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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance
The Cornerstone Initiative<br />

The Cornerstone Initiative

Community & pro bono

Clifford Chance's Cornerstone initiative, which launched in 2019, is making good progress towards our ambitious 5-year objective of improving wellbeing in the poorest communities in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Here we highlight key developments and achievements to date, and look at at what we will be delivering in the next phase.

Our progress

By the end of 2022/23, 62,825 people in Kigali had directly benefitted from Cornerstone and over 4 million indirectly benefitted.

At the outset of the initiative, we took care to develop a strategy and theory of change to ensure that all of our investment and work is effectively targeted at improving wellbeing, along with a monitoring framework that will enable us to measure the impact we make over the course of the initiative. This process included running 10 focus groups on the ground in the communities we want to help and working closely alongside a consultant with considerable experience in creating effective strategies and monitoring frameworks in a development context. In particular, this enabled us to identify health, education, food security, family relationships, livelihoods and housing as the key areas in which the communities we want to support believe that their ability to improve their well being is held back.

We have embarked on 14 projects, in partnership with 10 NGOs, four of which have already completed. The projects have tackled key barriers to improved well-being amongst Kigali's poorest communities, including mental and physical health, access to legal services and welfare support, livelihoods, coding and science, technology, engineering and maths education, ecosystem renewal.

By the end of 2021/22, 52,647 people in Kigali had directly benefitted from Cornerstone and a further 925,189 had indirectly benefitted.

Cornerstone and carbon neutrality

To ensure that our delivery of Cornerstone has a carbon neutral effect, we began our work in Kigali with a tree growing partnership with the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association.

A snapshot of Cornerstone

Meet the people behind the initiative

Cornerstone and food security

Improving nutrition in Kigali's schools

A recent study shows that 28% of children under 6 years old in Gasabo, one of Kigali's poorest communities, are stunted. Only 39% of primary schools in Kigali provide meals to schoolchildren and 54% of the schools do not have a nutrition garden in the schools. This three-year project will develop a range of innovations in order improve schools' access to healthy and nutritious foods.

Cornerstone and access to justice

Providing free legal services to the poorest communities in Kigali

The project is focusing on building the capacity of local civil society organisations to deliver free legal services, strengthening the pro bono culture within Rwandan law firms and engaging students within Kigali law schools in pro bono and supporting them in taking a commitment to pro bono into their careers.

Responsible Business reporting

Future Focus 

In FY23, our firm continued to focus on helping our clients navigate a complex legal and regulatory landscape and on advancing our own responsible business strategy. We did this with an eye towards the future, concentrating on areas critical to our sustainability and the challenges and opportunities we know our clients will face in the future.

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Our insights

The latest points of view from our people on our responsible business activities

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