The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) planned to observe its annual Legal Awareness week from 12th to 16th October 2020. This week has been observed for decades by LSK with the goal of educating the general public on a broad spectrum of legal issues. Further to the LSK mandate, the five-day event was aimed at extending legal literacy, and providing pro-bono legal services to the public in a bid to accelerate access to justice. In keeping in line with movement building with lawyers, IMLU partnered with the Law Society of Kenya to commemorate the annual Legal awareness week.
This partnership is hinged on collaborative and cooperative effort in legal aid service provision. The collaboration has been a good opportunity to promote IMLU’s mandate and to create awareness on the support for victims of state perpetrated torture, violence and discrimination. During the week, IMLU’S Redress team officered legal aid at the Nakuru High Court Law grounds. The services were offered in tents with various legal aid providers such as the Egerton University Legal Aid team, National Legal Aid Programme team and the Rift Valley Law Society.
Redress team received 60 clients from various areas such as Sacho, Baringo Central, Egerton, Lanet, Nakuru tow, Bahati and Kapseret. These clients indicated that they learnt about the provision of legal aid through; Kass Fm, information shared by monitors while others were informed by court officers. Activities undertaken by IMLU included offering pro-bono legal advice and guidance, documentation of cases, referral of cases that did not align with IMLU’s mandate while disseminating the IEC materials on torture, RIPOTI app and the Coroner’s Act.
However, this year saw a drop in the number of turnout from public members who sought legal aid. This drastic drop in turnout was mainly linked to the rise in the COVID19 cases. As the various legal aid teams wrapped up the week, it was noted that better public mobilization and dissemination will be required for the next annual Legal Awareness week. The teams further suggested that local radio channels as well as social media should be used to inform the public of any upcoming legal aid weeks.
More so, it was learnt that, for legal aid purposes, the strategic stationing of the legal aid providers should be considered as a priority. The substratum for legal aid provision is to have a legally-informed and empowered community that makes choices about their rights and obligations whilst demanding justice, accountability and effective remedies across the board