EAJ's Approach

EAJ’s new strategic approach envisions program approaches tailored to respond to contexts along a stabilization continuum that begins with areas newly recovered from Al-Shabaab through to intermediate areas where increased stability is conducive to more comprehensive justice support work. The program’s goal has been modified to emphasize this stabilization intent (see emboldened addition to the original):

Lasting improvements in access to justice and effective mechanisms to address grievances for stability in Somalia

Changes to EAJ’s scope of work

The Program Description consolidates significant changes in the scope of the EAJ program’s justice support work. In the Description, EAJ’s initial focus on legal aid is extended to include support for justice actors across the broader justice chain. The Description also promotes increased community participation in co-creating justice services and advances efforts to maintain community involvement in continually improving those services. EAJ’s objectives describe of how the program intends to achieve the program goal. These objectives are:

  • Support and improve inclusive community engagement in justice solutions

  • Strengthen justice services

  • Improve navigation of justice pathways by aggrieved parties

Accordingly, our Theory of Change (TOC) has also been adapted by incorporating the new objectives to strengthen its logic chain.The Description sets out in detail EAJ’s approach to providing tailored context-specific support for each of its implementation areas across the stabilization continuum.

Organizational Structure

The Description introduces several organizational changes that will allow EAJ to better integrate relevant research, legal, and institutional strengthening capacities and direct them to the service of program objectives. EAJ’s previous objective structure aligned objectives by component units in a manner that impeded required multi-disciplinary support. Service Units will replace objective components in providing program and ancillary support. Service Units will operate collaboratively to ensure objectives and activities are appropriately supported. To further assist, Operational Centers will be established at EAJ’s Mogadishu and Baidoa offices to coordinate Service Unit responses based on real-time analysis of the operating environment. EAJ’s research capacity will be directed to providing a range of quality-research products to inform the understanding of EAJ and partners on the operating context and existing justice services to inform program decision-making. EAJ’s capacity to support legal cases will also be strengthened by the establishment of a multi-disciplinary Case Review and Response Team, which will evaluate, advise and make support decisions on legal cases collected by our partners and the newly established EAJ Field Team.

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  • Contextual Overview

    The level of dynamism and variability that defines the operational landscape in Somalia has remained consistent over the first two years of the EAJ project.

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  • Conceptual and Program Approach

    The EAJ team has redesigned its conceptual approach to respond to the evolving operational contexts in which it will implement. This involved critically examining the guiding programmatic theory of change (TOC), program approach, high-level objectives, and intermediate results (IRs). We worked to develop a unitary conceptual approach that clearly articulates our development hypothesis and...

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  • Theory of Change

    The EAJ TOC stipulates that near-term and long-term improvements in access to quality and equitable justice services require change within three domains, at the community level, within justice institutions, and for the aggrieved parties who represent the end-users of the justice system.

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  • Program Approach

    USAID and the EAJ team have determined that in order to deliver effective, contextualized, and relevant interventions aimed at improving justice access, we must be equipped to work across the stabilization continuum.

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  • Capacity Building

    EAJ research and experience indicate that justice institutions in Somalia are all to some degree confronted by a breakdown in community confidence and trust in their ability to resolve conflicts and deliver justice. For the statutory justice system in particular, this confidence leads many individuals to seek services from Al Shabaab courts. Other justice institutions, such as customary xeer processes...

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  • Procedural Justice Approach

    Capacity building of justice actors is expected to improve justice services and generate demand, and is key, but not by itself sufficient, to ensure the sustainability of gains in confidence and trust. To this end, EAJ will incorporate a procedural justice emphasis into programming approaches.

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  • The Justice Promoter Approach

    EAJ will support the roll-out of a Justice Promoter model among partner legal aid organizations (LAOs). This is a key component of sustainably anchoring both localization and individual empowerment towards procedural justice, especially in previously underserved communities and rural areas, and displaced communities that combine both of these characteristics.

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  • Model Court and Court User Committee

    The direct support to Somalia’s Judiciary is three-fold: support for a Judges’ Forum, the establishment of a model court, and the promotion of court user committees to foster greater levels of confidence and accountability.

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  • University Clinical Legal Education Programs

    Current legal practitioners in Somalia often lack adequate understanding of the legal framework and procedures, having frequently been educated in other countries’ shari’ah- based laws, if at all.

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  • Case Review and Response Capability

    EAJ will implement a Case Review and Response (CRR) Team that bridges mid-to-long-term structural interventions by identifying and addressing broader justice capacity gaps, while also helping to meet the immediate justice needs of individuals.

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  • Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation

    Somalia’s justice sector is embedded in the rapidly evolving wider political environment, and EAJ’s reoriented program approach includes early recovery areas, which are difficult to access and operate in. Both of these aspects warrant an ongoing emphasis on Collaboration, Learning, and Adaptation (CLA) to leverage established partnerships in responding to exogenous changes based on lessons...

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  • Judges’ Forum

    EAJ will support a forum consisting of regional and district judges in BRA. The forum will help judges to examine and address the current judicial limitations and challenges they face in their work and allow judges to exchange knowledge and experience on key barriers, lessons, pathways, and models for justice service delivery. It will enable judges to coordinate on common judicial issues and...

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