We believe that lawyers make the difference. UP organizes volunteer lawyers to represent juveniles in bail proceedings, at trial and confirmation to defend their rights, ensure that legal procedures are followed, and start the juvenile on a path to a restored future
What we do
We support juveniles in conflict with the law in Zambia through legal representation, social support, and advocacy for a restorative justice system.
We bring hope
Incarcerated juveniles need more than a lawyer, they need hope for the future. UP seeks to provide juveniles with visitation, engagement, and meet their physical needs while they are in prison. In addition to social support during incarceration, UP recognizes the need for ongoing engagement with the juveniles upon release. Our desire is to develop partnerships with various organisations to offer rehabilitative counseling, mentorship, skills training, activities, and sponsorship.
Why we do our work
Systemic delay poses the greatest challenge to juveniles in the justice system. Zambian law recognizes juveniles as a vulnerable group, and rightly seeks to protect them with extra procedures and oversight when they come in conflict with the law. However, while these procedures are designed to protect juveniles, they can ultimately result in confusion and delays—sometimes measured in years, not weeks or months.
The vast majority of juveniles in conflict with the law in Zambia cannot afford a lawyer, and legal aid resources are very limited. Thus, juveniles are often forced to defend themselves alone in court, lacking even a basic understanding of their rights and legal procedure. This can result in overly severe charges, one-sided trials, and weak convictions. On top of this, conditions in Zambian prisons are extremely challenging—and for vulnerable juveniles, even more so. Undikumbukire Project Zambia is working to fill this gap.
Legal intervention is needed to protect juveniles’ rights in court. Advocacy is needed to promote law and policy reforms to change how this vulnerable group experiences justice.
How we do our work
We believe that lawyers make the difference. UP organizes volunteer lawyers to represent juveniles in bail proceedings, at trial and confirmation to defend their rights, ensure that legal procedures are followed, and start the juvenile on a path to a restored future.
Our casework provides us with insight into the systemic roadblocks that prevent juveniles from receiving justice. These insights allow us to identify ways in which the system can be changed, working within the resource limitations faced by the Zambian courts, prison system and other stakeholders. We use the insights and data obtained through our casework to advocate for practical legal and policy reforms.
Where we work
UP Zambia has interventions in Lusaka, Katombora Reformatory School, Kapiri Mposhi, Kitwe, Ndola, Kafue, Chongwe, Siavonga and Chirundu.