The European Union (EU) on Tuesday awarded six Philippine universities PHP12.1 million worth of grants that would put access to justice for women and girls at the center of their respective clinical legal education programs.
The grant, signed with representatives from Western Visayas State University, Adamson University, University of San Carlos, University of the Visayas, Father Saturnino Urios University, and St. Louis University, is under EU’s Governance in Justice (GOJUST) program, which aims to support the Philippine government’s efforts to improve access to justice for all.
“Ensuring women and girls have equal access to justice is fundamental to building a fair, inclusive, prosperous, and peaceful society. The European Union has been a committed partner to the Philippine’s Justice Sector reform since 2006. Our engagement stems from the importance we attach to democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” said EU Ambassador Luc Véron during the virtual signing ceremony.
“We look forward to the transformative work of these universities in the year ahead. Women and girls are key agents of development and change. Their interventions will change lives for the better,” he added.
Through these grants, the universities will implement the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP) of the Supreme Court as a pathway to promote access to justice for women and other vulnerable groups.
The CLEP is a credit-earning teaching course with the goal of providing law students with knowledge for the application of the law, delivery of legal services, and promotion of social justice, especially to marginalized communities.
The planned activities of the grantees intend to empower women as much as improve their access to justice services.
The EU Delegation in Manila said Western Visayas State University will set up a legal help desk for women and marginalized groups. It would leverage its Gender and Development (GAD) Office and collaborate with the Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU) of the Western Visayas Medical Center Hospital to develop the help desk.
The University of the Visayas will also set up a similar legal help desk in the female dormitory of the Cebu City jail while Adamson University will create a corps of paralegal volunteers, and focus on the legal empowerment and education of disadvantaged communities through workshops on the justice system, human rights, and women’s and children’s rights.
Father Saturnino Urios University, meanwhile, will work with indigenous communities on rights awareness, including women’s rights.
With a total grant of EUR19 million (approximately PHP1.1 billion) over a period of four years, the EU’s GOJUST Program has so far supported the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to improve access to justice for all Filipinos.
GOJUST is implemented through technical assistance by the British Council and logistical and grant management support from the United Nations Office for Project Services as well as the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.
Source: Philippines News Agency