The Association for Development of Women and Legal Education (ADWLE) is a Non-Profit Association (NPA). Originally called the Women’s Rights Study Association, the Association was created unofficially in 2008 by a CEDAW Resource Pool, consisting of 10 women and two men, with the intention to promote gender equality and women’s rights in Lao PDR.
The founders of ADWLE applied to be an NPA with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) in 2010. In April 2012, ADWLE was given a temporary license from MOHA, after which, it elected five Administrative and Inspection Board members. ADWLE was registered on 9 November 2012 in Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR.
Since its inception, ADWLE has worked with the Faculties of Law and Political Sciences of the National University of Laos (NUoL), Vientiane Capital, and Champasak University, Champasak Province, as well as with targeted village communities.
Their projects have focused largely on: legal education relating to gender and national and international women’s rights laws and instruments; capacity building, in the form of trainings and outreach activities; and, most recently, the provision of free legal advice and assistance to female victims of gender-based violence.
At present, ADWLE has six staff working full time: Director, Gender Manager, Law Manager, Financial and Administrative Officer, Project Support Manager and Project Assistant. They have academic and professional backgrounds in a variety of fields, including law, political science, finance, agriculture, and education. The team works actively in the field to promote gender equality, women’s rights and the protection of women from human trafficking. The legal aid clinic is run by a principal lawyer and nine part-time lawyers.
In order to assist with carrying out its activities, ADWLE has a variety of partners, including the Faculties of Law and Political Sciences of NUoL and Champasak Universities, the National Commission for the Advancement of Women, the National Assembly, the Ministry of Justice, the Lao Bar Association and numerous international organisations and local civil society organisations.