Fundacion Pro Bono Venezuela (ProVene) was established in 2009 by a group of young lawyers to improve access to judicial services among residents of poor communities in Caracas. In cooperation with local leaders, it assesses areas of greatest unmet legal need and oversees the provision of legal assistance by individual volunteer lawyers to community residents. ProVene also provides training to community residents, leaders and activists on their civil and constitutional rights, also documenting conditions related to access to justice throughout Venezuela.
This grant will support ProVene's continued efforts to expand bono legal assistance in poor communities, and to co-sponsor a regional conference in order to generate greater interest in pro bono work in the Venezuelan legal community. Community based workshops primarily focus on housing issues, including the obtaining of property rights. Lawyers participating in ProVene's pro bono program will receive one to two months of preparation following which they will provide bi-monthly four-hour sessions of direct legal assistance in the aforementioned communities. ProVene will also seek to increase the number of Venezuelan signatories to the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas. Finally, ProVene will organize a regional conference in 2014 to strengthen ProVene's ties with different sectors of the Venezuelan legal community and increase awareness of the role and importance of pro bono work.