Voice.Global website

  • Organisation

    Legal Aid Service Providers Network Uganda (LASPNET) is a Non-Government Organisation established in April 2004 to provide a collaborative framework and strategic linkages for Legal Aid Service Providers (LASPS) in the country. On this Voice linking and learning project, LASPNET will partner with Strategic Link (SL) Consult Limited (a consultancy firm with technical expertise) to advance the use of innovative approaches to linking and learning that will not only amplify the voices of the marginalised groups but also build the capacity of the different grantees involved to support the delivery of high-quality, data-driven interventions by the grantees.

    LASPNET thematic areas i.e. capacity building, lobbying, and advocacy, networking and partnership, research and documentation as well as information/ data management; are all vital and well-aligned to the work that the Voice linking and learning project wants to promote among grantees i.e. connecting the grantees, creating a linking and learning environment and documentation and knowledge management. With the experience and expertise gained over the years supporting various stakeholders in Uganda, LASPNET will leverage on the experience of Strategic Link Consult (SL) Consult Uganda to bring quality to the capacity building interventions through the use of more innovative approaches such as Visualisation in Participatory Programs (VIPP) which will enlist more participation of women, youth, persons with disabilities and marginalised groups such as LGBTs in influencing their learning agendas.

    • Organisation

      Legal Aid Service Providers Network Uganda (LASPNET) is a Non-Government Organisation established in April 2004 to provide a collaborative framework and strategic linkages for Legal Aid Service Providers (LASPS) in the country. On this Voice linking and learning project, LASPNET will partner with Strategic Link (SL) Consult Limited (a consultancy firm with technical expertise) to advance the use of innovative approaches to linking and learning that will not only amplify the voices of the marginalised groups but also build the capacity of the different grantees involved to support the delivery of high-quality, data-driven interventions by the grantees.

      LASPNET thematic areas i.e. capacity building, lobbying, and advocacy, networking and partnership, research and documentation as well as information/ data management; are all vital and well-aligned to the work that the Voice linking and learning project wants to promote among grantees i.e. connecting the grantees, creating a linking and learning environment and documentation and knowledge management. With the experience and expertise gained over the years supporting various stakeholders in Uganda, LASPNET will leverage on the experience of Strategic Link Consult (SL) Consult Uganda to bring quality to the capacity building interventions through the use of more innovative approaches such as Visualisation in Participatory Programs (VIPP) which will enlist more participation of women, youth, persons with disabilities and marginalised groups such as LGBTs in influencing their learning agendas.

    • Project

      LASPNET was registered in 2004 as an NGO  to provide a collaborative framework and strategic linkages for Legal Aid Service Providers (LAPS) in the country. The founders were heads of Legal Aid service providers who Included the Foundation for Human rights Initiative, Legal Aid Clinic of Law Development Centre, FIDA -U. The Network has a membership of 52 organizations across 70 districts. Through its membership, LASPNET provides a collective voice, to engage the sector on access to justice issues aimed at improving service delivery in the justice system. The Network is established and governed by a General Assembly comprised of Legal Aid Service Providers from which the Board of Directors is elected every two years to provide oversight and policy implementation. The Executive Director who heads the Secretariat works closely with the Board of Directors in policy and institutional governance to facilitate the management of programmes and operations of the Network. LASPNET’s strength lies in the diverse membership and numbers spread across regions; system structures and tools like IIMS as well as our networking and collaborative platforms.

      LASPNET champions three critical aspects of coordination:

      i. A collective role of bringing together different LASPs in solidarity for strategizing, sharing lessons and experiences, while minimizing duplication;
      ii. A capacitating role of ensuring improved quality standards among LASPs but also linking international/regional developments on legal aid to national interventions;
      iii. A supportive role of documenting, providing needed feedback, and amplifying voice on key issues regarding access to justice and legal aid at regional and national levels.

      The LASPNET programme framework mainly focuses on improving the quality, capacities, and standards of LASPs in Uganda as well as building the much-needed voice on pertinent issues and sustain institutional linkages with state actors so as to effectively complement government#s efforts in enhancing access to justice for the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable persons.

      Integrating Gender.
      LASPNET is an equal employer which doesn#t discriminate against any gender. Both males and females are given an equal opportunity during recruitment processes. For example, there are currently 12 female and 9 male staff. Under governance, the AGM amended the constitution to mainstream gender and ensure gender parity. There are currently 4 female and 6 male members on the board in addition to having a gender cluster that advocates for gender-based issues. More still, the organization supports youth as volunteers and interns through mentorship and coaching programmes as well as employing them when opportunities arise.

      2. ACHIEVEMENTS
      What have been the principal results in the past three years that contribute to significant, structural, sustained, and positive improvement in the lives of men, women, girls, and boys suffering from poverty, injustice, insecurity, and exclusion?

      For over 10 years the network has grown into a formidable platform of a group of NGOs that has excelled in research, lobbying, and advocacy as well as facilitating capacity building to promote rule of law, good governance, and access to justice for most poor and vulnerable through the provision of legal aid services and empowerment of rights holders. Its achievement include

      Research and Documentation
      LASPNET has conducted evidence-based researches such as the 2004 and 2009 baseline surveys on legal aid service; a report released in December 2015 on Poverty, Marginalization, and Vulnerability in the context of Access to Justice; has undertaken a cost-benefit analysis on legal aid to weigh the benefits of legal service to all Ugandans, Cost-Benefit Analysis of the National legal aid policy(2016) as well as research on Poverty, Marginalization Vulnerability in Access to Justice in Uganda(2015), Documentation of Good Practices of Child-Friendly Justice(2015), Child-Friendly Legal Aid Manual (2016), Monitoring and Evaluation Training of Trainers Manual(2017); Community Based Paralegal Training of Trainers Manual (ongoing)Tool kit and posters on broad themes on access to justice(ongoing); whistleblower s manual(ongoing), Access to Justice trends Report 2017 and Monitoring corruption Report 2017 among others. Through research and documentation issues hindering access to justice and promotion of rule of law such as corruption and institutional barriers to justice are brought to the fore for JLOS consideration. Such information is disseminated at forums like working groups and committees of JLOS to which LASPNET is represented, as well as at the LASPNET convened National level activities such as the Annual Access to Justice Conference. Resolution and information from the Conferences are utilized to contribute to institutional process reforms related to access to justice at the national and sub-national level.

      Networking and Partnership
      LASPNET has effectively galvanized efforts to LASPs to provide outreach activities like Legal aid open weeks. In addition and as a result of its networking and partnerships, engagements, LASPNET has been able to partner with the Uganda Court bailiffs Association to support execution of cases for the poor and vulnerable; under the coalition in Support of the independence ofthe Judiciary(CISJI) together with six other organizations which include: Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), Chapter Four Uganda, the Uganda Association ofWomenLawyers (FIDA-Uganda) and Uganda Law society (ULS) made a case for increased funding of the judiciary to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee upon which the budget was increased to cater for computerization of court and case backlog reduction;withthe Equal Opportunities Commission under which both institutions will jointly conduct activities aimed at furthering the fulfilment of each other#s mandate through legal awareness and sensitization, popularizing themandates of both institutions,case referrals, representing applicants at EOC tribunal sessions, joint lobbying and advocacy for improved legal and policy framework, among others; with National Social Security Fund(NSSF) ‘s legal services department joint conduct quarterly legal aid clinics, case referral, legal advice and joint sensitization and awareness raising sessions on legal aid and relevant benefits to citizens such as through legal aid clinic. LASPNET participates in many national and regional-based advocacy and dialogue meetings convened by various partners and makes contributions as participants, facilitators, and/or presenters on issues majorly those related to human rights, legal aid, and access to Justice.

      Lobbying and Advocacy
      LASPNET has supported tracking and analyzing government policies that are developed at various levels to ensure legal aid services are properly captured. Some of the targeted policies and legal framework include the National Legal Aid Policy and Law and Administration of Justice Bill. In addition, and in collaboration with the Uganda Child Rights NGO Network (UCRNN) LASPNET was at the forefront of advocating the amendment of the children# act. Furthermore, LASPNET is on the Steering committee for JLOS Justice for Children programme. Also, LASPNET is a member of the task force developing standard operating procedures for victim-friendly justice to support child witnesses and victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

      LASPNET in conjunction with FIDA held a National Dialogue on the Revolving Status of the marriage and Divorce Bill. In conjunction with the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Save the Children and UCRNN organized a NationalChild Justice Conference and a parallel session on child justice for victims of violence. Also, LASPNEThas created awareness through several media campaigns and engagements create awareness of all legal aid services among the public especially the poor, disabled and marginalized people

      LASPNET has six cluster groups an arrangement that allows LASPs working in specific cross-cutting issues to deliberate in emerging issues in the specific areas. These cluster groups include Land Justice; Child Justice, Gender Justice; Criminal Justice; Traditional and Social Justice. Within this realm, LASPNET synchronizes the execution of shared activities among LASPs with major emphasis on improving the quality of service delivery, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, supporting policy reform, capacity building initiatives, and promoting evidence-based advocacy in setting the legal aid agenda, gender and child justice. For example, the gender justice cluster has been at the fore forefront of advocacy efforts of the domestic relations act and the marriage and divorce bill.

      To this end and given its experience in access to justice and advocacy for Rule of Law, LASPNET has been recognized as a formidable civil society organisation in the area of partnership and collaboration as evidenced with the recent Annual recognition award from the JLOS sector on#Partnershipand corroboration award 2016.# and community excellency award in Networking and Coordinating Legal aid service providers in 2017 from Muslim Centre for Justice and Law This recognition is informed by a series of engagement dialogues, meetings, and research which among other include bringing to fore issues of access to justice and rule of law as well as advocating for the adoption of a National legal Aid Policy (NLAP).

      Information Data Management
      LASPNET’s coordination platform enables members to have a collective voice on the issues of access to justice and legal aid service provision in Uganda; the spread of the network across the country provides support and advocacy intervention from bottom level to top. The platform also provides a forum to enhance the capacity of LASPs to provide professional quality service. Furthermore, LASPNET has an electronic-based system of collecting and analysing information called the Integrated Information Management System (IIMS). LASPNET#s IIMs is the standard case management system that has improved the capacity of legal aid service providers to manage information through storage, reference and moderate reporting with trends analysis The development, hosting, and nurturing of the IIMS has provided a platform for LASPNET to spearhead the use of information technology to improve service delivery as well as to expand research and referral mechanism as well as offer basic legal advice through the social web application module. Therefore this provides LASPNET with the opportunity to continue innovating and making it user-friendly with wider outreach to enable timely, and effective provision of the services to the poor and vulnerable. In addition, the incorporation of the electronic standardized Means and Merit Test and a Client satisfaction survey to the IIMS to assess the impact and nature of services provided by the LASPs has enabled improvement in services delivery by LASPs and aided to analyze case trends in the justice system with a view to informing intervention and policy changes appropriately. Also, a sub-module to capture outreach activities of LASPs, a GIS module that enables the location referral of clients to NGOs and JLOS service delivery points, and one that enables standardized modes of reporting has been incorporated. This component will be linked to the JLOS information management system and ease tracking cases and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the JLOS system.

      Capacity Building
      LASPNET has had leverage in capacity building for legal-aid service standards in Uganda through assessing needs and leveraging on the capacity development strategy to facilitate a number of training such as the Trail Advocacy, Monitoring and Evaluation, Labour rights, Disability rights, Mediation, child justice, Plea bargaining amongst others. Additionally, LASPNET conducted a gender audit (gender analysis (across the membership with the objective of exploring and analyzing its effectiveness in carrying out the steps necessary for engendering its Programmes and projects and mainstreaming it into all its institutional activities this informed the Gender training. Through The various training, Members have been able to acquire skills on how to align their organizational development with developing fundraising and sustainability strategies, gender analysis and reporting among the LASPs, institutional governance and accountability, results-based management framework and evidence-based advocacy approaches.

      LASPNET and its expert members have been part of the Judicial StudiesInstitute training team which trained judicial officers and other JLOS stakeholders like Police on administering child-friendly procedures for JLOS; presented on the role of magistrates in the protection of child rights; facilitated induction training for newly appointed judicial officers; training of Law development centre on legal aid and Probono as well as police on gender-based violence-related issues. Additionally, LASPNET has been part of the team that developed diversion guidelines for Uganda. To the above capacity-building initiatives, LASPNET has a database of over fifteen experienced and highly qualified trainers and researchers available to be engaged to undertake any training both at national and community levels.

  • Project

    LASPNET was registered in 2004 as an NGO  to provide a collaborative framework and strategic linkages for Legal Aid Service Providers (LAPS) in the country. The founders were heads of Legal Aid service providers who Included the Foundation for Human rights Initiative, Legal Aid Clinic of Law Development Centre, FIDA -U. The Network has a membership of 52 organizations across 70 districts. Through its membership, LASPNET provides a collective voice, to engage the sector on access to justice issues aimed at improving service delivery in the justice system. The Network is established and governed by a General Assembly comprised of Legal Aid Service Providers from which the Board of Directors is elected every two years to provide oversight and policy implementation. The Executive Director who heads the Secretariat works closely with the Board of Directors in policy and institutional governance to facilitate the management of programmes and operations of the Network. LASPNET’s strength lies in the diverse membership and numbers spread across regions; system structures and tools like IIMS as well as our networking and collaborative platforms.

    LASPNET champions three critical aspects of coordination:

    i. A collective role of bringing together different LASPs in solidarity for strategizing, sharing lessons and experiences, while minimizing duplication;
    ii. A capacitating role of ensuring improved quality standards among LASPs but also linking international/regional developments on legal aid to national interventions;
    iii. A supportive role of documenting, providing needed feedback, and amplifying voice on key issues regarding access to justice and legal aid at regional and national levels.

    The LASPNET programme framework mainly focuses on improving the quality, capacities, and standards of LASPs in Uganda as well as building the much-needed voice on pertinent issues and sustain institutional linkages with state actors so as to effectively complement government#s efforts in enhancing access to justice for the poor, marginalized, and vulnerable persons.

    Integrating Gender.
    LASPNET is an equal employer which doesn#t discriminate against any gender. Both males and females are given an equal opportunity during recruitment processes. For example, there are currently 12 female and 9 male staff. Under governance, the AGM amended the constitution to mainstream gender and ensure gender parity. There are currently 4 female and 6 male members on the board in addition to having a gender cluster that advocates for gender-based issues. More still, the organization supports youth as volunteers and interns through mentorship and coaching programmes as well as employing them when opportunities arise.

    2. ACHIEVEMENTS
    What have been the principal results in the past three years that contribute to significant, structural, sustained, and positive improvement in the lives of men, women, girls, and boys suffering from poverty, injustice, insecurity, and exclusion?

    For over 10 years the network has grown into a formidable platform of a group of NGOs that has excelled in research, lobbying, and advocacy as well as facilitating capacity building to promote rule of law, good governance, and access to justice for most poor and vulnerable through the provision of legal aid services and empowerment of rights holders. Its achievement include

    Research and Documentation
    LASPNET has conducted evidence-based researches such as the 2004 and 2009 baseline surveys on legal aid service; a report released in December 2015 on Poverty, Marginalization, and Vulnerability in the context of Access to Justice; has undertaken a cost-benefit analysis on legal aid to weigh the benefits of legal service to all Ugandans, Cost-Benefit Analysis of the National legal aid policy(2016) as well as research on Poverty, Marginalization Vulnerability in Access to Justice in Uganda(2015), Documentation of Good Practices of Child-Friendly Justice(2015), Child-Friendly Legal Aid Manual (2016), Monitoring and Evaluation Training of Trainers Manual(2017); Community Based Paralegal Training of Trainers Manual (ongoing)Tool kit and posters on broad themes on access to justice(ongoing); whistleblower s manual(ongoing), Access to Justice trends Report 2017 and Monitoring corruption Report 2017 among others. Through research and documentation issues hindering access to justice and promotion of rule of law such as corruption and institutional barriers to justice are brought to the fore for JLOS consideration. Such information is disseminated at forums like working groups and committees of JLOS to which LASPNET is represented, as well as at the LASPNET convened National level activities such as the Annual Access to Justice Conference. Resolution and information from the Conferences are utilized to contribute to institutional process reforms related to access to justice at the national and sub-national level.

    Networking and Partnership
    LASPNET has effectively galvanized efforts to LASPs to provide outreach activities like Legal aid open weeks. In addition and as a result of its networking and partnerships, engagements, LASPNET has been able to partner with the Uganda Court bailiffs Association to support execution of cases for the poor and vulnerable; under the coalition in Support of the independence ofthe Judiciary(CISJI) together with six other organizations which include: Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU), Chapter Four Uganda, the Uganda Association ofWomenLawyers (FIDA-Uganda) and Uganda Law society (ULS) made a case for increased funding of the judiciary to the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee upon which the budget was increased to cater for computerization of court and case backlog reduction;withthe Equal Opportunities Commission under which both institutions will jointly conduct activities aimed at furthering the fulfilment of each other#s mandate through legal awareness and sensitization, popularizing themandates of both institutions,case referrals, representing applicants at EOC tribunal sessions, joint lobbying and advocacy for improved legal and policy framework, among others; with National Social Security Fund(NSSF) ‘s legal services department joint conduct quarterly legal aid clinics, case referral, legal advice and joint sensitization and awareness raising sessions on legal aid and relevant benefits to citizens such as through legal aid clinic. LASPNET participates in many national and regional-based advocacy and dialogue meetings convened by various partners and makes contributions as participants, facilitators, and/or presenters on issues majorly those related to human rights, legal aid, and access to Justice.

    Lobbying and Advocacy
    LASPNET has supported tracking and analyzing government policies that are developed at various levels to ensure legal aid services are properly captured. Some of the targeted policies and legal framework include the National Legal Aid Policy and Law and Administration of Justice Bill. In addition, and in collaboration with the Uganda Child Rights NGO Network (UCRNN) LASPNET was at the forefront of advocating the amendment of the children# act. Furthermore, LASPNET is on the Steering committee for JLOS Justice for Children programme. Also, LASPNET is a member of the task force developing standard operating procedures for victim-friendly justice to support child witnesses and victims of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.

    LASPNET in conjunction with FIDA held a National Dialogue on the Revolving Status of the marriage and Divorce Bill. In conjunction with the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Save the Children and UCRNN organized a NationalChild Justice Conference and a parallel session on child justice for victims of violence. Also, LASPNEThas created awareness through several media campaigns and engagements create awareness of all legal aid services among the public especially the poor, disabled and marginalized people

    LASPNET has six cluster groups an arrangement that allows LASPs working in specific cross-cutting issues to deliberate in emerging issues in the specific areas. These cluster groups include Land Justice; Child Justice, Gender Justice; Criminal Justice; Traditional and Social Justice. Within this realm, LASPNET synchronizes the execution of shared activities among LASPs with major emphasis on improving the quality of service delivery, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, supporting policy reform, capacity building initiatives, and promoting evidence-based advocacy in setting the legal aid agenda, gender and child justice. For example, the gender justice cluster has been at the fore forefront of advocacy efforts of the domestic relations act and the marriage and divorce bill.

    To this end and given its experience in access to justice and advocacy for Rule of Law, LASPNET has been recognized as a formidable civil society organisation in the area of partnership and collaboration as evidenced with the recent Annual recognition award from the JLOS sector on#Partnershipand corroboration award 2016.# and community excellency award in Networking and Coordinating Legal aid service providers in 2017 from Muslim Centre for Justice and Law This recognition is informed by a series of engagement dialogues, meetings, and research which among other include bringing to fore issues of access to justice and rule of law as well as advocating for the adoption of a National legal Aid Policy (NLAP).

    Information Data Management
    LASPNET’s coordination platform enables members to have a collective voice on the issues of access to justice and legal aid service provision in Uganda; the spread of the network across the country provides support and advocacy intervention from bottom level to top. The platform also provides a forum to enhance the capacity of LASPs to provide professional quality service. Furthermore, LASPNET has an electronic-based system of collecting and analysing information called the Integrated Information Management System (IIMS). LASPNET#s IIMs is the standard case management system that has improved the capacity of legal aid service providers to manage information through storage, reference and moderate reporting with trends analysis The development, hosting, and nurturing of the IIMS has provided a platform for LASPNET to spearhead the use of information technology to improve service delivery as well as to expand research and referral mechanism as well as offer basic legal advice through the social web application module. Therefore this provides LASPNET with the opportunity to continue innovating and making it user-friendly with wider outreach to enable timely, and effective provision of the services to the poor and vulnerable. In addition, the incorporation of the electronic standardized Means and Merit Test and a Client satisfaction survey to the IIMS to assess the impact and nature of services provided by the LASPs has enabled improvement in services delivery by LASPs and aided to analyze case trends in the justice system with a view to informing intervention and policy changes appropriately. Also, a sub-module to capture outreach activities of LASPs, a GIS module that enables the location referral of clients to NGOs and JLOS service delivery points, and one that enables standardized modes of reporting has been incorporated. This component will be linked to the JLOS information management system and ease tracking cases and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the JLOS system.

    Capacity Building
    LASPNET has had leverage in capacity building for legal-aid service standards in Uganda through assessing needs and leveraging on the capacity development strategy to facilitate a number of training such as the Trail Advocacy, Monitoring and Evaluation, Labour rights, Disability rights, Mediation, child justice, Plea bargaining amongst others. Additionally, LASPNET conducted a gender audit (gender analysis (across the membership with the objective of exploring and analyzing its effectiveness in carrying out the steps necessary for engendering its Programmes and projects and mainstreaming it into all its institutional activities this informed the Gender training. Through The various training, Members have been able to acquire skills on how to align their organizational development with developing fundraising and sustainability strategies, gender analysis and reporting among the LASPs, institutional governance and accountability, results-based management framework and evidence-based advocacy approaches.

    LASPNET and its expert members have been part of the Judicial StudiesInstitute training team which trained judicial officers and other JLOS stakeholders like Police on administering child-friendly procedures for JLOS; presented on the role of magistrates in the protection of child rights; facilitated induction training for newly appointed judicial officers; training of Law development centre on legal aid and Probono as well as police on gender-based violence-related issues. Additionally, LASPNET has been part of the team that developed diversion guidelines for Uganda. To the above capacity-building initiatives, LASPNET has a database of over fifteen experienced and highly qualified trainers and researchers available to be engaged to undertake any training both at national and community levels.

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