Availing free legal services to women and youth in Uganda – Barefoot Law
Founded on the idea that Information and Communication Technologies can be leveraged to contribute to social change, Barefoot Law Uganda was initiated by a team of enthusiastic Ugandan lawyers passionate about making positive contributions to the lives of ordinary Ugandans.
Mr. Abila Gerald, who founded the Barefoot Law aims at providing free legal service to Ugandan people using information and communication technologies – especially social media to address the rampant ignorance of the common people about the law, their rights and need for legal redress.
In an earlier interview with Voice of America (VOA) News in May 2014, Abila, 30 said “I travel a lot, and a lot of people in areas I travel to were like me before I started studying the law… the level of legal ignorance. And access to legal services is too low,” he said.
Last week, a team of Barefoot Lawyers through a partnership with Women of Uganda Network(WOUGNET) spoke to participants of the ReachUp project – the project implemented by the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Uganda and WOUGNET builds capacity of young women and men (youth) on how they can use technology to improve their businesses and nurture business potential to reduce the rampant youth unemployment in Uganda.
The Lawyers, introduced youth to the ideas behind Barefoot Law project and explained the different online platforms and social media that they use to answer/respond to legal questions posed by thousands of people in the country. They also availed themselves freely to respond to any legal issues that the youth had.
The team of Barefoot Law answered many legal questions affecting the youth including land issues, domestic issues, contracts and employment issues and many others. Mr. Micheal Kwizera and his colleague Timothy spent more than three hours interacting with youth, answering questions and listening to their innovative ideas.
Because women and youth in Uganda faces serious socio – economic and political challenges including ignorance of their rights and the law including access to free legal services , WOUGNET and barefoot Law decided to make this possible to women in Uganda and their partnership began by making access to legal services easier for women and youth from Kampala and this is expected to be rolled out to other areas including Northern Uganda
Speaking in an earlier interview, Mr. Abila said –
“Ninety-seven percent of lawyers in Uganda are within the capital,” he said. “So 97 percent of lawyers serve a population of 2 million people, and the remaining three percent is left to serve a population of around 36 million. So how do you overcome such challenges using technology?”
Abila’s decided Barefoot Law, which he founded two years ago, would be the answer. The team uses web 2.0 and social media to address legal issues to majority of average and poor Ugandans
Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is a Non – Governmental Organisation initiated by several women’s organisations in Uganda to promote and support the use of Information and Communications Technology as tools to share information and address issues of sustainable national development collectively.