09 Dec 2011

Mobile Legal Advice Centers Reach out to Rural Areas in Africa

Advocacy and Legal Advice Centers (ALACs) have become a central point of Transparency International’s national chapters’ activities in many countries. Their main objective is to empower victims of corruption and help them to make use of their legal rights. Some chapters in Africa have now taken a further step to make these initiatives more effective, by organizing mobile ALACs to reach remote locations where access to justice is much limited.

These mobile ALACs, which are usually organized once a month, seek to bring to citizens in rural areas the same services available in the cities, complemented by training on legislation applicable to corruption cases. This approach has counted on the collaboration of mayors, village chiefs, local media vehicles and even so-called “town criers” to give it more visibility and inform the local population when the ALACs are scheduled to come.

The experience so far has shown that the public is very receptive to the initiative and appreciates a space to communicate their issues and find assistance to solve their cases. A number of meetings are organized with local participants, in which they are informed about corruption issues and relevant legislation, and where they are encouraged to denouce corrupt practices that they may witness. Mobile ALACs also collect complaints by citizens and makes legal counselling available to them, at the same time protecting their anonymity.

Read the full article “Mobile ALACs in Africa: Giving Citizens from Rural Areas a Voice” by Laura Granado, available on blog.transparency.org. The picture shown above is featured in the article.