Updated May 24, 2019

Legal Aid for All - Access to Legal Advice on Any Mobile Device

Jamie Arkin

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Using the power of simple mobile phones, Viamo and the Legal Aid Forum of Rwanda have created an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) powered hotline and live legal aid advisors to to deliver free legal advice to anyone in Rwanda.

The innovation is simple yet effective. Step 1: Callers dialing 321 listen to a welcome message and a menu of options. Step 2: Once they select the option on legal aid information, they will hear the menu ask "if you would like to know legal information on GBV and Child Rights, press 1. For Succession and Family Rights, press 2. For Land and Expropriation, press 3. For Procedural Law, pre...
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The innovation is simple yet effective. Step 1: Callers dialing 321 listen to a welcome message and a menu of options. Step 2: Once they select the option on legal aid information, they will hear the menu ask "if you would like to know legal information on GBV and Child Rights, press 1. For Succession and Family Rights, press 2. For Land and Expropriation, press 3. For Procedural Law, press 4. For Abinzi & Courts, press 5" The listener then makes a selection to access the final message they want to learn about. Once completing listening to the message, the caller can choose to be contacted by a lawyer from the Legal Aid Forum. If they choose to do so, then the following steps take place: Step 1: A caller from the 321 service who wants to speak to a lawyer will be called back from the LAF helpline. Step 2: A call center operator (lawyer) completes an intake form (within the Viamo platform) and provides general advice. Step 3: The operator then contacts service providers to which case will be referred and determines if said service provider will be able to assist the caller. Step 4: Operator contacts caller and refers case or offers explanation as to why case cannot be referred and additional advice. Step 5: Callers are finally contacted using Viamo’s mobile to mobile survey system to evaluate the quality of services received.
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Legal Aid information was added to the 321 Service in Rwanda in September 2018 and received over 165,000 calls in Q4 2018. We would like to scale this solution to the 16 other countries the 321 Service runs across Africa and Asia.

Focus Areas:

Rule of Law and Human Rights, Gender, Land Tenure and 2 MoreSEE ALL

Rule of Law and Human Rights, Gender, Land Tenure, Inclusion and YouthSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Rwanda

RwandaSEE LESS

133,016
Lives Impacted to Date
1
Key Partner
1
Country Implemented In
116
Employees
Verified Funding
?

Problem

Mobile phone penetration in Rwanda is above 80% but internet penetration remains low at 39.76% which means that access to information on mobile phones through the internet is still out of reach for the majority of the population. Without access to information about individual, family, and land rights, many people are left without means of utilizing Rwanda's legal system to ensure their peace and dignity. Therefore, it was essential to make legal information and aid available to all.

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Solution

Viamo launched the 321 service in Rwanda in January 2018, allowing people to access information on their phone through IVR, SMS, and USSD in Kinyarwanda, free of charge. In a series of “listen, then choose” steps, callers use their simple mobile phone to select from among hundreds of messages including health, news, weather, etc. Content promoting access to legal aid information was added to the service with the option to connect to a live call center staffed by lawyers from the Legal Aid Forum.

Target Beneficiaries

We aim to serve individuals that are typically overlooked by ICT tools, including individuals who are in rural areas, only have access to a simple mobile phone, and have low levels of literacy. Through the combination of IVR, SMS, USSD, and Call Center, we work to ensure that whatever someone's digital capacity, they are able to access the legal advice necessary at their time of need, from the comfort and safety of their own home, free of charge.

Mission and Vision

The 321 Service and Call Center combination assists state and non-state legal service providers to raise citizen awareness of their rights and the laws that affect large portions of the population. The legal aid information on the 321 Service was designed to provide various types of information in order to provide the most vital information to the majority of Rwandans.

Competitive Advantage

This combination the 321 IVR information delivery and Call Center for legal aid is the only one of its kind, not only in Rwanda but across most countries where we operate. The capacity to scale is beyond any other IVR hotline due to our long standing MNO relationships. Globally, the 321 service reaches more than 1 million people each year across markets. The ability to bridge the gap between Mobile Network Operators and the Legal Aid Forum represents a perfect example of how Viamo works to connect mobile solutions with the organizations and beneficiaries that benefit the most from their use. With infrastructure and expertise in over 20 countries, we have the capacity to scale this innovation at a lower cost in less time than other tech solutions.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We hope to scale this innovation to new countries and offer similar services, adapted to each landscape.
New Implemented CountriesAfghanistan, Ghana, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Malawi, Nigeria, Niger, Nepal, Mozambique, Mali, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania
New FeatureContextualize the content for the rights of each country including changing the legal information, language, connecting to legal aid societies, referral services, and reporting tools for citizens to raise issue when their rights are violated

The Team Behind the Innovation

Founded in Ghana and Madagascar, Viamo now has offices in over 20 countries with local staff who are supported by our global Design and Insights as well as Technical teams seated in Ghana, Senegal, Canada, Rwanda, India, and Madagascar. This provides synergy between in-depth understanding of local context from the in-country team and the global and regional perspective from the remote teams. Our staff is comprised of 54% female, 46% male coming from 29 different countries.

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Mar 2019
Lives Impacted
133,016
Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Oct 2018
Funds RaisedVERIFIED
$16,500
Sep 2018
Key Partnership
Implementation
Sep 2018
New Country Implemented In
Rwanda
Sep 2018
Created

Supporting Materials

Viamo-3-2-1-Overview.pdf