In 2012, The Ford Foundation recognized Twaweza Communications as a Champion of Democracy
due to the institution’s work in the advancement of democracy and equality in Kenya.
Following the award, Twaweza Communications embarked on a project to develop an online English-Kiswahili
Dictionary of Legal terms in a bid to increase access to justice in Kenya through language.
We believe that the project will increase access to justice and benefit Kenya’s judicial
and governance process by improving communication between judicial officers and
litigants. It is also a contribution to Kiswahili legal lexicon as well as the
development and presence of African languages on the internet.
The main language of the lower courts in Kenya is Kiswahili because most accused persons have poor mastery of English. Unfortunately, magistrates and lawyers use English to communicate with the accused who quite often do not know what is going on. Court clerks, who are also faced with major challenges, provide interpretation. Justice cannot be dispensed where poor communication exists in the judicial process. Twaweza Communications is making a contribution to correct this anomaly. The dictionary will be an important facility in dispensing justice and a vital facility for translators of legal and governance documents in East Africa.
The Constitution of Kenya Article 7 stipulates that Kenya has two official languages: Kiswahili and English. It is imperative therefore that we develop Kiswahili lexicon for specialized domains of use. The judiciary and legislature principally deal with legal terminologies, in their day to day activities. This project will improve their work and enhance citizen participation in the pursuit of rights.
KamusiSheria - a product of Twaweza
Twaweza Communications is an arts, culture and media organization established in 2000. Underpinned by the principle of collective and individual efficacy in bringing about social change, the organizations mission is to increase public knowledge and action through research, training, advocacy and documentation for better health, sustainable environment, equity in gender relations, accountable leadership and people centered governance. The organization runs trainings on culture and leadership, translates materials from English into Kenyan languages so that more citizens can participate in national discourse, and enhances capabilities in alternative media in support of freedom of expression and diversity.