Historically, justice has for many been a myth, alongside the concepts of human rights, equality, freedom, truth and democracy. Yet today the concept of ‘access to justice for all’ remains one of the most fundamental and widely articulated principles, not only in Kenya, but in most contemporary societies as well. Under the international human rights law, states are obligated to guarantee each individual’s right to go to court or, in some circumstances, access alternative dispute resolution forum to seek a remedy if it is found that the individual’s rights have been denied, violated, infringed or threatened. The same principle is enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 which obligates government to guarantee access to justice by ensuring the cost of justice does not impede access. It is thus also an enabling right that helps individuals enforce other rights.1 Access to justice is an essential element of the rule of law and democracy which entails a fair trial and the right to an effective remedy.
Legal aid refers to the means by which indigent persons receive legal assistance for free or at a reduced service fee. Section 2 of the Legal Aid Act 2016 defines legal aid as ‘legal advice; legal representation; assistance in resolving disputes by alternative dispute resolution; drafting of relevant documents and effecting service incidental to any legal proceedings; and reaching or giving effect to any out-of-court settlement. It also entails creating awareness through the provision of legal information and law-related education; and recommending law reform and undertaking advocacy work on behalf of the community’. Legal aid therefore facilitates access to justice for those who cannot afford legal representation to enforce or claim their rights. Legal aid is a critical component of access to justice and rule of law.
The benefits accruing from effective legal aid services extend beyond individual cases to include: general communal and societal benefits such as prevention and determination of disputes before they become real cases and threaten social harmony; elimination of unnecessary detention; speedy processing of cases; fair and impartial trials; and the reduction of prison populations in criminal matters while ensuring that justice is fair and accessible in civil and administrative matters.
One of Kenya’s greatest achievements is the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010. This Constitution is laudable for the progressive human rights provisions among others. Under Article 48, the government has the responsibility of ensuring access to justice for all persons and, if any fee is required, it shall be reasonable and shall not impede access to justice. This provision is the backbone to legal aid in Kenya. Further, the Constitution guarantees to every accused person, the right to have an advocate assigned by the State and at State expense, if substantial injustice would otherwise result, and to be informed of this right promptly. Enshrining the right to legal aid and access to justice in the Constitution marks a radical shift in programme development and implementation around these issues. And the government takes greater responsibility in ensuring that the right is enjoyed by Kenyans, especially indigent persons.
Advocacy is an activity by an individual or group which aims to Influence decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or conducting exit poll or the filing of an amicus brief. Lobbying (often by lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.
The main aim advocacy is to provide a platform for the vulnerable in society to get an avenue to air their voices. Advocacy in all its forms seeks to ensure that people, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, as in this case people affected by HIV/AIDS, are able to;
- Have their voice heard on issues that are important to them.
- Defend and safeguard their rights.
- Have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives.
Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to;
- Express their views and concerns.
- Access information and services.
- Defend and promote their rights and responsibilities.
- Explore choices and options.
Therefore LACE promotes Advocacy through litigation in court of law by representing those people infected or infected with HIV/AIDS with legal issues that may have aroused as a result of rape, assault Probate and Succession, property and land issues by representing them in court and thus giving the direct access to Justice. It also provides counseling to prisoners who are living with HIV/AIDS watching brief on their cases etc. Therefore, promoting advocacy by giving the vulnerable HIV/AID victims a place to express themselves and get legal assistance freely.
Community outreach refers to efforts that connect an organization’s ideas or practices to the public. Unlike marketing, which is focused on products or strategies that increase market share, outreach takes on an educational component that engages the community. Outreach strategies are linked to the organization’s mission.
- Encourage Conversation: Having discussions with a wide range of stakeholders allows you to find opportunities that align with what they say matters to them. This leads to deeper relationships.
- Participate in Local Events: Festivals and community events that involve local businesses are great places to set up a booth and interact with the community. It also raises awareness, provides a face for your organization and allows you to share takeaway content to help people you meet remember you and visit websites/social profiles to learn more.
- Be a Partner for Your Community: A key to engaging local communities is understanding the issues that affect them the most. The community must view you as a partner that will be there for the long term with their concerns in mind..
- Target Leaders and Influencers: Target the leaders and influencers working on the ground. Provide value to them first before trying to get an insider recommendation, which will always carry more weight.
- Host Events, Trainings and Seminars: Make effective use of office space and allow staff to practice their pitches and teach the community about what they do best.
- Create Mutually Beneficial Opportunities: Other people need to feel fulfilled for their efforts. Be sure to learn what is important to them and what will make them proud.
The term psychosocial refers to the close relationship between the individual and the collective aspects of any social entity. Psychosocial support can be adapted in particular situations to respond to the psychological and physical needs of the people concerned, by helping them to accept the situation and cope with it.
Psychosocial support helps individuals and communities to heal the psychological wounds and rebuild social structures after an emergency or a critical event. It can help change people into active survivors rather than passive victims.
Psychosocial support can include mental health counseling, education, spiritual support, group support, and many other such services. These services are usually provided by mental health professionals, such as psychologists, social workers, counselors, specialized nurses, clergy, pastoral counselors, and others. These professionals might also refer you or your family to other sources if they identify other needs.
Early and adequate psychosocial support can:
- Prevent distress and suffering developing into something more severe.
- Help people cope better and become reconciled to everyday life.
- Help beneficiaries to resume their normal lives.
- Meet community-identified needs.
Disasters, conflicts and health problems have severe psychosocial consequences. The emotional wounds may be less visible than the destruction of homes, but it often takes far longer to recover from emotional impact than to overcome material losses.
Early support and adaptation processes - which respect local customs in mental health or psychosocial healing - allow an affected population to cope better with a difficult situation.
Social effects are the shared experiences caused by disruptive events and consequent death, separation, sense of loss and feeling of helplessness.
Paralegal Training: A paralegal is a person who performs legal work. They assist an attorney with the attorney’s duties. Most of the time, they have formal legal training. They’re not a licensed attorney, and they can’t appear in court. However, they can assist an attorney with many of their duties.
Attorneys rely on their paralegals to make their practice manageable. Paralegals perform complicated legal research, and they draft legal briefs and memoranda. They write complaints and respond to motions from the opposing party. Paralegals interact with clients and the courts. Depending on the needs of the attorney they work for, they might also help the attorney with routine office tasks like stocking supplies, scheduling and office management.
Consulting for professional
- Adoption and marriages
- Immigration issues
- Contracts, Affidavit & agreements