The European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has given 3.5 million euros (about K3 billion) equipment to Paralegal Advisory Services Institute (Pasi) to enhance justice delivery.
The equipment includes 450 bicycles, eight motor cycles and two motor vehicles.
EU and UNDP officials said the equipment will enhance delivery of services under the Access to Justice Through Paralegal and Village Mediation Services Programme dubbed Chilungamo Project which was launched in Mzuzu recently.
Speaking during the symbolic presentation of the equipment in Lilongwe, UNDP deputy resident representative for operations Katarzyna Wawiernia said the equipment will bridge the gap in justice delivery nationwide.
EU delegation head of political section Fabrice Basile said the handover of the equipment symbolises their commitment to promoting access to justice to communities.
He said: “Access to formal justice by the rural populace, especially women, remains one of the key social challenges in Malawi, a development which derails development initiatives.
“The Chilungamo-Access to Justice through Village Mediation and Paralegal Services Project aims to provide a cost-effective, efficient and inclusive approach to increasing access to justice by the poor and vulnerable groups, through the provision of national paralegal aid and village mediation services.”
In an interview, Pasi national director Clifford Msiska said they had mobility challenges as they dealt with people in hard-to-reach areas.
“The motorcycles will enable our paralegals and community or village mediators to access places that are hard-to-reach. In so doing, we will be able to take our services to the people who need them most.
“They will also help us to monitor the implementation of access to justice through paralegal and village mediation at district and national levels,” he said.
Msiska said Pasi will reach out to people in police stations, courts and prisons to empower them with legal knowledge to understand criminal law and its procedures.