In Liberia, land disputes, crime, domestic abuse, and a lack of basic services, among other issues, are pervasive. When citizens face legal challenges, the lack of legitimacy, affordability and accessibility of the formal justice system is a huge problem. Moreover, the judiciary and police were recently ranked as the most corrupt set of institutions in the country by the government itself – which not only undermines any sense that wrong-doing will be punished but has hollowed out trust in public processes more broadly. As one citizen pointed out to the team recently: “There is simply no justice for the poor."
The Lab has helped Thomas Tweh, a community leader in the West Point neighborhood (a one mile patch of land with over 75,000 residents), develop an innovative idea to build justice at the local level. He trains volunteer mediators to resolve disputes as part of Community Justice Teams (CJTs); and collaborates with the courts to refer cases back to the community (saving time and money, and reducing the burden on the formal system). You can read more about the design thinking approach used for the project in the Stanford Social Innovation Review here.
Since the Accountability Lab’s initial US$3,000 investment, the first CJT has helped resolve almost 80 disputes, saving citizens over LD$ 500,000 (almost US$7,000) in fees, and over 350 days of time. It has been a huge success (watch the video here).
In keeping with a spirit of innovation around issues of accountability, the Lab is joining tinyGive at the forefront of innovation in giving. tinyGive is a micro-philanthropy platform that empowers donors to give to the causes and organizations they care about via Twitter. Their Tweet-to-donate tool makes it simple to both give and tell others about our work, all with one Tweet. It helps multiply the impact!
How does it work? It’s simple, just Tweet the Accountability Lab (@accountlab), include any dollar amount, and the hashtag #tinyGive(e.g., “I’m giving $8 to @accountlab to support community justice in #Liberia! Join me! bit.ly/CJTtG #tinyGive”). You’ll get a link sent back to you asking you to complete your donation. Just click it, connect your payment information, and you’re done!
If you are not on Twitter- no worries, you can still give! Check out the campaign page on tinyGive to learn more about the teams, and to kick in a few dollars to help the Lab reach its goal this week! Remember- @accountlab and #tinyGive with a $ amount!