Collecting justice data in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, HiiL prepares the first Justice Needs and Satisfaction research to aid policymakers and other non-political parties understand what people need and want when they seek justice, which obstacles they face, and what kind of justice they receive for various kinds of justice problems.

We map bottom-up justice needs to support people where they need it most.

Ethiopia Legal and Political Future Trends

Ethiopia has a legacy of history, culture and dictatorships. However, the new government under the 42-year-old prime minister Ayib Ahmed has chosen a significant path towards rule of law, democracy and inclusiveness. Within that framework, the Ethiopian Attorney General Berhanu Tsegaye signed an MoU with HiiL, during the 9th Innovating Justice Forum in The Hague. Around the time Ethiopia became a signatory of the Hague Declaration.

The MoU was a great step forward, as CEO of HiiL, Sam Muller said at the time: « This means we can start with our Justice Needs and Satisfaction Survey to improve access to justice in Ethiopia. ».

Attorney General of Ethiopia Berhanu Tsegaye signs an MoU with HiiL, 7th February 2019

Justice Data Collection in Ethiopia 

Together with the Justice and Legal Research and Training Institute (JLRTI), and with the support of the Attorney General’s office, we will be collecting the data needed to inform user-centered innovation and transformation in the justice sector. 

HiiL meets the leadership of the research and training institute for the justice sector.

HiiL’s Head of Measuring Justice, Dr. Martin Gramatikov, and Justice Sector Advisor, Dr. Rodrigo Nunez, visited Addis Ababa to prepare the ground for the upcoming Justice Needs and Satisfaction Survey (JNS) in Ethiopia. 

Being part of the first attempt to map out justice needs and journey’s in Ethiopia is very exciting. To get things officially started, HiiL and the JLRTI conducted a “Kick-start” workshop on Measuring Justice in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In many contexts, collecting people’s justice needs and satisfaction is a radical departure for how things have been done for many years. To embrace a people-centered justice innovation agenda is bold. Brilliant. Brave, even: The results show things as they truly are. HE Ambassador Degife Bulla gave a gracious opening speech, and the master of ceremony was HE Mr. Mitiku Mada.

Ethiopia Justice Sector Explores Evidence-Based Approaches

During the two days, more than 40 representatives of different institutions of the Ethiopian justice sector, a multidisciplinary group of policymakers, justice practitioners, civil society experts, academics and researchers shared their experiences and knowledge on:

  • Measuring justice knowledge transfer: What are the methods for measuring justice, how HiiL measures justice.
  • Working together to measure the justice needs and satisfaction in Ethiopia: How we will collaborate to measure justice and build justice indicators in Ethiopia and
  • Evidence-based access to justice work: How to streamline the indicators into programs and projects that increase access to justice in Ethiopia

Participants explored the concept of user-centric justice and found ways in which this approach can provide valuable insights for strategy and policy formulation, intervention evaluation and learning in a positive data-based feedback loop. Participants were active. They shared a lot of ideas about data sources and were eager to discuss more about user-centered justice. Very innovative. Very cool. 

Future of Justice Data in Ethiopia 

Subsequent workshops will address topics such as “sustainable justice data collection”, “analysis and visualization of justice data – applied” among others.

Later, will come the actual collection of citizens’ data and its analysis by experts from Ethiopia and HiiL. Buoyed by what transpired over these two days, I cannot wait to share with you the impact this makes in the justice sector. In the new year, the report will be published. At which point we will share it with you, naturally! I really look forward to the results and to see what leaders and justice providers in Ethiopia do with the valuable insights into justice in Ethiopia.

Growing Movement of Collecting Data on Peoples’ Justice Needs

To date, we have collected citizens’ needs in 17 countries (not counting Ethiopia!). It is always a stimulating environment to work in: to meet and share experiences with enthusiastic partners of various judicial bodies and ministries in order to produce these reports

All reports are free to download on our website under the Project Pages. To compare data across countries, we built a tool called the Justice Dashboard. Also free for anyone to explore at With this tool you can explore how citizens rate the quality of the process for different categories of problems; crime, employment, family, neighbour and land. 

Sharing hopes and the HIiL approach to bring more user-friendly justice.

Our partners the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsor this project, we are grateful and proud of their support. 

If you have any questions about our work in Ethiopia, then don’t keep them to yourself. Why not send an email to Dr. Rodrigo Nunez,