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Integration of primary and secondary legal aid: new level of cooperation between authorities and community in Bilozerka district
  • Written by Ella Petrenko, Bilozerka Regional Center of Youth Center for Regional Development
  • Published in  Events
Coordination meeting of project partners Photo by Kateryna Pavlovska, YCRD
Coordination meeting of project partners

The project on integration of primary and secondary free legal aid in rural communities of Bilozerka district started in Kherson region

This project is implemented by Bilozerka NGO "Youth Center for Regional Development" in partnership with Kherson local Center for free secondary legal aid (hereinafter - the local Center for FSLA) and village councils in Muzykivka, Shidne and Shyroka Balka and since February 2016.

Project executors and activists of pilot communities are convinced of its relevance. It will benefit specifically to the residents of the villages of Bilozerka district. The experience of the Youth Center for Regional Development shows that the demand for free legal aid among the rural population is not decreasing but o the contrary increasing. Bilozerka Law Community Center (hereinafter referred to LCC) is working on the basis of the organization since 2010, due tu which primary and secondary legal aid became more accessible to rural residents. During this period more than 3,000 villagers asserted their rights through free legal advice.

In response to the request of residents of the district the rural councils actively cooperate with the Center in these matters. The first tangible result of the partnership was the adoption of the Stanislav Village Council of the Program of providing legal aid for 2015, which states the involvement of private legal entities that will provide people with free legal aid on a contractual basis.

However, despite broad information campaign a small percentage of people are aware of the existence of these centers and accessibility of their services.

This situation can be solved by uniting efforts of governmental and non-governmental organizations. Therefore, one of the major goals of this project is to establish effective cooperation between actors providing primary and secondary legal aid (village councils, local center and NGO) in communities, which are part of village councils in Muzykivka, Shidne and Shyroka Balka, Bilozerka district.

In the framework of the project round tables on forwarding to customers, co-funding, joint activities are planned. Also there will be field visits with specialists of the local center for FSLA. On February 23 the coordination meeting of the project partners, during which schedule of visits and the action plan were agreed, was held.

One of the project stages is the establishment of working groups with participation of deputies of local councils and representatives of communities, who together with employees of LCC will work on developing necessary documents for the implementation of the system of free legal aid in 2016, projects, decisions, procedural documents, etc. Training seminars-overviews of current legislation in the area of providing free primary legal aid and other relevant themes will be held for the actors.

To get residents of communities to become more aware of their capabilities, the project team will conduct an information campaign, within which information leaflets with contact information and list of services of entities will be disseminated, videos about the activities of entities and success stories of recipients of legal aid for the dissemination of information on the Internet will be created.

In the framework of this project LCC will continue its work on legal aid meaning stationary reception in the village of Bilozerka and the lawyer’s weekly visits to the selected communities to provide explanations of legislation, assistance in drawing up documents, preparing documents for submission to the local center for FSLA.

The project "Integration of primary and secondary free legal aid in rural communities of Bilozerka district in Kherson region" is implemented by YCRD in cooperation with Kherson regional center for free secondary legal aid within Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine Project implemented by the Canadian Bureau of International Education with support from the Government of Canada and Human Rights and Justice Program Initiatives of International Renaissance Foundation.

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