Drug laws and access to justice in the Philippines fellowship programme - Call for applications


Drug laws and access to justice in the Philippines fellowship programme - Call for applications

30 August 2023

The International Drug Policy Consortium invites applications for the Fellowship Programme from eligible persons in the Philippines who are passionate about using their legal skills and experience to help people that are negatively affected by drug laws in the country. The Fellowship involves carrying out an action plan over a maximum period of 9 months with a budget of USD3,000, under the guidance of a mentor.

Background to the Fellowship Programme

The Drug Laws and Access to Justice Fellowship Programme is a component of the REFORM project. In February 2023, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), together with LBH Masyarakat and AKSI Keadilan in Indonesia and the Foundation for AIDS Rights (FAR), Institute of HIV Research and Innovation (IHRI) and Health and Opportunity Network (HON) in Thailand, started implementing a 3-year regional project funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. It is called the "Criminal Justice Reform through Drug Policy Reform in Southeast Asia" (REFORM) project, and the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) serves as the overall project coordinator and leads on delivery of the regional programme of activities, where partners from Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines are included, in collaboration with BABSEACLE, IDUCARE (Philippines), StreetLawPH (Philippines), NoBox Philippines, Drug Policy Advocacy Group Myanmar, and Insaf Murni (Malaysia). The REFORM project aims to support people who use drugs, media professionals, legal experts, and civil society allies to work together in advocacy to end punitive drug laws, abusive law enforcement practices, and stigma and discrimination.

What is the Fellowship Programme?

The objective of the Fellowship Programme is to support the development of emerging advocates through focused and targeted mentoring and capacity building, in the Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar. The Fellowship Programme will operate for three years, with one fellowship awarded to one person from a different country (either the Philippines, Malaysia or Myanmar) each year from 2023 to 2025.

Application Process

Who is eligible to apply for the Fellowship?

People working in the Philippines to provide various forms of legal assistance, including paralegal assistance, and/or to advocate for reforms to drug policies and practices to improve human rights and harm reduction outcomes for people negatively affected by punitive drug policies, e.g. people who use drugs, within the country.

How will the Fellow be selected?

Fellows will be selected through a process involving an open call for applications. Applications received will be assessed by a panel of experts working at regional and country level in the field of drug policy reform and access to justice, and assessed against the following criteria:

  1. interest and capacity to provide legal assistance and ensure access to justice for people affected by punitive drug policies
  2. interest and capacity to contribute to advocacy for drug policy reform towards decriminalisation and harm reduction, and
  3. ability to collaborate with civil society advocates and communities affected by punitive drug policies.

What is expected of Fellows?

Fellows will develop and implement their own 9-month workplan for improving access to justice in relation to the application of drug laws, together with a mentor. Throughout the 9-month period, and under a Memorandum of Understanding with their mentor, fellows will commit to:

  • develop and implement their workplan, in consultation with their mentor
  • initiate a monthly call, for a maximum one hour duration, with their mentor to discuss progress and seek feedback on implementation of their workplan, and
  • connect and communicate with other colleagues on a regular basis, including as facilitated by IDPC and through participation in capacity-building activities as opportunities arise, to support regional knowledge and capacity transfer.

What do I get for being a Fellow?

The Programme aims to support fellows who wish to boost their capacity to bring about change in a region with some of the most punitive policies against people who use drugs in the world, by applying their legal and para-legal skills and knowledge.

Fellows are expected to stay in their pre-existing roles or employment, and to work towards completion of the workplan on a part-time basis only. They will receive a modest amount of financial support (USD3,000) for delivering workplan outputs, eg. publication and meeting costs.

IDPC will also work to ensure that Fellows can meet their mentor in person at least once during the year, and have opportunities to network with other fellows and civil society advocates in the region, eg. through participation in capacity-building and advocacy activities.

How can I apply to be a Fellow?

If you wish to apply for the fellowship programme, please send an application via email to Ms. Unchisa Eaimtong (ueaimtong@idpc.net), IDPC Programme Officer, by 11pm (Bangkok time) Thursday 21 September 2023. The application should include the following information, in the body of the email or as attachments:

  1. Curriculum vitae
  2. Outline of your proposed workplan to be implemented throughout the duration of the Fellowship Programme from 1 November 2023 to 31 August 2024, including objectives, rationale, expected outcomes, workplan activities and estimated timeline for implementation.