It is critical that people are made aware of their rights and responsibilities and empowered, through legal knowledge, to demand justice. The LRF reaches out to communities, particularly those in remote regions, educating the residents and mobilising them to create structures which can discuss the legal issues affecting their community and identify solutions available to them. The key sector of children and youth are not overlooked and active participants are selected for training as peer legal advisors. The LRF has embedded the volunteer model in its programming, training volunteers who then work within their communities, building legal awareness.
This is ensured through the following activities:
The LRF has traditionally used education outreaches as a way to reach marginalised people in the community, providing legal information on problems that affect their daily lives in a brief session and offering guidance on how and where they might find solutions. The topics most frequently discussed dealt with child rights and child abuse, inheritance, maintenance, gender-based violence and marriage and the law. In this way 19,600 people were reached this year, 68% of them females.
Workshops with Community Based Organizations
LRF built on its relationships with the community and community structures to create platforms through which community members could interact with their elected officials, with a view to building accountability in their leaders and being able to discuss issues affecting their community. Issues such as access to clean water, health facilities and education were topical in the meetings. Elected officials used the platform to explain their actions and the community could then seek clarification
The LRF uses radio as a way of reaching people beyond the catchment area of its physical offices. Live programming gives listeners an opportunity to call in and seek clarification on legal questions they needed to be addressed. Topics on discussion include the Constitution, socio-economic rights, gender-based violence, children’s rights, marriage and the law, inheritance and deceased estates
Information, Education and Communication Materials
LRF’s pamphlets, leaflets and posters are distributed to participants at the different education activities during the year and to individuals seeking legal assistance, to underpin the knowledge gain. The IEC materials are written in simple language so people are able to understand complex legal concepts, even those who did not themselves attend the legal education session. The LRF currently has 25 topics available in English, Shona and Ndebele. The range of languages is being extended with pamphlets on Child Rights, the Declaration of Rights, Domestic Violence, Making a Will, Marriage and the Law, Inheritance and Property Rights being translated into both Venda and Shangani. New pamphlets are being developed on Environmental Rights and Termination of Pregnancy in Zimbabwe.