In July of 2016, Namati partnered with the Women’s Legal Aid Centre (WLAC) to host a two week learning exchange. The exchange focused on women’s empowerment, combatting gender-based violence and the use of paralegals in expanding women’s access to justice in the African context.
Participants came from across the African continent (see list below). There were participants from veteran legal empowerment organizations looking to build advocacy campaigns or refine data collection methods, and others who were community paralegals themselves trying to improve counseling techniques and systems of referral. Our host WLAC did not disappoint in leading us through the many levels of women’s rights legal empowerment in Tanzania.
We met with all levels of legal aid service provision: rural paralegal associations who were registering as independent community-based organizations, the bar association who coordinates the training and certification of paralegals nationwide, and women’s groups who were using theater to teach legal rights, or running economic empowerment programs combined with legal awareness classes in urban markets. We also had the chance to engage directly with the national organization leading on the institutionalization of the paralegal profession and see their nationwide paralegal data. The diversity of site visits and discussions ensured everyone engaged with practitioners and fresh perspectives with which to improve their own legal empowerment work at home.
The 15-day learning exchange hosted participants from the following organizations:
The above learning exchange participants also had the opportunity to be joined by a group of local Tanzanian practitioners from the following organizations: