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Centre for Human Rights, Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA)

Blantyre, Malawi
Joined November 2017

CHREAA works throughout Malawi and Its mission is to promote and protect human rights by assisting vulnerable groups. CHREAA’s core activities includes paralegal services, litigation and law reform.

Presence in: Malawi
Focus: Criminal Justice, Family, Gender-based violence, Health, Right to Information, Traditional / Customary Justice, Women's Rights

The Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) is a non-governmental organisation which was established in the year 2000, registered in 2006 under the Trustee Incorporation Act. CHREAA envisions a Malawian society that upholds human rights, justice and the rule of law. Its mission is to promote and protect human rights by assisting the vulnerable and marginalized people in Malawi to access justice through civic education, advocacy, legal advice and assistance. At the core of CHREAA’s mandate is the provision of paralegal services, community awareness and empowerment, litigation and advocacy for law reforms.

CHREAA is headed by a Board of Trustees which consists of 6 members of which 60% are women and meets quarterly in each year.  CHREAA’s Board of Trustees provides guidance and oversight to the secretariat in terms of project management, organization’s focus and management of organization’s funds. The Board is followed with the Secretariat, which is headed by the Executive Director with four other executive members of secretariat and a pool of efficient paralegals. Membership of the secretariat is also 40% women. CHREAA has a total of 16 permanent employees. CHREAA has however a pool of community based educators  that it works with when implementing projects in the community. These are volunteers that have been trained in various topics on human rights and access to justice in general.

Currently CHREAA is implementing several projects; Bail project, Decriminalisation of vagrancy laws, Access to Justice for Communities, Provision of Paralegal aid Services at One Stop Centre, Elimination of torture in detention centers, Eliminating torture in connection to the use of the death penalty in Malawi’s criminal justice system. CHREAA has also an observer status at the African Commission, CHREAA is also a member of Pabwalo Initiative under Ministry of Unity and Civic Education to act as a link between government and civil society organisations.

People Associated With This Organization

Apatsa Mangwana

Malawi  
Centre for Human Rights, Education,...
Joined November 2022
Interests: Children's Rights, Community Organizing, Community Paralegals, Criminal Justice, Gender-based violence, Generalist Legal Services, LGBTQI+ Rights, Policy Advocacy, Protection & Safety, Women's Rights
I am a 26-year-old human rights activist, social scientist, researcher and currently working as a projects and paralegal coordinator with the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA). In 2021, I was awarded a scholarship to pursue a Masters in Women's Socio-Legal Studies from the Southern and Eastern Regional Centre for Womens Law which I completed in 2022. I also hold a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degree from the University of Botswana. As a project's coordinator, I am coordinating the project which is advocating for the abolition of the death penalty and use of torture in the Malawi's criminal justice system. I am also coordinating the 'Closing the Justice Gap: Critiquing Legal Empowerment Approaches to Address Police Abuse in Malawi. The project seeks to empower the LGBTIQ+ community, sex workers, informal traders and children living and connected to the streets. Prior to working as a projects and paralegal coordinator, I worked as a paralegal officer and was placed under One Stop Centre where I provided paralegal services to victims of sexual abuse and managed to assist over 500 young girls to access justice. I was also part of the team that; advocated for the inclusion of menstrual hygiene packages for female inmates in Malawi prisons in 2019/2020. I have also co-authored in a research paper on, 'Malawi prisons A multi-stakeholder situation assessment of COVID-19 disease preparedness and mitigation measures in a large prison complex in Malawi' which was published in the International Journal of Prisoner Health. By joining the network, I would like to take on the Legal Empowerment 101 course to see what other people are doing in their countries with hopes of doing the same to address challenges in Malawi.

Kondwani Banda

Malawi  
Centre for Human Rights, Education,...
Joined May 2018
Interests: Generalist Legal Services
Kondwani Banda is a projector coordinator and a paralegal officer for Sex Workers project at Center for Human Rights, Advice and Assistance and he has been working with CHREAA for three years and he is experienced in the field of a Paralegal. His day to day work involves in promoting Access to Justice like going to prisons, police cells and courts through paralegal aid clinics, advising and also he does lots of advocacy, awareness and he also conduct lots of community sensitization, he is also involved in legal empowerment at the same time he does legal literacy. He is a human rights defender and very in love with his line of work. He is a holder of Associate Degree in Legal Studies and a Graduate Diploma in the same and currently in the final year or fourth year student doing Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at Malawi Institute of Management (MIM). Currently he lives in Blantyre, Malawi and he can be contacted on godskho22@gmail.com.

Ruth Kaima

Malawi  
Centre for Human Rights, Education,...
Joined April 2021
Interests: Community / Customary Land Rights, Criminal Justice, Gender-based violence, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Policy Advocacy, Traditional / Customary Justice, Women's Rights
I am a Human Rights Lawyer working for Center for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA). My work mainly involves embarking in strategic interests litigation, private prosecution in sexual violence cases and defending victims of malicious prosecution. I also oversee all legal related matters for the organisation, both administratively and project side. Before attaining my Law degree, I worked as a paralegal officer as well as a project officer for CHREAA for 9 years (2006 -2015). As a Paralegal, I was involved in empowering prisoners and detainees in detention centers on basic legal court process to enable them to ably defend themselves in court. I was also involved in Community Mobile clinics where we would teach the communities on different topics like human rights, domestic violence, land issues and general access to justice. I have worked in several community projects that involve empowering communities to demand access to justice and accountability from service providers. I have also been involved in several legal research projects. For example, i was involved in a research that unearthed the ills of vagrancy laws in Malawi. I have also been involved in several advocacy works lobbying for law reform and other policies. One of the greatest advocacy work i was involved in involved advocacy for the repealing of the rogue and vagabond offence under petty offences, was also part of the team that successfully advocated for an increase in prison budget to cater for sanitary materials for female prisoners, and the amendment of the HIV/AIDS bill which had discriminatory provisions. Currently, as head of legal at CHREAA I have engaged in several cases against police brutality. I am Currently pursuing prosecution of cases of perpetrators of torture, several civil cases for compensation of victims of human rights abuses. I have also been involved in several strategic litigation cases. My entire career has centered upon promotion and protection of human rights, mainly towards access to justice both at the informal as well as the formal level. Research is also a huge part of my work. Research focus area is mainly on how vulnerable populations rights are infringed/ abused and how this can be remedied. Joining this network will be a boost to my already vast experience in assisting the marginalised groups.

Siphiwe Malihera

Malawi  
Centre for Human Rights, Education,...
Joined November 2018
Interests: Community / Customary Land Rights, Criminal Justice, Gender-based violence, Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency
Siphiwe Malihera is the Head of Paralegal Programmes and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA), a local human rights organisation located in Malawi in the Southern of Africa. CHREAA works to promote and protect human rights by assisting the vulnerable and marginalised people in Malawi to access justice through civic education, advocacy, legal advice and assistance.

He holds a Bachelor of Social Science, advanced diploma in Project Management, certificates in Public Policy, Governance and Leadership, Civil and Criminal Law, Information Technology and Management.

As a seasoned paralegal and a human rights defender, Siphiwe has facilitated releases of over 6500 poor and vulnerable prisoners.

Through the network, Siphiwe looks forward to interact with many of the paralegals and human rights defenders available on the work on how best they are serving poor people in their countries mainly on issues of access to justice.

Victor Mhango

Malawi  
Centre for Human Rights, Education,...
Joined November 2017
Interests: Criminal Justice
Victor Chagunyuka Mhango is a Paralegal and a Child and Youth Worker by profession.He started Human Rights activism in 2000, he is a founder of the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CHREAA). He is a leading Prisoners’ Rights Activist and a strong advocate for human Rights for Sex Workers in Malawi. He has been working with the Malawi Criminal Justice system in Malawi through the provision of Paralegal Services at Court, Prison and Police. He is currently spearheading the campaign to decriminalize the vagrancy laws in Malawi

Victor Mhango

Malawi  
Centre for Human Rights, Education,...
Joined September 2021
Interests: Community / Customary Land Rights, Criminal Justice, Gender-based violence, Governance, Accountability & Transparency
Victor Mhango is the Executive Director for CHREAA, and a human rights activists specializing in Criminal Justice System and law reform. Victor started his work as a Paralegal Officer under the Paralegal Advisory Service in 2000 as one of the founding members. He successfully founded one of the vibrant Non-Governmental Organizations in Malawi Center for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA). Victor has vast knowledge in prisoner’s rights, children and women’s rights including minority groups like sex workers. He also vast experience and research and advocacy. Victor is a team player who believes in mentoring his employees to be the best in Human Rights work. Victor is visionary, result oriented and dedicated to fighting human rights abuses for the vulnerable. Victor has contributed to the legal jurisprudence for Malawi related to decriminalization of vagrancy laws in Malawi. He has vast knowledge in prisoners' rights, children and women's rights including the rights of minority groups like sex workers. He also has vast experience in research and advocacy work. Under his leadership, CHREAA has/is implementing several projects that are focused on citizen empowerment, to enable them know, report and demand their rights. Joining the network will widen my platform to learn as well as share experiences with other human rights defenders

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