JusticeMakers Competition FAQ

General Information about JusticeMakers

What is JusticeMakers?

JusticeMakers is an online community that shares intellectual capital and best practices in the field of criminal justice.  It also provides an online support structure for criminal justice stakeholders around the world. The site hosts competitions, facilitates discussions, shares IBJ’s online defender eLearning training curricula, and connects passionate members of the criminal defense community with their counterparts from around the world.

A project of International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), JusticeMakers seeks to unleash the collective energies of criminal defenders from around the world and realize the vast potential of international human rights legislation.

What is the 2017 JusticeMakers Competition?

The JusticeMakers Program hosts an annual competition that identifies, trains, and funds change agents worldwide who are committed to advocating for positive reforms within their respective countries. The 2017 competition will focus on advancing access to justice and preventing torture in Francophonie Africa through the provision of legal representation and advancing legal reform. IBJ will award $5,000 to every selected JusticeMakers fellow whose criminal justice reform projects display innovation, efficacy, and sustainability.

Winners form lasting relationships with numerous partnering organizations around the world and are given the opportunity to participate in online trainings.  The trainings cover various topics such as substantive legal skills and techniques, building leadership capacity, effective presentation skills and community organizing strategies. Moreover, the Winners of the 2017 JusticeMakers Competition will be connected to and supported by IBJ’s global community, and receive increased publicity for the implementation of their projects.

Why is JusticeMakers important?

  1. JusticeMakers empowers and supports criminal defense experts around the world to provide immediate assistance to people facing criminal prosecution.
  2. As a publicity tool, JusticeMakers brings criminal defense to the forefront of the human rights conversation. This, in turn, will bring more resources – both in terms of funding and personnel – to the criminal justice movement.
  3. The competition creates an online, interactive community for criminal justice advocates. The site provides participants with ongoing support, feedback, and a venue for collaboration, and it will do so long after the first competition has concluded.

What is the purpose of justicemakers.ibj.org?

Justicemakers.ibj.org was created as a gathering place for the global criminal justice community. We will host competitions, facilitate discussions, and connect change agents to extraordinary individuals from around the world who share your passions for criminal defense. Ultimately, we hope the site can help change agents to realize their dreams of a more just and equitable future.

Preliminary Application Questions

How do I access the application to enter the competition?

The application is available to download here.  Applications are available online in English and French.

I submitted my project idea and I’d like to make changes.  What can I do?

Email us at justicemakers@ibj.org and we’ll be happy to assist you.

I have questions or concerns about applying and/or the Competition.  Whom should I contact?

Email us at justicemakers@ibj.org or call us at +41 (0) 22.731.2441 and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Understanding the JusticeMakers 2017 Competition

What are the dates of the competition?

  • December 1, 2016 — Official Launch of the Competition: The 2017 JusticeMakers Fellowship Application process officially opens on justicemakers.ibj.org.
  • Friday, March 31, 2017 — Application Deadline: IBJ must receive all Applications by 23:59 (11:59 PM) GMT + 1 on Friday, March 31, 2017 for them to be considered.
  • Friday, March 31, 2017 — Evaluation Period Commences: The 2017 JusticeMakers Fellowship Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of external criminal defense experts.
  • Thursday, June 26, 2017 – Winners will be announced!

What will I receive if I win the competition?

Winners will receive:

  1. $5,000 to implement their idea locally.
  2. Global exposure via JusticeMakers press releases and events
  3. Access to secondary funders through JusticeMakers’ partner organizations.
  4. Access to online trainings.

How will the winners be selected?

A panel of esteemed expert judges will select the winners.  The judges will have expert knowledge of criminal justice.  The JusticeMaker 2017 Competition judges will be announced on justicemakers.ibj.org.

Who can enter the competition?

Any community activists, lawyers and human rights defenders with an interest in criminal defense may submit an application. IBJ strives to support committed criminal defense activists with groundbreaking proposals to promote positive reforms to criminal justice systems. Applicants from Francophonie Africa* may apply.

*For the 2017 Competition, persons from the follow countries are eligible to apply : Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Guinée-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda , São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, Tunisia.

Can I remain anonymous?

Yes. All users will have the ability to remain anonymous in their interactions with other members of the site. While anonymity is not encouraged, we recognize that criminal justice reform can be an intimidating and confrontational task. To that end, we want to protect the people who are bold enough to come forward with solutions. (Please note that for the purposes of due diligence and distribution of prizes, users must provide their contact information to JusticeMakers staff.)

Does it cost anything to enter?

Entry in the JusticeMakers competition is entirely free of charge.

What languages can I use to apply?

Applications will be accepted in English and French.

What are examples of good ideas for promoting justice in my community?

There are dozens, if not hundreds of innovative ideas to promote criminal justice in your own community.  Nonetheless, we understand that it might be difficult to think concretely about such an abstract concept as criminal justice.  To that end, here are some ideas we found particularly promising:

  • Facilitate the placement of legal aid lawyers at police stations to ensure accused persons have access to counsel.
  • Establish childcare services at the courthouse to allow women defendants to attend proceedings more easily.
  • Develop a mobile arraignment court that will allow more accused persons to understand the charges brought against them.
  • Create community service programs and alternatives to custodial sentencing to ease overcrowding in prisons.
  • Establish a microfinance legal insurance product so people have funding to secure counsel.

For additional ideas, you can view the projects of former 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 winners here.

Contributing to JusticeMakers

How can I contribute to JusticeMakers?

JusticeMakers is a project of International Bridges to Justice. To make a donation via credit card through Network for Good, please click here.
 For those donors looking to have a specific impact, we have two options:

  1. Contribute to the overall pool of prize money, ensuring that more innovators get the funding they need to realize their ideas.
  2. Earmark funds for projects stemming from specific regions or nationalities. Funding Partners making larger contributions to JusticeMakers can also set the overall theme of a competition – ensuring that criminal justice community is focused on the topics you hold most dear.

Background on International Bridges to Justice

How is JusticeMakers connected to International Bridges to Justice?

JusticeMakers is an initiative of International Bridges to Justice (IBJ). JusticeMakers represents IBJ’s first programmatic foray into the online world, the platform upon which IBJ hopes to dramatically scale its impact. Through the online community, JusticeMakers competitions, and online eLearning training curricula, JusticeMakers allows IBJ to reach countless individuals with its message and programming.

What is International Bridges to Justice (IBJ)?

International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization.  It was founded in 2000 with a vision to end torture in the 21st Century through the just implementation of criminal laws. IBJ’s experience has shown that legal counsel at the earliest stages of defense can reduce instances of torture by as much as 80%. Thus, IBJ works with public defenders, or legal aid lawyers, to reinforce the protection for, and the individual dignity of, people facing criminal prosecution in developing and transitional countries. Since its inception, IBJ has pioneered this practical approach to human rights, and is now poised to catalyze legal transformation in countries worldwide. 
For additional information on IBJ, visit www.ibj.org.

How is IBJ funded?

IBJ is funded by a variety of governmental, non-governmental, private, and individual donations. Funding partners include the Skoll Foundation, the United Nations Fund for Victims of Torture, Ashoka, and Echoing Green, among others.