/ 10 March 2022

SIX universities in the country received P12.1 million-worth of grants from the European Union which will be used to bolster women and girl’s access to justice through the Clinical Legal Education Programs.

The schools that received funding for the project were the Western Visayas State University, Adamson University, University of San Carlos, University of the Visayas; Father Saturnino Urios University and St. Louis University.

The grant is under the EU’s Governance in Justice program which aims to support the Philippine government’s efforts to improve access to justice for all.

“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,” Luc Veron, EU ambassador, said.

“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 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 judicial services, the EU said.

WVSU will set up a legal help desk for women, children, and marginalized groups in need of legal support and assistance.

It will also leverage its Gender and Development Office and collaborate with the Women and Children Protection Unit of the West Visayas Medical Center Hospital to develop the help desk.

Similarly, UV will 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 liberty.

AdU, meanwhile, 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.

Further, FSUU will work with indigenous communities on rights awareness, including women’s rights.