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Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE)

LEGALEMPOWERMENT OF THE POOR (LEP) PROJECT

District Legal Empowerment Committee (DLEC)

2015-2016

Introduction:

ERADA has implemented a project of “Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement” (EDACE) Programme in assistance with INP (Insaf Network Pakistan) has launched Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP) Project in 13 districts with main goal is to improve Access to Justice for poor, disempowered and marginalized segments in southern Punjab and Sindh. The main outcomes of the project are:

  • Citizens are better aware of their rights; voice their grievances, facilitated access to redressal options;
  • Selected state run institutions at sub-provincial level better respond to citizens’ demands for the protection of legal rights and
  • Enhanced benefits of ERADA through integration with EDACE partners and collaboration with other similar programmes and projects.

The Assignment:

This project aims to find opportunities to make short-term, high-impact grants to improve rights awareness, citizen engagement, access to justice, and provision of security services to ensure that Pakistani citizen rights and democratic processes are strengthened at provincial and local levels.

EDACE works to strengthen constructive citizen-state relations by empowering citizens to know and exercise their rights through democratic processes and fostering state capacity to use democratic processes to respond to citizens’ priorities in a timely, transparent, and accountable manner.

The programme encourages youth as prominent stakeholder, Civil Society Networks (CSNs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and groups, representing a wide range of stakeholders i.e. writers & intellectuals, lawyers, students, media personnel, minority etc to jointly participate for the protection of basic rights irrespective of religious, language, ethnicity and class differences. The programme is based on building social harmony among diverse groups to share and understand each other’s point of view and respect differences.

Key Components of Project:

  • Component A: Awareness Raising on Rights.
  • Component B: Provision of Legal Aid through District and Tehsil Bar Association Legal Aid Committees
  • Component C: Community Paralegals:
  • Component D: Resurrection of District Legal Empowerment Committees (DLECs)
  • Component E: Increasing Women Participation in Legal Profession
  • Component F: Legislative reforms initiated by LJCP supported through Rule of Law Network:
  • Component G: Integration: INP’s work will be integrated with other EDACE’s partners
  • Component H: Collaboration

It aims to build capacity and empower civil society networks and communities to improve social harmony and provide awareness on basic rights with a focus on building a culture of peace and participation, and partnering with all local stakeholders in the development process. As implementation strategy of the project; activities of project are operationalized by various means including knowledge generation through policy analysis, creation of data and information; awareness raising through mobilization, dialogues, networking, sharing and dissemination of information.

CONCLUSION

LEP is a valuable concept. To the extent that a nation’s body of law contains rules that provide all people with undifferentiated opportunities to improve their livelihoods, it holds potential for those who most urgently require positive change, the poor. However, the extent of access to the law and the institutions that uphold and enforce it often depends on one’s wealth, education, access to information and inclusion in social networks—areas in which the poor tend to be most disadvantaged or excluded.