Orthodox, and immigrant women.
SADC Judges Support Program (South Africa)
Courts in South Africa are under-resourced; court libraries are often non-existent, and judges receive little or no research support when deliberating. This program will provide judges with high quality academic research through "virtual research assistants" who can respond to email/sms requests from judges and send documents to the judges via email. The program will also create a Judges Forum where judges can discuss and debate issues of critical concern in a safe environment.
SASANE (Samrakshak Samuha Nepal) (Nepal)
In Nepal, sex traffickers often target girls in rural communities who are impoverished and uneducated. These women and girls often do not report these crimes, as they fear stigmatization by their communities or abuse from police, and because they lack the resources or knowledge to take legal action. This program —led by trafficking survivors—will provide paralegal skills training and certification to 45 women to help them achieve financial independence and act as resources for other victims.
Vanuatu Chief’s Legal Education Pilot Program (Vanuatu)
Over 80 percent of ni-Vanuatu rely on their customary justice systems, accessible through chief’s whose primary role is judicial. Most chiefs, spread out over Vanuatu’s 83 islands, have had limited, if any, education, and thus a gap exists between their customary knowledge and their understanding of the state legal system. This program will create a culturally appropriate legal education program to equip chiefs with knowledge of state and customary laws to improve the delivery of justice.
About the World Justice Project
The World Justice Project (WJP) is an independent, multidisciplinary organization working to advance the rule of law around the globe. Establishing the rule of law is fundamental to achieving communities of opportunity and equity—communities that offer sustainable economic development, accountable government, and respect for fundamental rights. Our work engages citizens and leaders worldwide and from all work disciplines to advance the rule of law. Through our mutually reinforcing programs of Research and Scholarship, the WJP Rule of Law Index®, and Engagement, WJP seeks to increase public awareness about the foundational importance of the rule of law, stimulate government reforms, and develop practical programs at the community level. Learn more at: www.worldjusticeproject.org