For this reason, we are looking out for development partners that pursue the same goals as we do, namely to ensure that the people in Uganda access quality legal aid services and realise their rights. This will be achieved through creating public awareness in order to empower the people to know and realise their legal rights through mediation and litigation as well as to advocate for the passing of a National Legal Aid Law.
Currently the DGF is working with the support from seven and (7) development partners: Austria, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the European Union. Its aim is to provide harmonised, coherent and well-coordinated, financial and technical support to state and non-state entities to strengthen democratisation, protect human rights, improve access to justice and enhance accountability in Uganda.
The DGF funds and supports seven (7) of JCU’s twelve (12) centres which include; Mmengo, Tororo, Hoima, Lira, Mubende, Mukono and Mbale Centres, under the project titled “Enhancing Access to Justice in Uganda through providing Comprehensive Quality Legal Aid Services and Empowering Vulnerable People and Communities”.
JLOS is a sector wide approach adopted by Government of Uganda bringing together eighteen (18) institutions with closely linked mandates of administering justice and maintaining law and order as well as the promotion and protection of human rights.
JCU is a Government Project under the Justice Law and Order Sector that receives funding from JLOS to run three (3) Justice Centres situated in Jinja, Fort Portal and Masaka.
The JLOS Senior Technical Advisor sits on the JCU Steering Committee.
JCU is a hosted and supervised by the Judiciary. Most of the JCU offices are located at the court premises. Furthermore, the courts provide some office equipment and cover the utilities for those offices. The JCU Steering Committee is chaired by the Registrar of the High Court.
Furthermore, JCU contributes towards reducing court case backlog in various ways:
In 2019, JCU partnered with UN Women under the project “Legal Aid and Women’s Access to Justice” implemented in the Districts of Kampala, Tororo, Bundibugyo and Kasese. The goal of the project is to ensure that women and girls access justice through access to information and advocacy for their rights. The project ensures that favourable social norms, attitudes and behaviours are promoted at community and individual levels to prevent violence against women and girls and promote sexual reproductive health rights (SRHRs).
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030.
In the partnership with JCU the major aim is to enhance access to essential quality legal aid and referral services to women and girls who experience violence. Spotlight Initiative provides funding to the JCU Centres in Kampala, Tororo, and Kasese that provide legal aid to women and girls and promote their sexual reproductive health rights. This is done through outreaches, legal advice, court representation and advocacy.
Under a joint programme with UN Women, the Embassy of Sweden funds JCU’s Centre located in Bundibugyo. The Bundibugyo Centre extends its free legal services to 20 sub-counties and undertakes legal awareness sessions, provides free legal advice, court representation and advocacy for reform of laws and policies that enhance access to justice for the poor and vulnerable, especially women and girls facing or likely to experience violence.
Under the ‘Legal Aid and Women’s Access to Justice’ project initiated by UN Women, the Embassy of the Netherlands specifically funds and supports outreaches to girls and women in places of detention like police and prisons. The aim of the outreaches is to sensitise them on their rights and to provide them with free legal representation by the centres situated in Kasese, Bundibugyo, Mmengo and Tororo.
In addition, JCU is able to provide free legal advice via toll free lines in the Tororo and Mmengo Centres.
This is one of the oldest and largest Austrian non-government development cooperation organisations. The NGO is specialised in the implementation of programs and projects and the deployment of technical assistance personnel.
HORIZONT3000 provides support to JCU in the form of capacity building of JCU staff in key result areas. This is done through provision of Technical Advisors to JCU. So far the organisation provided JCU with a Technical Advisor on Monitoring and Evaluation and currently with a Technical Advisor on Advocacy and Communications.