Legal problems in Africa and Ukraine, in the Balkans and Central Asia – we all are “sitting in the same boat”.
This year, 7 teams from Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Northern Macedonia, Kenya, Tanzania and Sierra Leone took part in KyivLEPP design-sprint of their ideas how to solve legal problems. During the week, participants of the KyivLEPP-2021 Idea Incubator developed projects aimed at improving access to justice in their countries. They immersed themselves into existing problems, identified target groups, focused, analyzed alternative problem-solving ideas, developed models of solutions and crash-tested them. 5 teams have successfully passed the crash test. They were developed by teams from Kyrgyzstan, Northern Macedonia, Sierra Leone and Ukraine.
Kyrgyzstan – a roadmap for the development of the institute of paralegals
After the design sprint, KyivLEPP participants proposed the following solution:
- Creation of a single database for accountability and promotion of paralegals work;
- Development of a curriculum for paralegals.
According to the team from Kyrgyzstan, there is only one lawyer per 20,000 people in their country. Therefore, lawyers simply do not physically cope with all of the requests. To improve the situation, the team plans to create a network of paralegals who would advise people on the most common issues: housing, land, family law, and protection against gender-based violence.
Northern Macedonia – support of the people with mental health problems
In this country, people with disabilities under the age of 26 receive special assistance. Upon reaching this age, they need to find a person who would continue to supervise them, and, moreover, to collect a bunch of documents in order to get state compensation for such assistance. As a result, at least (!!!) 50% of Macedonians do not receive outpatient care and remain outside the system.
The North Macedonia team came to the program with a desire to change this situation. However, they had no clear idea how to do it. Following the path of the design sprint, KyivLEPP-2021 participants realized that they needed to advocate for legislative changes: people with mental health problems should receive state compensation for getting help and care from another person even after 26 years.
The team is also going to make the problem visible to the public, to the Health Committee and the Minister of Social Policy. The team also plans to involve target groups and the media. Next step is to create a platform with NGOs to unite with everyone who wants to help.
Sierra Leone – policies to protect domestic workers
In this country, wealthy families involve domestic workers in order to help them with housework. This is usually done without a formal employment contract, which would include a minimum wage, social security, medical and transport allowances, and so on. Therefore, workers may have intolerable working conditions, they may be subjected to physical violence, they may be fired at any time without paying. During KyivLEPP-2021 a team from Sierra Leone figured out how to counter this. They are going to develop a policy to protect domestic workers. It will include the legal problems of domestic workers and options for solving them. In the future, the document will be submitted to the relevant authorities for the development of laws on protection, enforcement and punishment mechanisms.
Ukraine – tourist assistance site
Imagine you booked a hotel in another city and even partially paid for it. You come there, and face the fact that room prices have risen significantly. The hotel offers either to pay extra or to cancel the booking with no money back. The other case when you have booked a tour but somehow your place was used by someone else? There are many more unpleasant situations to describe. The main question is how the tourist can find the truth in this situation? The team from Nova Kakhovka addressed KyivLEPP-2021 with this question.
Participants concluded that a website could improve access to justice for domestic and foreign tourists.
It will include:
- navigation map indicating all important points for the tourist, including the state legal aid offices and TIC (tourist information center);
- algorithm of actions for the most typical legal problems (with the possibility of updating such algorithm);
- rating of community tourism service providers,
- opportunity to write a review, complaint, proposal;
- opportunity to describe the legal problem in the field of tourism and get feedback on the actions taken, etc.
Ukraine – a chatbot for providing legal assistance to people with disabilities.
People from remote areas often spend a lot of time and efforts getting legal help. They need to come for a consultation, come to check the documents, and then come a few more times to deliver a document. It is especially difficult for people with disabilities to overcome all this path (about 659 thousands of such people live in rural areas). To facilitate their access to justice a team from Ukraine invented a specialized chatbot during KyivLEPP-2021. It is planned to identify the main legal problems faced by people with disabilities and write algorithms for solving them.
All five teams will receive not only financial support, but also the support of experienced mentors. The mentors will help them in developing a step-by-step plan to implement decision models.
According to Kateryna Yeroshenko, head of the Kyiv Legal Empowerment Practical Program, the first results are expected from the teams in the next six months.
The KyivLEPP program is implemented by the Ukrainian Access to Justice School of Practice with collaboration of colleagues from Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation, Coordination Center for Legal Aid, Legal Development Network, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the PRAVOKATOR.Kyiv Law Club, with the expert and financial support of the Human Rights and Justice Program by the International Renaissance Foundation, with the participation of Dot_Dot innovation, HiiL, Kyiv Legal Hackers, Pathfinders for peaceful just and inclusive societies and PILnet.