Making policies work


ECDPM event



The story of Barefoot Law: An impressive example of African entrepreneurship

21 June 2017 12:30 pm
21 June 2017 2:00 pm

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To register for the debate, please fill in this google form.

Lunchtime discussion with Gerard Abila and Peninah Susan Naikula Igaga from BarefootLaw, Uganda, winners of the 2016-2017 King Baudouin African Development Prize

21 June 2017, 12:30-14:00 (welcome from 12:00 for lunch)
ECDPM office, 5 rue Archimède (6th floor), 1000 Brussels (near Schuman metro station)

Pasculina, a widow, allegedly had her two arms hacked off by her brother-in-law who wanted to grab her land. As he is a powerful man, no one was willing to come forward to testify in court. BarefootLaw contacted Pasculina, convinced the witnesses to come forward, pressed the magistrate for a hearing, and put the trial on Facebook Live. That generated huge public interest and the resulting transparency has forced the authorities to conduct the trial properly. Barefoot Law “crowd-sourced” funds to pay for Pasculina and the witnesses to come to Kampala in order to attend the hearing.

This is just one of the many examples of the incredible work done by BarefootLaw ( in Uganda: a truly remarkable organisation that provides free legal advice to the population using the most modern information technologies and social media techniques. Few volunteer lawyers and a small budget with already impressive results:

  • 250,000 – 300,000 persons on average each month reached with legal information;
  • approximately 30,000 legal queries last year;
  • 63,000 small business owners reached through Facebook in 6 months, with 6283 “likes”;
  • 2000 active businesses signed up to the mSME Garage Initiative, on the on-line small business portal.

Gerald Abila, the founder of BarefootLaw (Uganda), will receive the King Baudouin African Development Prize, together with two other winners, Farmerline (Ghana) and Kytabu (Kenya). This year’s three winners showcase the creativity of young, African entrepreneurs for innovative solutions that unlock the power of people and communities through better access to knowledge in fields as diverse as law (BarefootLaw), agriculture (Farmerline) and education (Kytabu), and by linking public and private sectors.

Gerald Abila and Peninah Susan Naikula Igaga will share their story and discuss the role of young people in shaping Africa’s future and the empowering effect of new technologies. Looking ahead to the EU-Africa Summit in November this is a unique opportunity to start the discussion with those organisations on the ground that are already making a difference.

Join the debate

We hope you can join us in an open dialogue at ECDPM’s offices on the 21st of June. Please fill in the google form should you wish to attend. Please contact Carlotta Maria Paschetto ( for further information.

Photo courtesy of BarefootLaw via Instagram.


Rue Archimède 5,