Bangladesh: Commemorating USAID’s Justice for All Program

In August and September 2018, NCSC organized five closing ceremonies and events to celebrate achievements over the last six years under the Justice for All Program (JFA). The ceremonies and events were also an opportunity to mobilize counterparts to commit to continued reforms to advance access to justice in Bangladesh. Almost 300 stakeholders, partners, and beneficiaries, including all District Legal Aid Officers and 37 women judges - now holding leadership positions - participated in the events. Speaking at the main closing ceremony on September 15, Minister of Law, Anisul Huq noted: “[t]his is not only an achievement for the judges, lawyers, and court staff, but also a victory for the people of Bangladesh. A legal system that does not work for the people is one that does not work at all. For the justice system to meet citizen expectations, it must become more efficient.” 

The JFA Program successfully met and exceeded anticipated results. Program accomplishments can be summarized in 10 key numbers: 

  • 6 Years of implementation.
  • 11 Civil society partners mobilized to activate legal aid committees and educate citizens on legal aid services and dispute resolution in the formal justice system in pilot Districts. 
  • 15 Pilot Districts—Dhaka, Tangail, Munshiganj, Mymensingh, Rajshahi, Bogura, Pabna, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Kurigram, Khulna, Jashore, Bagherat, Maulvibazar, and Cox’s Bazar. 
  • 50 Law students placed as interns with the program and justice sector institutions. 
  • 135 Percent increase in the number of legal aid cases received monthly in pilot Districts. 
  • 174 New women judges who entered the judiciary between 2012 and 2017. 
  • 509 Legal aid stakeholder meetings organized in pilot Districts, including 215 coordination meetings with lawyers and 111 client consultations.
  • 1,234 Local-level legal aid committees activated in 120 Upazilas, 1,120 Unions, and 7 Chowkis covered by the program. 
  • 30,890 Judges, lawyers, court staff and government officials trained and oriented. 
  • 840,000 Citizens reached through 15,008 community events.

NCSC was present in Bangladesh as USAID’s implementing partner of the JFA, a six-year initiative to improve legal aid, strengthen judicial governance, and expand legal literacy in Bangladesh. The JFA was active in fifteen of Bangladesh’s 64 Districts, and closed on September 30, 2018. Click here for more information on the JFA Program.