Microjustice Rwanda (MJR) started in 2011 and aimed to bring MJ4All Services to Rwanda. During its first months, MJR focused on improving cross-border trade within the context of the East African Community (EAC), specifically regarding small scale traders at the Rwandan – Ugandan border around Gatuna/Katuna. As part of this project, MJR supported cross-border traders and those that depend on and benefit from trade (e.g. truck drivers) with regards to their legal issues. Most of the legal issues MJR dealt with concerned a lack of information from border officials about the latest legal developments, but also with addressing the lack of knowledge people had about their legal rights and obligations, and the distrust traders and entrepreneurs have of government officials.
In 2014, MJR started working with Spark on identifying the legal obstacles and challenges that businesses in Rwanda generally struggle with. It conducted an in-depth needs assessment to that effect and is now in the process of developing services and products to address the identified needs, especially for SMEs.
That same year, MJR started the implementation of a project in cooperation with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch embassy in Rwanda. Aiming to build a sustainable legal infrastructure in the country and to provide legal services to marginalized people (with a focus on women), MJR has opened several legal service points (outlets) in Kigali and Rwanda’s Norther Province. As part of this project MJR provides legal education (trainings and workshops), raises awareness, carries outreach activities, and offers personalized legal advice and case solution. Since the start of the project in December 2014, MJR has provided legal advice to more than a thousand people and taken up more than 50 cases to solve. In terms of legal areas, MJR currently focuses on:
- civil documentation (e.g. birth certificates and birth registration),
- family law (e.g. succession matters or recognition of children),
- land rights (e.g. land sale agreements or title deed transfers), and
- business related rights (e.g. sales and purchase agreements, employment contracts, etc.).
As part of its efforts to increase access to justice and basic rights for people in Rwanda, MJR systematically collects data and evidence to identify obstacles in accessing justice and assess people’s experiences with the Rwandan justice sector. This data is then used for evidence-based lobbying to improve the systems and processes for accessing justice for a large amount of people from Rwandan society.
Visit the website: www.microjusticerwanda.org