Legal and Civic Advocacy Specialist
Chemonics International, Inc / USAID FAIR Justice Project in Ukraine
I joined the USAID FAIR Justice Project in Ukraine in August 2014 after I graduated from PROLAW. As a member of the great USAID FAIR Justice Project team I contribute to supporting legislative, regulatory and institutional reform of judicial institutions, in order to build a foundation for a more accountable and independent judiciary in Ukraine. In particular, my duties include supporting the judicial self-governance bodies in developing framework for judicial accountability and integrity; liaising with Ukrainian partners in developing and implementing communications policies and regulations related to the judiciary; support of the implementation of the Code of Judicial Ethics in Ukraine; drafting legal opinions on the judicial reform concepts developed by the government.
PROLAW gave me a better understanding of development work in general and its purpose. Having learned about the different legal systems and how the rule of law has been developed there, I can bring more effectiveness and success to projects I work on by tailoring the objectives and activities to the specific needs of the particular country. Needless to say, the acquired project management and design skills will help me with projects that contribute to the ultimate goal of development.
International Development of Law Organization
I have been working for the International Development of Law Organization (IDLO) – Office of General Counsel since June 2013.
My duties here include preparing legal opinions relating to the functions, structure and activities of IDLO, interpreting and applying governance document rules, and providing procedural guidance on meetings and elections for internal governing bodies.
On a routine basis, I draft, review, negotiate, implement, and apply contracts, Memoranda of Understanding, and other agreements in cooperation with internal business units. Finally, on a day-to-day basis, I dispense a range of legal, policy and ethical advice on a range of issues to various IDLO Departments and Units at all levels, including to the Office of the Director-General. PROLAW gave me insights into the development industry that allows me to apply my legal skills in an effective and in a meaningful way.
Natural Justice, South Africa
I am a South African attorney currently working for an international organization called Natural Justice based in Cape Town. I've been with Natural Justice since May 2012 after completing the PROLAW program. My work involves working with indigenous and local communities around their relationship with natural resources. Natural Justice uses the international environmental law context to protect and advocate for the rights of these communities. I am responsible for implementing Natural Justice's work in the Southern Africa region which includes Namibia; South Africa and Botswana.
I was also recently appointed to the position of Expert Member to the African Commission's Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities (ACHPR). This Working Group is a Special Mechanism of the ACHPR and works around the indigenous peoples question in Africa. This mechanism have done mission visits to several African countries: released seminal work around resolving the indigenous peoples question in Africa; and they also conduct seminars and workshops with key bodies within the region. You can find more information on the ACHPR's Working Group here:
My recent appointment to the ACHPR'S Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities will require of me to understand how to analyze the complexities of discrimination the indigenous peoples within their respective countries goes through. This work will further involve identifying opportunities and challenges within a particular country that would assist indigenous people to overcome structural marginalization.
PROLAW through its different classes gave me confidence to access any part of Africa notwithstanding its legal system. PROLAW showed me how to understand the context and to approach a solution. With my training and the wealth of resources I received in the Program, I know how to navigate through any situation that I have to face through my work.
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Kampala
I currently work at the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Kampala at the rank of State Attorney in the Directorate of Legal Advisory Services. I have worked at the Ministry since 2004 to date. My day to day duties include legal advice on and clearance of all government contracts, financing and grant agreements, treaties, Memoranda of Understanding, Conventions and any other agreements by whatever name called etc, Offering legal advice and guidance to all government Ministries, Agencies and Departments and the general public, negotiation of loans and grants with International Development Banks and Agencies, participation in policy formulation and preparing Cabinet Memoranda, participation in meetings at the regional and international level in order to strengthen regional cooperation mechanisms, promoting development, peace and the rule of law. The meetings include those at the ACHPR, AU, EAC, UN and at various International Development Organizations.
Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) International, Uganda
Since returning to Uganda from the PROLAW program I am working as the legal expert on human trafficking working with Century Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) International. The NGO has received a grant from the US Government to combat human trafficking in Uganda. PROLAW taught me most of the specific skills required for this position.
I am also a Lecturer at the faculty of law, Kampala International University, a position that I would not have attained if I had not attended PROLAW since one of the main requirements for the position is having attained a Masters degree in law.
Lastly, am in the process of establishing my own NGO to continue doing rule of law work in Uganda. The PROLAW program has given me the vision and skills to pursue this goal.
Charles Kear Harris
Access to Justice and Security Section
United Nations Mission in Liberia
Following graduation from Loyola, I got transferred to the Advisory Unit in the United Nations Mission in Liberia and jointly worked with consultants to identify policy options for the development of legal framework to harmonize the statutory and the customary (tribal courts) systems and other projects intended to increase accountability within the Judiciary. In 2013, I was assigned to the Access to Justice and Security Section, United Nations Mission in Liberia, where I work on legal reform projects including public outreach to increase public knowledge of remedies and legal rights for access to justice; coordinate with stakeholders to increase the institutional capacity building for the effective delivery of justice; I am also a member of the Judiciary, Judicial Institute and Public Defense.
Ministry of Justice of Georgia
I have been working as a legal adviser of the Department of Legal Drafting of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia since 2010. My duties include drafting laws and amendments in the legislation, drafting decrees of the Minister of Justice, doing legal expertise of the draft laws and decrees, reporting on the gaps of the regulations, carrying out comparative legal studies and preparing recommendations on the necessary amendments in the legislation.
After graduating from PROLAW program I was promoted to a position of a Senior Legal Adviser. Currently in the framework of the reform of the judiciary in Georgia I am involved in preparing a legislative package of amendments to numerous laws, including Organic Law on Courts of General Jurisdiction of Georgia and Law on Disciplinary Liability and Disciplinary Proceedings against the Judges of the General Jurisdiction. In addition, the Ministry of Justice recently proposed a fundamental reform of the commercial regulations in Georgia. In the framework of the said reform I have been working on the recommendations on the possible changes in the Civil Code, Civil Procedure Code, company law, bankruptcy regulations, etc.
The knowledge and skills gained from the PROLAW program helped me a lot in carrying out my duties. PROLAW showed me how to use international experience but at the same time be context specific. Besides, the skills that the program gave me help me in dealing with various stakeholders, including the development agencies in law-making process.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
After completing my internship at FAO as part of PROLAW's Development Internship Program, I joined the FAO Law Development Service branch as a legal consultant.
My work here focuses on participating in the development of the corporate monitoring framework for Strategic Objective #2 of FAO's strategic framework, which focuses on increasing and improving agricultural production (crops, livestock, forestry, and fisheries) in an equitable and sustainable manner. This includes: facilitating the refinement of objectives and outputs, and working with staff in the technical departments and statistics unit to identify data sources, baselines and targets.
On a routine basis, I undertake research and compile and revise, in the required format, new national aquaculture legislative overviews (NALOs). I also conduct legal research and support draft legal documents (institutional matters, international environmental law, and international law of the sea). The PROLAW program most definitely prepared me for this position. It taught me the required skills needed for the job, and offered me the right opportunities to become part of FAO.
Policy Advisor on the Rule of Law
Embassy of the Netherlands in Kosovo
After I graduated from PROLAW, I joined the Embassy of the Netherlands in Kosovo. As a member of the Embassy and the regional rule of law network, I work on the Balkans – Regional Rule of Law Project, which is supporting an efficient, accessible, and expert judiciary, media freedom, minorities and anti-discrimination, corruption, state capture, and the independence of institutions in Kosovo and in other Balkan countries. The main purpose of the project is to promote the rule of law in the Western Balkans within the context of Chapters 23 and 24 of the aquis.
My main responsibilities are to act as a focal point for the judicial sector and as a part of a the regional rule of law network, to monitor developments related to the reform of the Judicial System in Kosovo relevant to the rule of law, in particular from an EU-integration perspective. I also work to identify and evaluate initiatives in the area of reforms of the judiciary, and manage the implementation of projects to make in depth analysis of reforms of the judiciary in Kosovo.
PROLAW gave me in-depth knowledge about the rule of law and how to work in this field. More importantly, PROLAW practice oriented knowledge on how to promote and create a sustainable rule of law system in different legal systems and in different circumstances was a crucial part of building my expertise in this field. It goes without saying that I apply my PROLAW knowledge almost every day.
The program gave me the vision and skills to work on the rule of law issues and development work, and inspired me and my PROLAW colleague Dafina Bardhi to establish a Rule of Law Advising Firm here in Kosovo. This firm is in the very beginning stages, but the goal is to pursue sustainable development in our own country.
Policy and Advocacy Adviser for Aid Effectiveness
Oxfam, Washington, DC.
My thesis research was on legal reforms to enhance transparency and accountability in developing countries. After graduating from PROLAW, I joined Oxfam America in Washington, DC as a policy and advocacy advisor on aid effectiveness. Oxfam's aid policy advocacy centers on reforming United States development policy and practice so that US foreign aid is a more useful tool in the hands of citizens and activists on the front lines of the struggle to end poverty, build institutions and establish the rule of law in countries receiving aid. My work focuses on extending the transparency of US foreign assistance, through legislation and compliance with international commitments like the Open Government Partnership and the International Aid Transparency Initiative, and collaborating with Oxfam's civil society and local government partners in the field to ensure that increased transparency of aid helps lead to more accountability for development outcomes.
Here's a blog post I wrote about this in conjunction with the release of a report about how donors are doing on aid transparency: