Transformative Justice Department seeks to ensure that the national laws and policies in place adequately respond to women’s needs in conformity with standards set out in the various international and regional human rights frameworks. The main focus of this program is to create awareness on women’s rights to women and children primarily and communities at large. The initiative arose out of the realization that communities and particularly women do not have adequate knowledge about their rights and legal entitlements. Women in particular are the population least aware of their legal rights due to the low literacy levels which are as a result of historical as well as socio-cultural factors that limit their access to education. The programme thus disseminates legal rights information to women through conducting public education workshops, various media, brochures and pamphlets. The programme also trains peer educators in communities. This is aimed at ensuring sustainability of the educational initiative as these community resource persons remain a legacy in those community providing the service even after ZWLA’s exit.
Realising that the justice delivery system itself may not be gender sensitive to the needs of women another programme was formulated for the training of personnel from the justice delivery system to be gender sensitive. The programme has so far trained clerks of court and magistrates and recently it has extended its ambit to cover chiefs who are mainly concentrated in the rural areas of the country. The aim of the project is to ensure that women and children access the justice delivery system that is receptive to their needs.
This is done through lobbying and advocacy. The lobbying and advocacy initiatives are undertaken to ensure that reform of institutions, laws and policies is realised. In order for reform to be undertaken research becomes a key component of the programme.
Test case litigation is also undertaken to ensure that progressive judgments that articulate women rights are pronounced by the courts. Through the Transformative Justice Deartment, we were instrumental in lobbying for the Domestic Violence Act, the enactment of the new inheritance laws as well as inclusion of women's voices and demands in the new constitution.