Implemented between 2017 and 2021, the Guinea-Bissau Support Project to Build Institutional Capacity in the Justice Sector helped to improve the quality of training in the judicial sector, particularly for lawyers. It also contributed to an increase in the number of women members of the national bar association; there were three before the project and there are now 58.
The Bank provided a $1.7 million grant from its Transition Support Facility to the Government of Guinea-Bissau for the project. The program was implemented through a partnership of the Bank, the government, and the United Nations Development Agency (UNDP), the executing agency.
The project aimed to build institutional, organizational and human capacity in the Ministry of Justice, the two higher councils of the judiciary, and the Bar Association. It also implemented a strategy to train human rights and other civil society organizations to actively monitor the justice system’s performance.
The training also benefited judicial police officers, lawyers, court clerks, notaries, and registrars. As a result of the project, recruitment procedures in the judicial sector have become more transparent and inclusive.
Commenting on the project’s benefits, the then Attorney General of the Republic, Fernando Gomes (currently the Minister of Territorial Administration), said implementing continuous training within the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court has bolstered the effectiveness and credibility of adjudication by the magistrate courts, particularly during recent electoral disputes.
The project helped to create a “Justice and Human Rights” coordination group, which brings together justice sector stakeholders, including representatives of civil society organizations, and technical and financial partners.
The project has also promoted human rights awareness and access to justice in local communities. Overall, 17,760 people were sensitized in collaboration with civil society organizations.