EWMI’s crosscutting approach to promoting justice, civic engagement, and economic development programs often leads to the identification and nurturing of specialized program areas. EWMI is currently focusing on the following global priority issues as part of our Special Initiatives.
Leveraging information and communication technologies across its civil society, justice and economic sector programs, EWMI prioritizes transparency as central to building stronger democratic societies. EWMI’s civic engagement programs have prioritized information and communication technologies as key drivers of open societies for years. Program activities promote a free and open Web and provide assistance to leading civil society groups to improve their impact, extend their reach, and enhance their security through technology. In 2012, EWMI created an “open data” shared network in Cambodia which unites disparate data collection efforts by individual groups advocating for social and environmental justice and allows them to share it. The platform addresses urgent areas of concern in a transparent and politically neutral way. In the area of court administration, EWMI has been an international development leader in the delivery of technology solutions to justice institutions and the citizens who count on them. Through the design and installation of specialized software in scores of courts, and the training of thousands of judiciary professionals, EWMI’s appropriate technologies have answered the call of court managers seeking greater efficiency and accountability in the administration of justice.
The human rights of many of the planet’s poorest people are indivisible from the natural resources upon which their lives depend. A forest not-destroyed supports the livelihoods of thousands of families, protects the water and food resources of whole countries, and helps preserve the global environment. Building upon the civil society work and grassroots initiatives it has supported in the past, EWMI’s environment program is designed to work with local citizens to find sustainable and community-based solutions to urban and natural environmental conservation issues. The program brings together our civil society, access to justice and private sector work in exciting and effective ways. We are strengthening communities and giving them the tools and support to interact with government and private companies to preserve their assets and create a sustainable outcome for all. EWMI takes a participatory approach to local environmental conservation and provides capacity building programs, technical assistance, and funding to support network-building and grassroots advocacy initiatives at the local, national, and regional levels. Since sustainable solutions must also ensure the business-government and business-community sides of the triangle, our economic development and corporate sustainability expertise is increasingly important.
For more than ten years, EWMI has brought a rights-based approach to global health issues. EWMI programs in nearly a dozen countries address areas that are too often overlooked by traditional health programs, focusing on the inequities that can stall the resolution of some of the most intractable health issues. These inequities include discrimination which can block the delivery of health services to those in greatest need, unlawful business practices which allow counterfeit and substandard drugs to flood markets with impunity, and the violation of regulations which allows injury and disease linked to environmental causes. For example, in South and Southeast Asia, EWMI leverages the role of the justice sector to help take down barriers impeding the vital progress in the fight against diseases such as polio, malaria, and TB. Drawing on its years of experience with the justice sector, EWMI is targeting these risks to global health equity through new programs and approaches around the world.
Working in post-conflict societies such as Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo, Serbia and Sri Lanka, conflict mitigation and peace-building strategies have always been integrated into EWMI’s access to justice and civil society projects. Recently, EWMI’s work with communities affected by conflict in Fiji and Liberia has brought conflict mitigation into focus. EWMI is promoting dialogue and tolerance in Fiji by bringing together community leaders, CSOs, religious leaders, and government officials to discuss key issues such as human rights, interethnic relations, and constitutional reform. In Liberia, EWMI implemented a two-year mediation and community outreach program in which EWMI and its key local partner, Prison Fellowship Liberia (PFL), educated community leaders and the public on the benefits of mediation to mitigate conflicts, provided mediation services to community members, and used mediation to address the overuse of extended pre-trial detention in the country. EWMI continues to support PFL’s efforts in this area, and continues to support efforts to build sustainable peace in other post-conflict societies.