Mr. Suzgo Chitete


Mr. Muwaya Allan, Barefoot Law

Ms. Scader Louis, Commissioner Malawi Human Rights Commission.

Ms. Habiba Rezwana, Gender Justice Unit Malawi

Ms. Sophie Racine- Advocate and Specialist in Rights, Justice and Peace

Ms. Ruth Kigozi, Lead Researcher


Ms. Flossie Simango, Area HUB 22.

Ms. Rebecca Namwera, Chikulamayembe Women Forum.

Ms. Angella Banda, Timtendere Foundation.

Mr. Lameck Kiyare, Youth Response for Social Change.


BarefootLaw (BFL)


Allan Muwaya, Lawyer,

BarefootLaw Uganda.


27th October 2023




















BarefootLaw, supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation undertook a participatory action research project aimed at recognizing approaches and innovations in the provision of legal services in Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi. The objectives of this project included searching for and discovering new methods being used by individuals, communities, organizations and other stakeholders in making access to justice a reality.

On 17th May 2023, BarefootLaw, in partnership with The Gender and Justice Unit, called for community justice innovators in Malawi to apply and be recognized for their impactful work. Forty (40) participants submitted their presentations, and through a thorough vetting process, four (4) of these were selected for a voting exercise open to all Malawians.

The four finalists were Hub 22, Chikulamayembe Women Forum, The Timtendere Foundation, and Youth Response for Social Change. Three of these winners will be supported with $1000 each.

On 27th October 2023, BarefootLaw held a workshop at Sunbird Hotel, Lilongwe to recognize the justice innovators. As part of the event, each finalist was given an opportunity to make a presentation to the audience about their innovation and work and they participated in a panel discussion on the state of access to justice in Malawi with Q&A from the audience. A presentation on the criteria and methodology of the selection and voting process was made culminating in the recognition and awarding ceremony of the best innovators with the top three finalists being awarded $1000 cheque each as support for their work.


Mr. Allan Muwaya, representing Barefootlaw highlighted the role of Barefootlaw in giving everyone an opportunity to get justice by providing them with legal information so that they can get legal solutions to their needs. He highlighted the work of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in supporting the project to identify actors in the access to justice field in Malawi who can bridge the gulf in the access to justice problem.

He noted that this effort has been made in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi with the goal of


The Keynote Speaker Ms, Scader Louis, Commissioner Malawi Human Rights Commission, spoke on the state of access to justice in Malawi. She highlighted the plight of minority communities and those on the fringes in Malawi who await justice that is often too long or slow in coming and often never arrives.

She made note of the damning statistic that 73% of Malawians have a justice need and 92% of these have never had it resolved. She questioned how these people were carrying on with their lives.

She warned of the danger of a society of people with unresolved issues and traumas and pointed out that it creates a society of individuals and people who are failing to resolve generational issues.

She thanked Barefootlaw for honouring innovators who are working tirelessly to improve the lives of people and make access to justice a reality. She noted that their work often goes unrecognized but reminded them that they are all heroes whether they are spoken about or not.



Hub 22 is a solace for GBV victims and abandoned children. They offer help to women facing domestic violence. Their goal is to see justice prevail for all victims of GBV, women children and men). In this they work with the Victim support unit of the Malawi police services and alongside other partners in the justice space. This allows them to foster trust with people. This work was inspired from the founder’s experience as a survivor of GBV. They prioritize confidentiality even as they guide these survivors through the referral pathway and help police identify survivors and the perpetrators. This helps the police to utilize their resources effectively in investigation and prosecutions and getting the participation of witnesses and survivors in the criminal proceedings.

They also use community groups to share and empower victim target groups to be self-reliant and this becomes a shield against GBV. Through these groups they also form savings groups and sensitize members about how to identify GBV in their communities and homes.


Chikulamayembe Women’s Forum, which began in 2007 as a community-based organization (CBO), is now a local NGO. They aim is to see a peaceful, fair society where women and girls can have all their human rights and live a respectful life. Their focus is on supporting women’s rights, combating discrimination, and violence against women and vulnerable groups. They work to increase awareness about women’s rights, hold those responsible for these rights accountable for their implementation, address the root causes of violence, and support economic empowerment for women through land rights and income-generating projects.

Notable achievements

  • They have created a safe space for survivors of GBV.
  • They spread awareness about the law through disseminating the law to the community.
  • They have established a good working system and network for collaboration with other stakeholders.
  • They spearhead and promote a collective voice and action for all women.
  • They’ve raised awareness for women’s reproductive health rights.
  • Through lobbying they have allowed for the exercise of women’s right to land ownership
  • Through their efforts, women are now recognized for the chieftaincy.
  • Recognized as a part of the referral and mediation pathway from other partners & NGOs.
  • Reduced case backlog and pressure from courts by handling cases and sharing the load.
  • All land cases have been channeled through their offices by the paramount chief.
  • 12 girls from forced marriages are now employed.


  • Resistance from chiefs because of taking over some of their responsibilities.
  • Conflicts and disputes over leadership positions between chief’s halts meetings and justice delivery.
  • Modification of bad cultural practices to facilitate continuity of these practices.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Majority of land owned by women is used for agriculture as opposed to better commercial ventures.
  • Lack of capacity building to cater for changes in the legal system.
  • Insufficient funding.


The Timtendere Foundation, spearheaded by Ms. Angella Banda, operates as an entertainment group harnessing the power of dance and storytelling to impart civic education within the community. Central to its ethos is the belief in fostering hope and development, encapsulated by the symbolism of a tree, signifying the need to address issues at their roots for effective problem-solving.

The organization’s primary focus lies in acknowledging and nurturing the individual talents of children, utilizing the art of storytelling and performance to engage and educate the community. The income generated from the Foundation’s activities serves as a vital support system, ensuring these children have access to fundamental needs such as nourishment and educational opportunities.

Notable Achievements

The group secured collaborations with various major artists across Malawi, which provided the children with the opportunity to perform on larger platforms, acting as a source of immense inspiration and allowing these children to feel acknowledged and recognized, nurturing their aspirations and ambitions.


Stigmatization from communities who are not ready to receive children from the streets.

Lack of funding.


The Youth Response for Social Change (YRSC) operates with a clear and ambitious objective: to put an end to the prevalent issue of child marriages in Malawi. The organization achieves this by galvanizing and empowering a movement of young individuals, focusing on the mindset change of community gatekeepers to transform cultural attitudes that perpetuate child marriage.

In the locale of Machinga, young girls are sometimes viewed as tradable commodities. Parents, face a dilemma of safeguarding their children and ensuring their survival, sometimes resort to marrying off their daughters to individuals who appear capable of providing for them or face starvation and various adversities including violence during times of scarcity, insecurity, and natural disasters such as cyclones.

Noteworthy Achievements:

YRSC has successfully established a hub comprising 200 youths, enabling them to disseminate their message and influence fellow youth within the community.

Notably, 123 marriages have been nullified, and as a result, 79 girls have been reintegrated into the education system.

Furthermore, the organization has rescued 45 youths from trafficking situations, specifically from neighbouring Mozambique.


However, the organization confronts several challenges in executing its mission. One major obstacle is the lack of enforcement of existing bylaws and laws by local leaders. These leaders, at times, neglect to implement such laws due to personal benefit or alignment with the prevailing mindset, impeding the organization’s efforts.


The MC Mr. Suzgo Chitet, invited the presenters for a panel discussion to answer questions about their presentations and emerging issues in the access to justice space in Malawi. The session commenced with a series of questions from the moderator to the presenters and then audience follow up questions were taken to the presenters.


On how engaging with traditional chiefs has helped in changing negativity towards Chikulamayembe’s work.

Ms. Rebecca explained that working with the chiefs has brought endorsement for their work. particularly the support of the paramount chief for their initiatives has brought a shift in the attitudes of other village chiefs, leading to buy-in from other chiefs, who highly respect and look up to the paramount chief.

On dealing with the stigmatization and rehabilitation of street children.

Ms. Angella explained that Timtendere understands the vulnerability of these children and the normalcy they associate with street life. She explained that they believe that part of human transformation includes spiritual change and that is why Timtendere entered a partnership with Young Life, focusing on spiritually transforming these children and reshaping their mindsets. This has created an environment where street children are paired with young individuals from diverse backgrounds to create mutual learning and exchange, enabling these children to absorb and assimilate positive behaviours and attitudes by interacting with peers from different life experiences.

On Youth Response for Social Change’s call for Courts to use innovation for justice.

Mr. Lameck noted that people are unaware of the existence of these laws, and this situation is made worse because the laws are not presented in a way that is comprehensible to a layperson. He urged courts to leverage the power of social media, such as utilizing social media platforms to help people “to know that there are laws available to tackle their justice needs to make legal information more accessible and understandable to the youth.

On how the panel is using innovation and social media to draw attention to their work.

Ms. Angella from Timtendere shared that as entertainers, when they perform, all the attention is usually on the stage. However, by working within local areas, they shift this focus from just the stage to involve the entire community. This not only highlights their performances but also brings attention to broader issues like education on rights and justice woven into these community-based events. They heavily utilize social media platforms to share their community work. By displaying these activities online, the organization effectively spreads their message to a larger audience, amplifying the importance of their civic education efforts.

Ms. Rebecca from Chikulamayembe explained that they share cases and updates through our social media channels. We also share information through our Facebook page so that people get information.

Ms. Flossie of HUB 22 explained that they have been slow in adopting social media but women in their initiatives are now acquiring smartphones to follow what they are doing. This has made it easier for them to share messages.

Mr. Lameck remarked that YRPS’s part in this has also been to create a WhatsApp group to share updates on when cases are due and which cases are handled. When someone needs support, we also offer facilitation such as transportation for courts.

How the panelists embraces inclusivity for the disability and gender diversity community.

Mr. Lameck of YRSC noted that they support people with disabilities with a pool of resources from the communities and counselling. This involves including them in their programming interventions in the community and at district level.

They are also open to working with those who identify with different gender orientations and sexuality. Although they have not, we have not had any cases of lesbians or gay children in forced marriages but when we encounter them, we shall also provide them the same support.

Ms. Angella Banda explained that Timtendere is inclusive and welcomes all children including those with disabilities. She highlighted their work with a hospital that focuses on working with children with disabilities. As well as integrating dance into the rehabilitation and therapeutic processes tailored for individuals with diverse abilities.

On the issue of sexual minorities, she noted that as Christians they believe in love and embracing everyone and helping them when they need help.

Ms. Flossie explained that HUB 22 is inclusive and now they have 3 members from the LGBTI community who they are working with.

Ms. Rebecca highlighted Chikulamayembe’s openness to working with people with disabilities and how they work hand in hand with them as a priority.

She noted that in their work with traditional communities, they witnessed negativity about issues of gender orientation and because of this, many members of these minority groups do not come out openly to highlight their plight.

On how Chikulamayembe is dealing with oppressive patriarchal systems.

Ms. Rebecca of Chikulamayembe elaborated that their work with paramount chiefs has allowed them to change cultures and mindsets. She noted the outcome of their lobbying efforts and advocacy work as elevation of females to chief status.

She added that they engage with parents, male leaders, and male champions to make sure we bring them on board to provide space for the girl child. Unfortunately, that environment is still there and there is resistance from the community, but they are still working to have equality for all people.

On How Timtendere safeguards and protects vulnerable children from media exposure in the entertainment space

Ms. Banda explained that many children are from a background of single-parent households who have not protected their rights. so, this role falls on them. As much as possible, they insist on consent for participation because of the media exposure. However, they also work with other parties to protect and safeguard and limit harmful media exposure to children.

On how Youth (YRPS) perseveres when dealing with human trafficking syndicates and disrupting their business.

Mr. Lameck of YRPS noted that the work with the chiefs, police, immigration and community leaders to create a network and block helps them to ensure that there is some protection. They help in identifying the traffickers. They also follow up on cases through courts and other referral pathways.

They work with police and other enforcement officers to make sure that the survivors are rescued from the trafficking channels and returned to Malawi. They act as a referral pathway and to make sure the case goes to court.


Mr. Lameck Kiyare of YRPS called on all Malawians to work together and government to decentralize legal knowledge and bring it down to everyone’s understanding.

Ms. Flossie of HUB 22 noted that cases in court are taking forever, and people are left without justice while those who violated them are walking free. She called on the judiciary to speed up the wheels of justice.

Ms. Rebecca of Chikulamayembe called on other actors in the access to justice to come together and make linkages to increase exposure and to increase the scope of their work.

Ms. Angella Banda of Timtendere appealed to the authorities to simplify the law to a level everyone understands to allow young people to appreciate and obey the law.


Ruth Kigozi, lead researcher for the MOTT research project explained the way in which the award winners were selected. She mentioned that the method used was crowdsourcing, and a crowdsourcing contest was conducted in May 2023.

The team defined the innovation challenge, designed communication and promotion strategies for the contest and published it.

The challenge was then advertised on all BarefootLaw media platforms and partner websites. At the end of the advert period, a total of 31 submissions were received from around Malawi.

She further explained that scoring was done by a team of 5 out of the 31 applications. She noted that the team looked out for innovative, affordable, effective, scalable and sustainable ideas for the evaluation process.

Out of 31, 15 with the highest score were selected and a verification process was embarked upon. out of this process, 4 were selected and broadcast for public voting via Twitter, Facebook and SMS.


The awards ceremony was presided over by Ms. Ruth Kigozi and the awards were handed over by Ms. Scader Louis, Ms. Habiba Rezwana, and Ms. Sophie Racine to the winners.

3 award winners were:

Area HUB 22.

Chikulamayembe Women Forum.

Youth Response for Social Change.

The winners were awarded USD.1000 to support their organizations.


Ms. Scader Louis encouraged the winners and all non-winners to continue working hard and also take this as encouragement and motivation to improve their work in Malawi.