imprisoned clients without access to justice, served with free legal advice.
clients in conflict with the law will be served (our 10-year target).
paralegals trained to run legal practices at 46 prisons in Uganda, Kenya and The Gambia - all time.
total attendances by defenceless people at legal awareness sessions.
pass rate by our students in the University of London law degree programme.
prisoners and officers enrolled in the law degree programme, all time.
convictions overturned, with wrongly sentenced prisoners pardoned.
incarcerated people released & returned to their families as a result of our work.
In StoriesRead All Stories
Rahab Nyawira: From inmate to Justice Defenders legal aid officer.
Rahab was an armed robber who spent six years in Kenya's largest women’s prison, with all categories of offenders. She was described as one of the most difficult prisoners until a prison officer recognised her potential.
She then began to learn legal skills through our programme and became a paralegal providing basic legal awareness and handling the cases of others. She is now an active campaigner against crime, as a result of her positive impact in prison.
John Bosco Oryem: A bleeding heart for the underprivileged.
Arrested in 2009, Oryem was sentenced to nine years imprisonment and recently released in 2019. At Luzira Prison, Kampala, he took his secondary education exams and went on to become a Justice Defenders law student with the University of London.
He was one of two students representing Justice Defenders at the 28th African Human Rights Moot Competition – a groundbreaking opportunity to compete against law students from across Africa.
"My desire was to equip myself with the relevant legal knowledge and skills to enable me to contribute towards justice and order in Uganda and the world at large. I was equally overwhelmed by the need to defend the underprivileged because my heart bleeds seeing such categories being imprisoned without legal representation.”
Susan Kigula: From death row to presidential palaces.
Susan’s story is one of grit, determination and compassion. After being given a mandatory death sentence, Susan spent a decade on death row in Uganda.
No one could have imagined that she would free not only herself but hundreds of others from death row.
Now a prominent campaigner against the death penalty, she draws on her legal education. Fighting to secure justice for all women on a global scale.
“Wherever I see people who are still incarcerated – innocent people are rotting in prison – that gives me the courage to go on and fight for them. I’ve spoken personally with the Secretary-General of the UN at the time Ban Ki-moon about human rights and how we’re providing legal education in prisons – he was very impressed.”
Jimmy Mtawa: Changing the narrative between prisoners and prison guards.
Who would imagine prison officers going to court to advocate for prisoners and win them their freedom? Jimmy is just that – an unlikely ally. With a degree in Criminology, he is one of our highest performing students, completing his Bachelor of Law degree in December 2019.
He wakes up at 4am on weekdays to study for two hours. And then for another three hours between 2pm–5pm amidst a busy work day.
“For me this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Now as a law student, I’m able to advise inmates who have no understanding of the law in regards to some of their cases. For every 10 students completing their high school education, you find that only two will proceed to the university. I hope to one day change the narrative.”
In Society as a whole
The ripple effect of
IN AFRICA, WITH AMBITION FOR SCALE
A model that’s people-centered, affordable, adaptable, collaborative, and sustainable.
Our communities are often found outside more comfortable parameters. Today, we work within 25+ prison communities across Africa. In the future? The model is scalable to sex workers in Thailand, street children in Brazil, migrant and refugee communities across Europe, or immigrant construction workers in the Middle East. We want to take legal knowledge and services to these margins of society. And serve 1,000,000 clients by 2030.
Creating bridges in justice systems and working for everyone. Without breaking fellowship with anyone.
Honourable Justice Dr. Winfred Nabisinde (Uganda)
“The way Justice Defenders has been operating in this area should be emulated across Uganda. It has been very successful in ensuring that people access justice and that the prisoners, and their rights, are respected.”
Gilbert Niwamanya, Rehabilitation Officer at Luzira Prison (Uganda)
"The training they provide helps the inmates understand the law and where they came into conflict with it. I haven’t seen any prisoners who have been supported by Justice Defenders return to prison.”
Michael Kagika, CEO Power of Mercy Committee (Kenya)
“Justice Defenders have a high level of rehabilitation and make straightforward candidates for potential presidential pardon. I would even like the paralegal training program for staff in my team."