The European Union's (EU) Governance in Justice Programme (GOJUST) has awarded P12.1 million (EUR 215,000) to six universities in the Philippines that will further champion women's rights to legal assistance.
West Visayas State University, Adamson University, University of San Carlos, University of the Visayas, Father Saturnino Urios University, and St. Louis University are the chosen universities that will utilize the grants for programs that will empower women and girls as much as improve their access to justice services.
“Gender equality is one of the European Union’s core values. Ensuring women and girls have equal access to justice is fundamental to building a fair, inclusive, prosperous, and peaceful society," said EU Ambassador Luc Véron during the virtual event on March 8, International Women's Day.
With the divided grant, the six universities will implement the Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP), a Supreme Court-approved course providing law students with knowledge for the application of the law, delivery of legal services, and promotion of social justice, targeted to marginalized communities.
As for their other special programs, West Visayas State University will set up an E-Hustisya legal help desk for women, children, and marginalized groups in need of legal support.
The University will utilize its Gender and Development Office and collaborate with the Women and Children Protection Unit of the West Visayas Medical Center Hospital.
In a similar program, the University of the Visayas will also set up a legal help desk in the female dormitory of the Cebu City jail to provide free legal aid services to women deprived of their liberty.
Meanwhile, Adamson University will create a corps of paralegal volunteers and focus on the legal empowerment of disadvantaged communities through workshops on the justice system, human rights, and women and children’s rights.
Finally, Father Saturnino Urios University will work with indigenous communities on rights awareness including women’s rights.
Véron hopes that the project will ultimately help more women and children in the future.
"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 said.