On January 2018, we launched the Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (ALAC), based on a model developed by Transparency International (TI), implemented in more than 30 countries throughout the world, and adapted to the specificities of the Congolese context.
The ALAC project has permitted CERC to mobilize pro bono lawyers in charge of handling corruption cases. Programs on local radio stations have also broadened the reach of ALAC to people living outside the Uvira city.
For the year 2018 more specifically, 193 people contacted our ALAC to obtain legal advice. These contacts were made via our CERC office, via dedicated WhatsApp number and by email. The high rate of reporting is attributable to the awareness-raising activities, as well as the broadcast of radio spots and communication materials, which have improved ALAC’s visibility.
Of the 193 CAJAC contacts in 2018, 83% seek legal assistance for cases unrelated to corruption. The fact that many contacts express grievances unrelated to corruption is a recurring problem that CERC faces. In 2018, these cases mainly concern land disputes (25% of all cases unrelated to corruption), and justice cases (19%). Contacts approaching ALAC to learn about its mission represent 2% of the total workforce. Finally, 15% of contacts come to denounce a case of corruption. Nearly half of these contacts are young people.
The vast majority (89%) of the corruption reports were sent to the OSCEP (Observatoire pour la Surveillance de la Corruption et l’Ethique Professionnelle) to the High Court with files in support. The ALAC team also compiled complaint files (7% of the denunciations) and wrote letters to the concerned government institutions (4% of cases).
Nevertheless, the halting of the ALAC project appears inevitable at the end of 2018, since no grant no grant could be secured by CERC during the year, despite its efforts to seek funding.