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Jurisprudence on the Ground (JOG)
From 2009-2010, the IAWJ worked in partnership with the Tanzania Women Judges Association (TAWJA) and the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa: Tanzania (SWAA-T) to implement the "Jurisprudence on the Ground" (JOG) project in Tanzania. The JOG project, which was funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), supported a partnership that brought together some of the most powerful people in Tanzania with representatives of some of the least.
As a result of these discussions, the IAWJ submitted a grant application to UNDEF to bring together representatives of IAWJ, TAWJA and SWAA-T for an introductory consultation and needs assessment, trainings for first-line magistrates in different parts of Tanzania, and trainings by the TAWJA judges of SWAA-T key workers, and the development of clear-language public education materials on the issues that the three groups identified together. Brochures were
Judicial training programs: The Jurisprudence of Equality Programs (JEP)
the approach most accessible for women according to the experience of the SWAA-T leaders. Working together the Tanzania judges and SWAA-T leadership developed brochures (in English and Swahili) to treat such issues as: what court you should go to, what to expect when you are a witness in court, and to whom can you complain if a court officer asks for a bribe, as well as basic information about property rights and rights against domestic violence.
As a result of the project, TAWJA held trainings for magistrates and SWAA-T's key workers. SWAA-T's key workers have taken their message and brochures to rural areas, where they have used drama, music and community meetings to inform more than three thousand women on their rights and how to protect them. Through various forms of public education sessions, marginalized women have gained awareness of their rights and court procedures. A major focus of the JOG Program has been on creating opportunities for dialogue between marginalized women and members of the judiciary to enhance the former's understanding of the court processes and accessibility. This UNDEF supported project has afforded opportunities for each group to learn from the other through discussions about women's problems in accessing courts and mechanisms to address the same.
As confirmed by the independent final evaluation report, the JOG program has had a significant impact on women's rights in Tanzania. Judges and magistrates who participated in the training seminars are issuing cases that reflect their human rights training on issues ranging from economic discrimination, property rights, custody and inheritance to sexual assault and other forms of violence against women. Marginalized women in six districts of Tanzania have learned about their rights, how to access the courts and how to complain about corruption in the courts. SWAA-T community workers have learned about women's rights and the legal system in Tanzania and have successfully relayed what they learned to marginalized communities in Tanzania through community meetings where they distributed brochures about how to file complaints against judges and magistrates, domestic violence, the court structure in Tanzania, property and inheritance rights, custody of children, division of matrimonial property, and marriage and divorce laws, among other things. Judges and magistrates have heard about women's experiences and problems they face in accessing the courts and have taken steps to provide a remedy.
JOG created a considerable opportunity to reach a wide public in need of information about women's rights and how to realize those rights. The project was successfully completed and all of the partners involved look forward to future work together.