Legal Aid Archives - CREAWKENYA

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April 27, 2022by CREAWKENYA

Hezron Chege Ndaki has decided to build his young career around humanitarian work and championing for the rights of women and girls. He is grateful for the opportunity he got at CREAW through the Linda Haki project, where his work under the legal department,  involved drafting pleadings, legal representation as well as mediation where necessary. It is through his diligence that Hezron is back to CREAW mentoring Linda Haki interns in cohort three.

“ My new job entails guiding the new interns that have joined the team this year. I am overseeing the work of 5 interns just to help ease the work pressure that the legal officers have when attending to clients,” Says Hezron.

As an intern he was able to demystify issues around gender based violence as well as family relations. Some of his major highlights this year (2022), has seen him secure a court order, barring a man from evicting his client from their matrimonial home.

“ I got a letter inviting him for mediation but he continued harassing me and the children threatening to throw us out of the house. It is when Wakili advised that we apply for a protection order in court,” narrates *Njoki (Not her real name) as she opines her optimism in getting access to the house she helped build and maintain.

The case is still in court as the two parties have been directed to try and mediate before it gives its direction on the matter.

Another milestone under his sleeve is child custody case. *Penina ( not her real name) had found herself in precarious situation. She had separated from her partner who was the father of her 2 children. The children went to school in an institution where their father was an administrator. Oblivious of the law, he ended up abducting the children, forgetting the mother had full custody of them after their separation.

“ He took the children without my consent. He came home while I was not around and took them away with him. I had to seek for help because one of the reasons for our separation was the physical abuse he meted against me and the children traumatising them even further. I feared for their lives,” Says *Peninah, thanking Hezron and his team for moving swiftly in securing the children.

 

The team went to the children court and booked the matter under certificate of urgency and filed the case in court, serving the perpetrator court orders.

“ He was so shocked that what he did was a crime, thinking he was entitled to the children since he is the father. We enlightened him on the law and he even signed consent to agree in supporting the children’s welfare,” proudly states Hezron.

For Hezron and the legal team at CREAW, having a great workmanship and collaboration has made it easier for them to serve women and girls who seek legal advice as well as psychosocial support, thanks to the Linda Haki project that is steadily increasing access to justice for survivors of GBV.

Poverty has been cited as one of the key contributing factors for hindrance of access to justice for women and marginalised populations living below the poverty line. It is against this backdrop that CREAW in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are implementing the Linda Haki project in Nairobi’s informal settlements, specifically Kibra, Eastleigh and Makadara in Nairobi County.

 


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January 12, 2022by CREAWKENYA

“ I feel elated, I a more knowledgeable and I have obviously grown in my profession as a lawyer”

These are the words of  a delighted Berlyn Moraa, one of the 15 Linda Haki mentees, who have been working alongside CREAW’s legal officers, to offer pro-bono services to women and girls who seek help.

The Kenyatta University law student, was more than excited to be shortlisted for the mentorship program. Little did she know that her passion for advocating for the rights of children, would put her at the forefront in advancing their voices at CREAW.

“My highlights have been seeing women come into the office heartbroken and confused but leave being hopeful and optimistic. Some will even text you later just to thank you,” Narrates Berlyn.

For Hezron Chege, the 11 months experience has been a mixture of emotions, learning and unlearning as well as getting the job done. As a student who had been a volunteer during legal clinics in campus, at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Chege was familiar with dealing with a myriad of cases. However, none of the cases he handled in school were related to Gender Based Violence (GBV)

“ I was ignorant about GBV. I did not understand why a woman would stay in an abusive relationship when they can walk away. Right now am knowledgeable and can guide a client through GBV referral pathways” Admits Hezron.

The emotional aspect of supporting survivors through their journey of seeking justice has not been easy on the young lawyers. Michael Kinyua Njoki admits seeking counselling frequently to help him serve clients better.

“ When you come to CREAW, the clients look at you as a legal officer and not a student, so much is expected from your end as a professional. There is no room for second guessing,” Affirms Njoki.

According to Naomi Kilima, CREAW’s project lawyer who also doubles up as the mentees supervisor, the 11 months journey has seen the students develop their skills immeasurably.

“They are all able to perfectly draft pleadings. I always get excited when I get a good report from the courts regarding their works and they have been able to build on each other’s strengths. You can see the teamwork they exhibit,” Says Naomi

Poverty has been cited as one of the key contributing factors for lack of access to justice for women and marginalized populations living below the poverty line. It is against this backdrop that CREAW in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are implementing the Linda Haki project in Nairobi’s informal settlements, specifically Kibra, Eastleigh and Makadara in Nairobi County.

“From my interactions with women and children who have gone through different forms of violence, I would like to specialize in Human Rights Law at a later stage in my career. I got the right opportunity to witness the injustices women and girls go through and I feel I can do more,” Says Edith Nyanchama, who is currently at the Kenya School of Law.

“My experience at CREAW has been phenomenal. For the next Cohort, I would encourage them to be open minded, be willing to learn. Theory is easy to grasp but practical is the order of the day. Kwa ground Vitu ni different,” Assures Jackline Tumo, who is pursuing Law at Kenyatta University as her second degree.

Having paralegals who offer pro-bono services to clients who visit CREAW offices for legal aid, has increasingly helped offer more support to bigger number of clients compared to depending on CREAW’s lean team of legal officers.

The Linda Haki project objectives are mainly to improve access to quality and timely legal aid services and legal information for women in Nairobi County, as well as enhance implementation of legal aid framework including the National Action Plan for Legal Aid 2017-2022 and the Legal Aid Act 2016 to ensure sustainable and quality legal aid and services in Nairobi County.

 

 

 

 


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September 29, 2021by CREAWKENYA

When *Santa (Not her Real Name) got her baby 6 months ago, she was excited for being a mother for the third time. The little bundle of joy was a product of love between her and her lover. However, after the arrival of the baby, their relationship suddenly died. Her partner went silent on her, forcing her to solely care for their baby’s expenses.

“The burden was too much for since I had to cater for the basic needs of my other children. Having lost my Salon job at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we could barely feed ” Confirms *Santa

She opted to share her plight with her cousin, who in return directed her to the Suluhisho Center in Kibera, where CREAW Kenya offices are situated. Her cousin got to hear about CREAW’s services from a community radio station in Kibera.

Through the service of a legal officer, *Santa was able to write her statement and was in return given a demand letter to take to her partner for mediation.

“The man agreed to come for mediation at our office. He committed to supporting the child with Ksh 3000 worth of shopping and when the child reaches the school going age, he would cater for education expenses” Adds George Nyakundi.

The mediation brought together the two parents to share responsibilities to meet the child’s support. *Santa was tasked with ensuring her child’s shelter and clothing needs.

 “Thanks to the legal support, my children and I can live less worried. At least I got a hand in supporting their basic needs. I am grateful for the support I got at CREAW”  States *Santa with a smile on her face.

With support from UNDP Kenya and Amkeni Wakenya, CREAW has intensified it’s legal aid for women and girls in the informal settlements of Nairobi. The women are victims of circumstances, who are left with the burden of finding justice and sometimes give up midway due to hefty legal fees which they cannot afford.

With the shrinking resources for supporting free legal aid and representation CREAW is supporting implementation of the National Legal Aid Act which provides for systems and structures to provide free legal aid and representation Country wide.

 

 

 

 


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October 10, 2019by CREAW

October 3rd 2019 marked a new dawn for the women and girls residing in Nairobi’s informal settlements as the Linda Haki project was launched.

Locals pose for a photo during the Linda Haki project launch. PHOTO/CREAW

The Linda Haki project implemented by CREAW with the support from the United Nations Development Programs aimed at increasing access to justice and legal aid services for the poor and vulnerable women in the informal settlements of Nairobi.

Speaking during the launch, the Nairobi County Director of Gender, Culture and Social Services Jane Waruguru lauded the efforts to enhance access to legal information, noting that the initiative is timely and will go along way in ensuring that the rights of women and girls are well respected.

“I am happy that the project will bring power to the people and empower them to enhance protection for women and girls in the households and around Nairobi,” said the Director.

Universities signs MOU with CREAW to provide legal aid in Nairobi’s informal settlements. PHOTO/CREAW

She said that the County Government of Nairobi, is concerned about the plight of residence who face challenge in accessing legal information and representation and thus is open to partnerships geared towards helping residents realize their rights.

Echoing in her sentiments was the CREAW’s Director Wangechi Wachira who called on the GBV stakeholders and duty bearers to work together and enhance actions towards eliminating gender based violence in the informal settlements of Nairobi.

The Kamkunji Sub-County Assistant County Commissioner Fred Ndunga reiterated the need to address defilement matters which are sky rocketing in the community. He said, the silence around the matter is worrisome and must be addressed to protect children from repeated attacks.

“I am concerned that some Chiefs conspire to solve defilement cases at familial level. We must stop this,” said Ndunga who also called on the locals to take responsibility and report violations for perpetrators to be held accountable.

During the Launch, CREAW got into partnership with three universities law schools in provision of legal aid services to poor and vulnerable members of communities in Kibera, Makadara and Kamukunji areas in Nairobi County. The universities involved includes; Strathmore University Law School, Kenyatta University –School Of Law and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture And Technology University-Law School.



April 13, 2018by CREAW0

Counselling and legal aid components are filling a critical gap in services at the community. CREAW provides GBV survivors with psycho-social counseling and advice on a wide range of issues ranging from spousal abuse and defilement, to family neglect. When requested by the survivor, case managers/counsellors usually provide couples counseling and counseling of the perpetrator(s) in the attempt to resolve problems in the family, and, prevent further abuse creating harmonious living.
 
In addition to providing legal advice and referrals, the legal component provide vital legal support activities, such as following up the status of court cases; liaising with the courts and criminal justice system; and providing court preparation and support to survivors testifying in court. In Kibera community, these types of services were not easily available to GBV survivors prior to CREAW.
CREAW has had a positive impact on survivors. Not only GBV survivors in the region access the service from CREAW but from other regions such as Mathare, Dandora and other parts of Nairobi. Those who have received services from CREAW, their lives have changed and they feel they are no longer victims but empowered survivors. A female survivor noted:
“I am free, happy and self-sustainable; if it was not of this organization I would be dead. I had gone through a lot in my family, when I heard of CREAW’s support from other survivors who were supported by CREAW, I visited them and that step changed my life completely. Since that time I am living well with my family. I will always refer people to CREAW, I have already referred 5 people, since I received the services in the past six months.”



December 20, 2013by CREAW0

Overall Objective: To increase access to justice and legal education for all women in Kenya
Access to Justice is a two-pronged programme aiming to enhance women’s rights through accessing them justice at both group and individual levels.
1. Public Interest Litigation (PIL). This aims to prompt judicial pronouncements to clarify or declare women’s right on certain strategic issues affecting women as a group or a group of women. PIL is also effective in reviewing administrative or state actions or omissions. It is an effective tool for expanding and promoting women’s rights in the respective area, and it’s also a strategic advocacy and public awareness tool especially when accompanied with media coverage and commentary. CREAW plans to strengthen its public litigation capacity in order to make it the predominant elemnt of this programme.
2. Legal Aid. We are also working to provide direct legal representation, advice and referrals to poor women who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
The projects under Access to Justice are:
CREAW GBV Response
CREAW’s project goal in the GBV project is to contribute to the reduction of instances of GBV in Kibera, Kamukunji, Makadara and Dagoretti districts through community sensitization and provision of legal aid. To achieve this goal, CREAW works with community structures such as paralegals to train already established community groups in the target areas on GBV and the SOA (2006). Groups trained will be expected to disseminate the information to other community members, which will contribute to behavior and attitude change in the long run. Through this grant, CREAW will work in Kibera to train more organized groups like youth groups, community health workers, religious leaders and self-help groups. The main activities will entail sensitization on gender based violence (GBV) and SOA (2006) to the targeted groups. CREAW will also mark important calendar events such as the Day of the African Child with the aim of raising awareness of the community on GBV, children’s rights and HIV. In addition, CREAW will offer legal aid to survivors of violence and legal advice to the community in relation to GBV issues.
CREAW’s major expected achievements out of this project will include raised levels of awareness among organized community groups and increased access to justice and other GBV support services by survivors. It is anticipated that project activities will lead to increased reporting of GBV cases and increased respect for women and girls as equal human beings as men and boys.