On October 29 ILI gave a check for $1000 to Ms. Theresa Obot, Founding Director of the Multi-Door Courthouse (MDC) in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria to cover filing fees for the next two years. ILI's Executive Director, Kim Phan said, "ILI is giving this donation to the Multi Door Court because $3 may not be very much to us, but it means that a battered woman will be able to be heard and have access to justice." MDCs were started to help bring justice to all, but they have been particularly effective in helping women and children achieve equal access to justice. These mediation centers charge $3 to file a case and have lawyers on staff, making justice accessible to those without the financial means to file in traditional courts.
Traditional courts refer cases to MDCs for mediation if they involve women and children. If mediation does not resolve the issue, the case is referred back to the traditional court or to Family court, where the Child's Rights Law can be employed to protect both children and mothers.
Ms. Obot recently attended the Advanced Arbitration seminar at ILI with several of her colleagues from the MDC in Akwa Ibom State. She gave a presentation outlining her experiences and inspired many of those in attendance to initiate the process in their own countries. Participants from Malawi, Ghana and Tanzania invited Ms. Obot to come to their countries and speak about how to set up these courts.
The Chief Justice of Akwa Ibom State is also an ILI Alum.