Documentary On Newstalk: Chilungamo: Pathways to Justice in Malawi

Exploring alternative approaches to justice in one of the least developed countries in the world.

Documentary & Drama on Newstalk

Producer Muireann De Barra in Malawi

15:23 7 Dec 2017 Francesca Lalor 15:23 Thursday 7 December 2017

This weekend, Newstalk marks Human Rights Day with a new radio documentary- Chilungamo: Pathways To Justice In Malawi

In the documentary, Producer Muireann De Barra explores alternative approaches to justice in one of the least developed countries in the world.

'Chilungamo: Pathways to Justice in Malawi' explores the root causes, impact and responses to a silent crisis at the heart of one of the world's least developed countries in the world.

With a mounting prison population reaching 240% above capacity and where 90% of accused persons will go through the courts process without any legal representation, Malawi's under-resourced and over-burdened criminal justice system faces unprecedented challenges in a country known as ‘the warm heart’ of Africa.

With many held without trial for long periods and often without contact with or in the knowledge of family on the outside, thousands of Malawians languish in overcrowded and inadequate prison conditions where the risk of hunger, malnutrition and spread of communicable diseases runs high.

Travelling to Malawi and granted extraordinary access, producer Muireann de Barra observes the work of local paralegals and international volunteer lawyers placed by Irish organisation, Irish Rule of Law International to work alongside the main institutional players of Malawi's Criminal Justice System.

Visiting traditional communities, Police stations and Lilongwe's Maula Prison, the documentary offers unique insight into interventions on the ground through the use of 'camp courts'- where cases are heard inside the prison- community sensitisations and child diversion projects seeking to redirect children away from the criminal justice system.

"Before you came, we were in the we are able to follow what the legal system is all about here in Malawi " traditional community leader speaking to Producer Muireann de Barra

Told in an observational style and with contributions from the UN, Irish Aid, Irish Rule of Law International and Paralegal Advisory Service Institute, 'Chilungamo: Pathways to Justice in Malawi' weaves a rich exploration of the context, challenges and human stories at the heart of this silent crisis.

Supported by Simon Cumbers Media Fund


LISTEN LIVE: ‘Chilungamo: Pathways to Justice in Malawi’ will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday December 10th2017 at 8am, with repeat broadcast on Saturday 16th December at 10pm.

LISTEN LIVE ONLINE: ‘Chilungamo: Pathways to Justice in Malawi’ can also be listened to online at:

PODCAST: Podcast available at: after the broadcast.

CREDITS: Chilungamo: Pathways to Justice in Malawi’ was produced, recorded, and edited by Muireann de Barra and supported by the Simon Cumbers Media Fund.

ABOUT THE PRODUCER: Muireann de Barra travelled to Malawi in August 2017. Her previous documentaries have been broadcast on Documentary on Newstalk106-108fm and TG4.  She is an Assistant Lecturer in Creative Broadcast and Film Production in Limerick Institute of Technology.

Facebook Page/ Twitter@ChilungamoRadio

ABOUT Irish Rule of Law International

Irish Rule of Law International is dedicated to promoting the rule of law in developing countries.  IRLI seeks to harness the skills of Irish and international lawyers in using the law as a means of tackling global injustice and empowering all people to live in a society free from inequality, corruption and conflict.

UN Human rights day  

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.