Between August 2012 and July 2014, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) implemented its Building Judicial Capacity in Zambia through Support for Local Organizations program to enhance the ability of Zambian senior judges and civil society leaders to train other judicial actors on the protection human rights. The program incorporated diverse activities.
Assessing magistrates’ capacity and training needs
From April 25–27, 2013, ABA ROLI trained 10 members of the Law Association of Zambia’s National Legal Aid Clinic for Women (NLAWC) in participatory research methodologies. The workshop prepared participating attorneys and paralegals to assess the needs of magistrates as well as the community. NLACW—with ABA ROLI support—conducted the needs assessment from May 6 to June 11, 2013, and published a report, which recommended that provincial magistrates be trained on access to justice, equality before the law and women’s rights.
Conducting human rights trainings
ABA ROLI worked with local stakeholders to prepare a manual for use during human rights trainings for provincial magistrates and trainers. The manual includes a review of relevant Zambian legislation, international law and best practices from other jurisdictions. It also incorporates best adult-learning methodologies and a wide variety of interactive, practical activities.
From May 21–23, 2014, ABA ROLI conducted a training of trainers for senior members of the Zambian Women Judges Association and civil society leaders. The training emphasized participatory, adult learner-centered approaches of teaching human rights issues. Participants also received copies of the training manual.
Additionally, 11 magistrates from throughout Copperbelt Province gathered in Kitwe for a July 21–24 training, while another 10 magistrates from the Western Province took part in a July 28–30 training in Mongu. The July trainings covered access to justice, women’s rights and equality under the law. A senior judge from the women judges’ association and civil society leader—in collaboration with ABA ROLI trainers—led each of these trainings. Participants formed smaller groups to perform interactive group work, such as comparative analyses of case studies.
Developing a judicial training program
Through a series of 12 meetings in June 2013, ABA ROLI worked closely with members of the Supreme Court-chaired Steering Committee for the Zambia Justice Information System to execute a participatory three-phase planning process for the establishment of a Judiciary Centre of Excellence. ABA ROLI collaborated with three subcommittees focused on training, administration and facilities, respectively, to create an initial detailed blueprint for the center’s establishment. ABA ROLI also assisted the steering committee in developing a concept note for submission to donors interested in supporting the center’s most pressing needs and appropriate responses.