Network of Rural Legal Aid Centers (2009-2012)

The goal of the Network of Rural Legal Aid Centres (NetLAC) Project is to protect the rights of the rural population affected by agrarian sector reform through a network of legal assistance centres and strategic partnerships aimed at improving legal awareness among right holders and duty bearers.

Project Objectives

The Network of Rural Legal Aid Centres (NetLAC) Project strives to protect farmers’ rights through a sound legal framework and a network of competent legal assistance centres. By this, a precondition is given for productive farming in order to enhance income for farmers and contribute to better livelihoods in rural areas.

Within the framework of the project, a network of legal aid centres was established, called the Rusdhi Dehot Network. The Rushdi Dehot Network was established in December 2010 and officially launched on April 19, 2011. The capacity of the network members is being built so that the legal aid centres increase their ability to provide high quality legal services to farmers on legal land issues. The project also supports outreach sessions for farmers to improve their legal awareness on agricultural reform and farmers’ rights. Furthermore, the project advocates for the rights of farmers through better legislation, policy and implementation.

Approaches

Improving technical/organizational ability of the network members (Legal Aid Centres) through:
1. Trainings on technical and legal issues and organizational development issues;
2. Dissemination of information about the network members and the network activities;
3. Establishing a database of land law cases handled by the network members;
4. Equipping the network members with a land law library

Raising of legal awareness of farmers, administrative and judicial actors on agricultural reform issues through:
1. Administration of a small grants scheme (the Development Fund) to fund outreach sessions for farmers and local government;
2. Cooperation with the Judicial Training Centre to improve the knowledge of judges on land rights of farmers;
3. Development of outreach materials, e.g. brochures on the rights of farmers.

Improving farmers’ rights by improving the legal framework, policy and law implementation through:
1. Studying laws and problems of farmers in order to identify contradictions, gaps and deficiencies and develop policy papers;
2. Develop a network advocacy strategy to improve the legal system and implementation of laws and regulations;
3. Support implementation of the network advocacy strategy.

Achievements

1. Baseline survey and analytical report to assess legal issues of farmers and their legal awareness finalised in May 2011
2. A network of ten Legal Aid Centres - vetted to ensure that they meet quality requirements - formed;
3. Capacity of ten Legal Aid Centres is built through technical/legal and organisational development trainings;
4. Establishment and access for all members to the case management system;
5. Draft network strategy developed;
6. Legal awareness raising of 13,000 farmers by March 31, 2012 to build their awareness of land and other related rights;
7. Distribution of almost 22,000 copies of legal guidelines for farmers to increase their awareness on land rights and gender.