This proposed project will build on the work of an existing PGIF planning grant. We will develop, pilot, and disseminate an approach to evaluating the impact of paralegal services provided to survivors of gender-based violence. This project entails collaboration across the university. Specifically, the Program on Global Health Justice and Governance in the Department of Population and Family Health, ICAP in Department of Epidemiology, the Law School, the Columbia University Global Center in Nairobi, the Kisumu-based Gender Based Violence Recovery Center (GBVRC) at Jaramogi Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), and, Strathmore University in Nairobi will collaborate. The current PGIF planning grant entails one public health and one law student working with two Kenyan student counterparts from Strathmore to undertake an innovative, field-based practicum focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender based violence at the GBVRC over the summer of 2019. These students will assist with data collection at the GBVRC, help to improve the monitoring and evaluation system, and work with GBVRC staff to identify areas for further support.
We seek to build on the programmatic learning and relationships established during the planning grant to co-design and co-implement a mixed methods evaluation of the legal services provided at the GBVRC. This evaluation will deepen intellectual exchange within our multi-disciplinary, multi-institution team, and result in a product that can improve services in the GBVRC and in GBV clinics in medical settings more globally. Evaluation of paralegal services for GBV is a nascent field. A search of the peer-reviewed literature revealed no studies, and a search of a global database on legal empowerment projects revealed only one relevant program evaluation. Our project will catalyze a diverse group of Columbia University faculty and staff to build this field.