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A team of graduate students conducted research to help Arkansas Access to Justice Commission calculate the economic impact of civil legal aid services in Arkansas provided by the state’s two legal aid providers: the Center for Arkansas Legal Services, which serves 44 counties in central, western, and southern Arkansas; and Legal Aid of Arkansas, which serves 31 counties in northern and eastern Arkansas.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students Paola Cavallari of Termoli, Italy, Matthew Devlin of Silver Spring, Md., and Rebekah Tucci of Lakeland, Fla., spent the past year completing an assessment of direct cost/benefits and opportunity costs by comparing state and national data trends, as well as a qualitative assessment that included legal aid attorney interviews and surveys of circuit court judges and former legal services clients.
They collected basic information on these programs’ operations and assessed the impact of the services provided on individual clients and on the larger community. The data indicated that in 2013, the two legal aid programs created an estimated $25 million of total economic activity in the state. The financial recoveries and avoidance of losses for legal aid clients alone totaled more than $8.6 million—an amount that exceeds the programs’ combined operating costs by over $2.5 million.
“Access to legal representation often makes the difference between poverty and self-sufficiency for a family that is living on the edge,” said the Commission’s Executive Director, Amy Johnson. “This study has confirmed that civil legal aid not only improves the lives of Arkansas families, but it has a stimulus effect on the state’s economy.”
The Clinton School team will present the results of their research on May 5, 2014 at a 5:30 p.m. public forum at Sturgis Hall on the Clinton School’s campus.
The final report consisted of a more holistic understanding of legal aid services in Arkansas—including the direct and indirect savings to Arkansas taxpayers, a better understanding of the individual impact to the clients receiving services and a clearer picture regarding the impact of legal aid services on the administration of justice.
“This study has laid the groundwork for further examination of innovative ways that we can deliver services in a way that ensures that all Arkansans have access to the civil justice system,” said Johnson. “This is important work.”
The Clinton School team will present the results of their research on May 5, 2014 at a 5:30 p.m. public forum at Sturgis Hall on the Clinton School’s campus.
The students completed the project as part of the Clinton School’s Practicum program, the first of three field service projects in the Master of Public Service degree program.
About The Arkansas Access To Justice Commission:
The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission was created in 2003 by the Arkansas Supreme Court for the purpose of coordinating statewide efforts to provide equal access to civil justice for all Arkansans. Since its creation, the Commission has worked toward this goal by undertaking initiatives to expand pro bono attorney recruitment and participation, implementing court assistance projects, facilitating changes to statutes and court rules that impact access to justice, educating the public about the need for civil legal aid, and working to increase financial resources available to provide civil legal aid to low-income Arkansans.
- More information about Arkansas Access to Justice Commission is available at www.arkansasjustice.org.
- More information about Arkansas Legal Services Partnership: Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas is available at www.arlegalservices.org
In partnership with UN Women, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service graduate student Aliyah Sarkar has researched the gender dynamics of the Syria Conflict and the implications and vulnerabilities women and girls face.
Sarkar developed a comprehensive desk review of literature from prior to the conflict to the current circumstances of the civil war. She then conducted key informant interviews with humanitarian agencies and organizations, local organizations, and humanitarian workers, all based in Syria. Sarkar developed a report on gender dynamic trends in Syria and the implications they pose for women and girls.
The findings of this report shows an increasing use of women and children as political and military purposes by the government and various opposition groups in Syria. There are 9.5 million people currently in need in Syria and 6.27 million internally displaced persons.
In addition to the research, Sarkar supported UN Women’s Oasis at the Zaatari Refugee Camp, Syrian women’s political participation at the peace negotiations, and programmatic and technical support.
Sarkar completed the research as part of the Clinton School’s Capstone program, the final of three field service projects in the Master of Public Service degree program. Onyango Makogango, UN Women’s Human Rights and Gender Specialist notes, “The effective participation of women and attention to women’s rights issues is a critical element in achieving a just and sustainable peace in Syria. Aliyah’s paper offers a critical analysis of women’s involvement in the Syrian conflict and invites reflections on whether that involvement can be characterized gender sensitive and in the interest of the target group.”
Furthermore, “The October 2000 adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (SCR 1325) which informs UN Women’s policy interventions in Syria was celebrated as a defining achievement for women’s peace and security on a global scale. SCR 1325 has four key thematic areas: participation, protection, prevention, and mainstreaming of a gender perspective. Implementing the resolution in conflict and post conflict countries for inclusive and sustainable peace settlements remains intractable. More efforts and studies are needed to interrogate the inclusion mechanisms to ensure they are not cosmetic gestures but genuine gender concerns. Aliyah’s paper is a contribution in this effort.”
About United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment:
UN Women, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, became operational in July of 2010. UN Women functions to support inter-governmental bodies in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms, help UN member states implement the standards by providing suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it and to forge effective partnerships with civil society, and to enable member states to hold the UN system accountable for its commitments to gender equality.
UN Women mandate in Jordan addresses the needs for women and girls, both refugee and Jordanian nationals, by assessing their needs and understanding their circumstances. Under direction of the United Nations Regional Response to the Syria Crisis, UN women has been providing direct assistance through cash for work assistance, a safe space for women and girls in the refugee camps, and has implemented psychosocial activities to meet the traumatic needs of Syrian women.
The Clinton Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service are working together to support the community’s efforts to assist the victims of the recent violent storms in Pulaski, Faulkner, and White Counties. They will work in partnership with the Arkansas Foodbank. The Foundation and School will open Choctaw Station during normal business hours to serve as a primary drop-off location for goods donated by people in Central Arkansas. The Foodbank has request the following items: pop-top entrees, fruit cups, pudding cups, individual assorted juices, crackers, peanut butter, Vienna sausage, Beanie Weenies, canned tuna, canned chicken, shelf-stable milk, individual servings of cereal, granola bars, energy bars, energy drinks, Gatorade, and plastic spoon and fork kits.
Wednesday, April 30 through Saturday, May 17, 2014
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday – Saturday
1-5 p.m. Sunday
Choctaw Station, which is located on the Clinton Center campus and houses the Little Rock offices of the Clinton Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
To make a donation to the Arkansas Food Bank via e-mail, go to arkansasfoodbank.org.
Scott Curran, a 2006 Clinton School graduate, has been named General Counsel of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. He began working with the Foundation in 2006 and has been serving as Deputy General Counsel since December 2012.
In his new role, he will manage the Foundation’s legal matters and provide strategic counsel to the Clinton Foundation leadership regarding the operations, partnerships, and programs of the organization. He is also on the board of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Before attending the Clinton School, he received his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana in speech communications and a J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Scott and his wife, Amy and their two children, live in Chicago.
In partnership with Feed Communities, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service graduate student Cathrine Schwader of Rogers, Ark. conducted an assessment of the healthy food options available in food pantries and community meals.
Schwader interviewed food assistance organizations in Benton and Washington counties to learn about their current practices with an emphasis in understanding the ability of organizations to provide fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods.
“Increasing access to healthy food and improving healthy food choices are Feed Communities two primary goals,” said Melissa Terry, programs coordinator at Feed Communities “This study is relevant for our regional programs in that it helps us determine where, when and how we can coordinate fresh food recovery and distribution initiatives from our regional grocery retailers directly to community meal programs.”
According to the national hunger relief organization, Feeding America, 63,460 people in Benton and Washington counties are food insecure. Many of these people use food assistance organizations to help feed their families. It is important to know how these vital organizations operate, if they are able to provide healthy foods, and what challenges they face in serving the community. Many organizations are currently only able to offer fresh fruits and vegetables on a limited basis due difficulties involved in sourcing and storage of fresh produce.
In addition to a report that analyzes the results of the interviews, the assessment includes a map of the organizations providing food assistance, which will help Feed Communities in a food recovery program that connects local businesses with food assistance organizations to redirect edible food that would otherwise get thrown away.
Schwader completed the project as part of the Clinton School’s Capstone program, the final of three field service projects in the Master of Public Service degree program.
About Feed Communities:
Feed Communities is an incorporated 501(c)(3) organization founded with the vision of supporting and expanding local food systems as a means of providing durable solutions for food security. Feed Communities works with individuals, organizations, schools, universities, government agencies and foundations to create sustainable partnerships for increasing access to healthy foods and improving healthy food choices.
More information about Feed Communities can be found at www.feedcommunities.org.
Second-year graduate student, Lauren Remedios from Bangalore, India, returned to her home country last year to design a Barefoot Solar Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit for Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan to measure the impacts of the solar energy initiative on women’s empowerment, quality of life, and environmental sustainability.
A “Barefoot Solution” of Solar Energy begun in 1986, answered the electrical needs of the rural poor without jeopardizing natural /non-renewable sources. It started by training semi-literate Indian women to become Barefoot Solar Engineers, thus challenging the assumptions of formal education. Barefoot College demystified solar technology making it available to poor and neglected communities in sixty-four countries. Annually, around sixty semi-literate/unschooled women from least developed countries assemble in Tilonia, Rajasthan, and immerse themselves in a six-month solar engineering training program. The women train to create, install, repair, and maintain solar home lighting systems. Additionally, the solar engineers learn to fabricate solar cookers and solar water heaters. This training takes place in a hands-on and practical environment; the women learn by hand-signals, colors, and drawings because no one speaks a common language at the training campus. Upon returning to their villages, the women electrify each household in their communities with solar power by installing photovoltaic systems.
In her capstone project, Lauren designed a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) toolkit for the Barefoot Solar Initiative to measure the impact of access to renewable energy. This toolkit will be used in sixty-four countries that have implemented the Solar Initiative and will be translated into thirty-six different languages.
Barefoot’s ground partners, i.e. the local NGO that provides logistic support in each country, will use the M&E kit. Lauren’s kit will ensure the NGO’s active role in monitoring and strategic decision-making, tracking impacts and outcomes. Most importantly, the M&E toolkit is flexible to changing interventions in different countries and contexts.
Barefoot College is a complex multi-level organization that, until now, has had no formal M&E system. The main thrust of Lauren’s project was to investigate and assess the solar implementation in rural communities, to develop indicators, and design the M&E toolkit to facilitate Barefoot College.
“Our ability to analyze impact on a global scale was at last facilitated by Lauren’s ability to bridge a grass roots mission with a global vision,” said Meagan Fallone, Global strategy and development officer at Barefoot College.
About The Barefoot College:
In 1971, Sanjit “Bunker” Roy set up Barefoot College in a small community called Tilonia in Rajasthan, India. The drive to set up the College was and is to find simple, sustainable, and local solutions to water, renewable energy, education, healthcare, and livelihood. Following the lifestyle of Gandhi, the College is the only organization built by the poor, for the poor, and for the last forty-three years, it is managed, controlled, and owned by the poor.
- More information about The Barefoot College is available at www.barefootcollege.org
- Barefoot College TED Talk http://www.ted.com/talks/bunker_roy.html?embed=true
For her final capstone project, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service student Abby Olivier of Hattiesburg, Miss., studied the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Arkansas.
Olivier partnered with the Arkansas Insurance Department’s Arkansas Health Connector Division to help plan and execute insurance enrollment events around the state. Through this partnership, she spoke with In-Person Assisters (IPAs) on challenges and successes of engaging their communities to enroll in a healthcare plan. She also interviewed various experts and stakeholders in the field of health insurance enrollment and health policy.
With this information, she wrote a case analysis study of the open enrollment period with a special focus on the challenges and successes of community engagement. She analyzed the most effective strategies various IPA organizations and healthcare institutions participated in to enroll Arkansans and reflected on best practices for future enrollment periods.**
“Engaging the community effectively is essential to our job in helping consumers enroll,” said Jarrod Johnson, Deputy Communications Director of the Arkansas Health Connector. “It’s important that we analyzed what worked best and what could be improved.”
**In early March, the Arkansas State Legislature passed an amendment in SB111, now Act 257, that prohibits funding for marketing and outreach for the Private Option and the federal Insurance Marketplace.
“Ending World Hunger: Meeting the Challenge,” Ambassador David Lane
Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
Ambassador David Lane is the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture and the chief of the United States Mission to the United Nation Agencies in Rome, Italy. He has served in leadership roles in the President Obama and the President Clinton administrations, including assistant to President Obama, counselor to the chief of staff, and chief of staff to the United States Secretary of Commerce, as well as executive director to the National Economic Council under President Clinton. Previously, he served as president and chief executive officer of the ONE Campaign, an international advocacy organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. During his tenure with the ONE Campaign, he successfully merged two organizations and drove strategic initiatives on issues ranging from food security and effective governance to global health and economic development.
“The Rule of Nobody,” author Philip Howard
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
Phillip Howard calls “The Rule of Nobody” a guide for how to liberate human ingenuity to meet the challenges of this century. He argues that America has lost the authority needed to support a free society and makes the claim that our government is broken, and from that comes wasteful government spending, rising debt, failing schools, expensive health care, and economic hardship. Howard concludes that our democracy must be radically simplified and rebuilt on a foundation of individual responsibility and accountability, and calls the book a guide for how to liberate human ingenuity to meet the challenges of this century.
Alex Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Monday, May 12, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
Alex Jones is the director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and Laurence M. Lombard lecturer in Press and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1987 while covering the press for the New York Times. His most recent book, “Losing the News: The Future of the News that Feeds Democracy” was published in August 2009 and explored the changing U.S. media landscape and its implications for American democracy. Jones sits on the boards of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, International Center for Journalists, Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists, Harvard Magazine, the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, along with other professional organizations.
“Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences,” professor John Hibbing
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book signing to follow
John Hibbing is a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the author of “Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences.” Hibbing claims our biological predispositions are responsible for a significant portion of the political and ideological conflict that we witness every day. In “Predisposed,” Hibbing presents evidence that people differ politically, not just because they grew up in different cultures or were presented with different information, but because people have diverse psychological, physiological, and genetic traits. These biological differences influence much of what makes people who they are, including their orientations to politics.
“The Jennifer Schuett Case Study”
Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
In August of 1990, Jennifer Schuett was only eight years old when she was kidnapped, brutally raped and left for dead in Dickinson, Texas. Desperate to find her attacker, Schuett collaborated with a local detective and a federal agent in 2008 and one year later, her attacker was captured through DNA evidence. Jennifer Schuett will share her inspiring story of healing in the face of a life-altering attack, as well as a rape survivor’s view of the frustrations and triumphs of working closely with law enforcement on her journey of almost 20 years to seek justice.
*Reserve your seats by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (501) 683-5239.
Concurrent University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law student Alexandra Rodery Rouse, while working with the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance, created a nonprofit advocacy manual.
The manual was created to provide necessary information on involving nonprofits in the important political discussions that impact the nonprofit sector. Rouse sought to improve the involvement and engagement of nonprofits with local and national leaders, policy makers and citizen groups, to bring awareness of the nonprofit causes to result in sound public policy.
The goal of the advocacy manual is to be a single source for information specific to Arkansas nonprofit advocacy measures. It will quicken the research time by nonprofit leaders and serve to elevate confidence levels in advocacy through information.
“The importance of nonprofit advocacy has become more evident during the past few years from threats of reductions to the charitable giving incentive to cuts in AmeriCorps due to sequestration, but many nonprofits feel isolated from the advocacy realm.” Stephanie Meincke, president and CEO of the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance.
In creating the manual, Rouse researched the current nonprofit advocacy landscape in Arkansas at both the state and federal level, the current legal and practical realities of advocacy, and then created a compilation of advocacy information and successful strategies to engage and educate nonprofits of their rights and limitations.
The manual will be available for the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance members and potentially the general public.