The Project: Protecting the Vulnerable Through Community Legal Services

    Duration: From July 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017

    Brotee thus aims to create provision for community legal services ‘of the poor and marginal, with the poor and marginal and for the poor and marginal’ – that is, through Brotee’s action-research model named ‘Gono Kriya-Gobeshona Model’ or Barefoot Research. Such a design will not only produce community paralegals but will also significantly increase access of the underprivileged to legal services and reduce discrimination and injustice against them.


    Such a CLS provision, built into the Brotee’s ‘barefoot’ structure, would also significantly bolster the community’s ability to safeguard the vulnerable. Violence against women and children, and domestic violence, will decrease too resulting in a better social harmony.

    In the course of implementing the proposed project, the capacity of the Village Courts and Arbitration Councils will increase and that will help ensure timely, easy and low-cost access for the target population to justice.  

    Overall Objective:

    The overall objective of the proposed interventions is to ensure timely and accessible justice for the poor including indigenous people and poor women through strengthening the local justice systems and community-based institution building.

    The proposed project will address specific CLS issues through a community-based service delivery mechanism, including developing mediation supports including activating ADR and customary legal system f IP people. Thus the project will improve access to justice and thereby the life of the marginalized people through:  

    Mobilization and capacity building of village based action research groups: formation of 112 youth action research groups in 112 villages in 28 Unions, their capacity will be enhanced through different level training and master training. The village action research cycle will be activated by through Gonokryia Gobeshona process.  

    Awareness raising and legal education at community level for marginalized indigenous people and extreme poor. Our service recipients, at the village level, amongst women, directly or indirectly, will be victims of violence, child marriage, dowry, torture, land grabbing. They will be brought under the awareness raising component of the proposed CLS project.

    Activating victim support by the administration through capacity building on crime prevention and gender minority sensitive service delivery.

    Effective and efficient legal services through capacity building and activating Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism and customary legal system of indigenous people. The marginalized indigenous people and women of 28 unions will gain benefits if the Village Courts and Arbitration Councils functions smoothly and regularly. 

    Information centers for giving victim support and providing remedial measures. The project will establish information centers and linkages with Union Information centers for recording complaints from victims and will take remedial actions directly or, if necessary, refer the case to appropriate forum or body. 

    Providing direct legal aid services to the victims of human rights abuse, violence, land grabbing under formal legal system, ADR, customary practices of IP and through referral services to Legal Aid Committee and organization and regular follow up.  

    Ensuring free legal aid services from government or non-government service providers. The project will take initiative to disseminate necessary information and provide required services so that the poor victims get the legal aid from the service providers.   

    Gender- and minority-sensitive victim support through investigation, reporting on gross violation of human rights. In the targeted project areas if any incident occurs in terms of rights violation, the project will take proper initiatives to save the marginalized victims.

    Conducting fact finding meetings with other CLS partners in filing PIL to protect interest of indigenous people and extreme poor of the community

    The objectives of the project:

    1. To identify lacks in the existing justice system and the Community Legal Service provision for remedial measures thereof;
    1. To develop a participatory CLS model for the marginalized and institutionalize it within Brotee’s people’s action research framework to sustain and replicate the model;
    2. To develop thana-level crime prevention mechanism through ‘gender and poor’-sensitive victim support service;
    1. To improve community mediation services including customary legal system of indigenous people and train up community youth action groups, build sensitization of civil society members and service providers in order to increase security of marginalized people over vital assets such as land, natural resources etc.;
    2. To advocate policy reform through effective collaborative lobbying to protect human rights of the marginalized and towards eliminating discriminations from the society. 

      The achievement of the afore-mentioned objectives will improve our local justice system through community-based initiatives and demonstrations.

    Planned Interventions:
    • Research on the problems of justice system’s institutionalization; effectiveness of the  grassroots legal institutions; and intrinsic discrimination between the mainstream and the indigenous people;  
    • Intensive village movement through action research ‘of the poor, by the poor and for the poor’ to establish union-based one-stop service centers to receive complaints from the disadvantaged for remedies.
    • Multi-level remedial process against complaints/grievances through direct interventions, or providing referral services, with a proper monitoring system.
    • Capacity building for effectively activating ADR and customary legal system of Indigenous people for protecting their legal rights in efficient manner.
    • Identifying gaps in obtaining legal aid services from the Legal Aid Committees (LAC) at local level and establish linkages with the LAC and other legal service providers.
    • Thana-level crime prevention, gender- and minority-sensitive victim support services through advocating, investigating and reporting gross violations of Human Rights.
    • Collaborative actions and policy advocacy for identifying the reform issues and implementing with legal provisions including Indigenous Peoples’ customary legal system and Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism to to protect human rights and save the marginalized groups for discrimination.

    Activities and outputs:
    Output – 1: Enhanced skills for protecting legal rights of the marginalized.

    Activity – 1.1: Mobilization and capacity building & group formation

    Activity – 1.2: Capacity building of advanced youth action-research groups and consultation with local administration for providing victim support 

    Output – 2:  Integration of CLS knowledge for social harmony

    Activity – 2.1: Study focusing on intrinsic discriminations, LAC's functionality and effectiveness of customary legal practices of indigenous people (IP) and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for the poor and the marginalized.

    Activity – 2.2: Integration of information, educational messages and distribution to the community and other stakeholders

    Output – 3:  Effective lobbying for protecting discrimination with IP and recognizing customary legal systems as ADR of IP

    Activity - 3: Collaborative actions for identifying the reform issues and implementing those with legal provisions including IP customary/ADR to protect human rights and save the marginalized from discrimination 
       
    Output – 4: Direct legal support to the poor and indigenous people for effective protection of their rights

    Activity – 4.1: Setting up information centers at union level to ensure remedial services for the vulnerable

    Activity – 4.2: Victim support services through awareness and referrals as appropriate including legal aid, advocacy and reporting of gross violation of human rights

    The following stakeholders will be involved for coordination, partnership and linkages:

      • Direct beneficiaries: marginalized adibasis, dalits, fisher folk, ultra poor women and children;
      • Local Elected Bodies: Union Parishads and Upazila Parishads;
      • Local Administration/UNO/DC/ Law Enforcing Authorities, central government, policy makers, politicians and bureaucrats;
      • Village civil society;
      • Journalists and media personnel;
      • Legal Aid Committees, lawyers; 
      • Village institutions: schools, clubs, associations, cooperatives, mosques, temples, etc ;
      • Other NGOs and legal aid service providers;

    Location and marginalized population

    The proposed project covers most vulnerable and hard-to-reach areas, especially villages and unions chosen from Tanore, Mohonpur, Manda and Niamatpur where marginalized people are largely victims of human rights abuse. It has identified a key reason for violating human rights in the targeted areas to be lack of accessing timely and affordable justice by the poor and marginalized populace. The population targeted is mainly from indigenous groups, poor fisher folks, landless people and women and children. They are poorest of the poor and highly discriminated against due to ineffective justice system and state negligence. The provision of existing legal service by the government or other organizations, in a few areas where available, is not adequate. In most of those areas, people have no access to or knowledge about the legal aid or services provided there.

    Project Area:


    Name of District(s)

    Name of Upazila/ City corporation / Municipality

    Name of Union/  Pourashava
    / Municipality

    Proposed type of activities

    Target group

    Rajshahi

    Tanore

    Kalma
    Talonda
    Soronjai
    Kamargaon
    Mundumala  Pourashava
    Tanore Pourashava
    Chanduria

    CLS service delivery and Research and Advocacy

    Indigenous people
    Extreme poor, Women and Children

    Rajshahi

    Mohonpur

    Dhurail

    Naogaon

    Manda

    Paranpur
     Prashadpur
     Bhalain
     Ganeshpur
     Kashopara
     Koshov
     Kalikapur
     Manda
     Tatulia
     Nurullabad
     Moinom
     Bishnupur

    Naogaon

    Niamotpur

    Niamotpur
    Rasulpur
    Bhabicha
    Chondon nagar
    Shimatpur
    Bahadurpur
    Parail
    Hajinagar

     

    Uniqueness of methodology: participatory and sustainable

    The proposed project will be distinguished by the deployment of Brotee’s development methodology of participatory action research. This method puts the most conscious young women and men from the beneficiary communities in charge. Their voluntary role creates a basis for their regular structured meetings and inclusive activities bringing the marginal people into the fold of CLS. This methodology will be deployed in the CLS context and our best action researchers will take up the role of ‘paralegals’ as we progress on to creating a band of forerunners combining action researchers and paralegals throughout the target area to become the frontline in the defense of legal rights.

    This methodology is innovative and has been proven to be effective in tackling a range of HR abuses in the targeted villages. The strength of this project is its organic sustainability, its emphasis on gender equity in practice and on youth as well as its commitment to partner with the village civil society without losing its radical, transformational edge as existing power structures are challenged.

    Project Managed by: Maxwell Stamp PLC
    Funded by: UK Department for International Development (DFID)