ABA/CEELI Releases Social Advocates Training Manual
Wednesday, August 18, 2004 3:40 PM

In 1996, the Moscow office of the American Bar Association Central and European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA CEELI) established the Gender Justice Program in recognition of the fact that promotion of the rule of law in Russia must also include improving the legal status of women. Since then, CEELI has recognized that the lack of legal solutions to the problem of domestic violence is an area of critical concern in Russia and has carried out a number of projects which attempt to improve this situation.

The "Social Advocates" program is one of the most successful of these projects. It aims to increase the basic knowledge of local partner nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), activists, law enforcement, the judiciary and other government officials about the problem of domestic violence as well as other issues that disproportionately affect women in Russia. The program itself consists of a series of trainings, the goal of which is to create a group of advocates who are equipped with the fundamental legal skills and knowledge necessary to provide competent legal aid and effective advocacy for Russian women when the services of professional paid attorneys are unavailable.

Over the years, the Social Advocates program has become well-known throughout Russia and in other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). After receiving requests for basic information about the history, design and content of the Social Advocates training, the Gender Justice Program decided to create a simple resource containing the essential elements of the program.

This manual (in Russian with the introduction translated into English) contains a basic introduction to the program, templates to each of the core subjects taught to the Social Advocates, written by the trainers, as well as sample materials referred to in the text. It is intended as a guide to those who wish to learn more about CEELI's Social Advocates program and to as a tool to adapt the program to their own needs.