Six universities in the Philippines received a total of P12 million (EUR 215,000) in grants from the European Union (EU), which will go to improving women’s access to legal services in the country.
Western Visayas State University, Adamson University, University of San Carlos, University of the Visayas, Father Saturnino Urios University, and St. Louis University are the recipients of the said grants provided by EU’s Governance in Justice Programme (Gojust)—an institution that aims to boost access to justice for all Filipinos.
The grant was made official on Tuesday (March 8), which coincides with the celebration of International Women’s Day.
According to EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron, ensuring that women—young and old—have access to justice is vital in building an upright and successful national community.
“Gender equality is one of the EU’s core values. Ensuring women and girls have equal access to justice is fundamental to building a fair, inclusive, prosperous and peaceful society. The EU 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,” he shared during the inking ceremony.
“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,” Veron added.
The chosen academies will use the funding they received to implement the Supreme Court’s Clinical Legal Education Program (CLEP), a program that “aims to provide law students with practical knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the application of the law, delivery of legal services, and promotion of social justice and public interest, especially to the marginalized.”
Apart from this, Western Visayas State University will set up a legal help desk for women and marginalized groups. Through its Gender and Development (GAD) Office, it will collaborate with the Women and Children Protection Unit (WCPU) of the Western Visayas Medical Center Hospital to put up the help desk.
A similar legal help desk in the female dormitory of the Cebu City jail will be set up by the University of the Visayas.
Adamson University will develop a corps of paralegal volunteers that will focus on the legal empowerment and education of disadvantaged communities via workshops on the justice system, human rights, and women’s or children’s rights.
Meanwhile, Father Saturnino Urios University will conduct seminars or classes in indigenous communities to spread awareness about women’s rights.
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Image credit: Gillaume Perigois via Unsplash