Access to Justice Programmes

These remains the flagship Programme of the organization where diverse access to justice products for women are modeled. Apart from promoting the ‘quick justice’ measures on the demand side, it also engages with the supply side of justice in the establishment of institutions as the courts of small claims to enhance justice delivery to women. This is done through:

Formal Justice Programmes

Public interest litigation (PIL).

Recognizing that women experiencing injustice in certain specific ways our investments are around potentially unique cases that are likely to set new jurisprudence. Thus a more concise intervention around public interest litigation is developed in line with the new constitution obligations, with a view of proactively seeking clarity on the jurisprudence advancing women’s rights.

Legal Representation.

FIDA Kenya offers legal representation for women whose rights have been violated in terms of land and property rights, succession, labour rights, GBV, marital violence etc. A litigation fund set up under this intervention goes towards support of direct legal representation and filing of cases in court. This is for needy women who are unable to afford formal litigation fees.
This intervention remains the flagship of FIDA Kenya work with over 4000 women provided with legal support every year. However, out of the 4000, only 240 make it to the courts. This is mainly because most cases are resolved out of court and through our other interventions.

Self- representation.

This initiative empowers women to be able to claim their rights through the formal court system. It was established to cope with the high demand for legal services at FIDA Kenya offices. This is mainly for simple cases that do not require technical legal requirements and includes child custody and maintenance cases, divorce and separation if there are no issues with division of matrimonial property e.t.c
These women then proceed to use these skills in mentoring and training of other women in their communities to represent themselves in court.

Pro Bono lawyers’ scheme:

The scheme consists of over 300 lawyers who have signed up to ‘give back to the community’ through volunteering their time and legal services to the women of Kenya. They mainly take up cases filed far away from the three offices thereby bringing FIDA services closer to the women.
It consists of practicing advocates who share the FIDA Kenya vision and mission of enhancing access to justice for poor and needy women by engaging the formal justice system to claim their rights. Through the pro-bono scheme, FIDA Kenya has been able to litigate many women rights violation cases without the women having to travel long distances to FIDA Kenya offices. This is because the women are linked with lawyers in their community.
In 2012, FIDA Kenya initiated the Community Legal Assistance Scheme that has seen the number of cases referred to pro-bono lawyers increase tremendously. Community legal assistance schemes are community based organizations that are served with the responsibility of screening clients and offering basic legal advice and refer the cases to pro-bono lawyers within their locality for litigation purposes.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Programmes

Mediation as a way of resolving family disputes.

With a view of enhancing family unity and building family relations, FIDA Kenya advocates for mediation as the first instances as a way of settling family concerns. It is a voluntary process that allows parties to come up with their own tailor-made solutions without interference from others. Its a “win-win” process.

Engagement with traditional justice systems.

FIDA Kenya recognizes the role played by informal justice systems (IJS) in delivering justice to local communities but at the same time is keen to ensure that the system uphold the principles of human rights in their adjudication and work under legal provisions in the Constitutions. The recognition of informal justice systems in the Kenyan Constitution gave it credibility and enhanced its use in promoting justice access for women in Kenya.
FIDA Kenya works with IJS across Kenyan communities on issues of land and property rights and to ensure referral of domestic violence and SGBV cases to relevant authorities for litigation. This is in recognition that these cases are criminal in nature and therefore must not be resolved through community systems. These programme seeks to bridge the gap between formal and traditional law to ensure that the two are consistent with each other and that these systems are gender responsive.

Psychosocial support

Psychosocial support cuts across all FIDA Kenya interventions as it prepares the women psychologically to be able to deal with legal complexities and to make informed decisions on the right course of action to take.
This is done through individual, couple and group therapy counseling services.

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