New Mobile System to Ease Legal Aid Service in Rwanda

Enterprise Television- New Mobile System to Ease Legal Aid Service in Rwanda

Following the launch of a technological inventory this year in Rwanda, people will no longer need to spend a lot of time and money traveling miles away to seek legal aid services from lawyers and members of Access to Justice Offices

It includes the launch of an application that those seeking such services will be able to access on their mobile phones, which they will use to procure such services.

Through ‘Using ICT to Provide Legal Services to the Rwandan Population’, a joint project by Legal Aid Forum (LAF) and Viamo, an international expert in mobile engagement, the system leverages the wide use of mobile technology in Rwanda which will allow LAF to provide legal information and advice to vulnerable members of society free of charge.

The project is however funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the three-year project, which will run until 2021, will cost over Rwf700 million.

The Executive Director of Legal Aid Forum, Andrews Kananga, said people, especially vulnerable individuals, will no longer need to worry about having to pay for transport fare to get to the offices where they seek such services.

The project takes a two-phased approach to using mobile engagement to increase access to legal aid information.

Sulakshana Gupta, Manager of Viamo, said the idea is as a result of urgency, in case people need special advice from an expert via the Legal Aid Forum referral call centre, they can also follow the 845 toll free prompts (MTN subscribers), assuring the request for a call is registered and entered into a call list on the side of Legal Aid Forum

However, before the project commences, LAF has requested some key focal points from the Ministry of Justice to be part of the technical committee that will elect specific topics of public interest to make available through 845, receive feedback from callers, review content every few months and make suggestions for improvement.

According to a mini-survey conducted among 2,800 people by LAF, land issues, GBV, execution of judgment, arrests and detention cases are dominant.

The Executive Secretary of Rwanda Bar Association, Victor Mugabe, commended the ICT-based legal aid initiative.

The Government has recognised that the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) can greatly improve the performance of the justice sector, specifically in electronic court filing system (IECMS).

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