The IRC employs a legal empowerment approach: we use the law to help disadvantaged populations to take control of their lives, to break the cycle of poverty or the cycle of impunity. To that end, the IRC works on three interconnected program angles:
- Increasing legal awareness;
- Providing legal assistance; and
- Strengthening dispute resolution mechanisms and institutions
In many of the contexts in which the IRC works, people are unable to recognize and solve their legal problems as they are unaware that legal remedies exist. This lack of awareness also contributes to low levels of confidence in actors such as the police, lawyers and judges and fosters an environment where corrupt practices, such as charging money for investigating crimes, can thrive. The IRC places a focus on locally-driven legal awareness initiatives such as on procedures for obtaining identity documents. We support efforts by civil society organizations, paralegals and national Bar Associations to empower people by increasing their legal knowledge through a wide variety of methods, from radio campaigns, community discussions, information dissemination to drama, and the
use of information communication technology.