East Africa

Africa Prisons Project Impact Report 2017

African Prisons Project,

This resource is a 2017 impact report from the Africa Prisons Project, which begins with the following introductory note from the founder and Director General: Over the past decade, I’ve visited prisons all around Africa, where the majority of prisoners are still awaiting trial. In terrible conditions, their circumstances appear overwhelming and their future seems…

Africa Data Revolution Report 2018: Status and Emerging Impact to Open Data in Africa

Jean-Paul Van Belle,

In some governments, there is a slow iterative cycle between innovation, adoption, resistance and re-alignment before finally resulting in Open Government Data (OGD) institutionalization and eventual maturity. There is huge diversity between African governments, and each country presents a complex and unique picture. In several African countries, there appears to be genuine political will to open up government-based datasets,…

Malawi Community Paralegals: Recognition and Financing Research Brief


This research brief is part of a series that reviews the nature of the work undertaken by community paralegals, and the extent to which that work is recognized or funded by government. Malawi’s Legal Aid Act recognizes “Legal Aid Assistants,” who are not qualified as legal practitioners, but are authorized to work full-time as a service provider with…

Kenya Community Paralegals: Recognition and Financing Research Brief


This research brief is part of a series that reviews the nature of the work undertaken by community paralegals, and the extent to which that work is recognized or funded by government. In Kenya, community paralegals are recognized in the Legal Aid Act of 2016. They are referred to formally as “paralegals.” The first briefs published for…

Vices of Discrimination: The Impacts of Vetting and Delays in the Issuance of ID Cards in Kenya

Namati ,

This policy brief aims to highlight the plight of Kenyans who face difficulties in getting identity cards due to their ethnicity. It sheds light on how the discretionary and discriminatory processes they endure delay the issuance of their ID cards and further demonstrates how these delays endanger the wellbeing of the applicants and their families. The…

Policy brief on the right to information in the health sector

Namati Moçambique,

This policy brief presents a series of recommendations that were developed in an effort to assist the Mozambique Ministry of Health and clinical partners in improving access to information for patients/family members regarding their health and their rights as health system users.  It includes data and stories drawn from real cases, concrete examples of the type of information that should be…

Child Protection Issue Brief: Birth Registration

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),

This briefing note outlines key actions that can be taken by UNCHR and its partners to ensure access to birth registration for all children.

Justice Needs in Uganda: Legal Problems in Daily Life

HiiL Innovating Justice ,

At the end of 2015, HiiL, supported by the Swedish Embassy in Uganda and The Hague Institute for Global Justice, carried out Justice Needs and Satisfaction Survey (JNS) in Uganda. Its purpose was to provide information and insights on the state of access to justice in Uganda. For its successful completion, 6,202 adults were surveyed….

Justice Needs and Satisfaction in Kenya

HiiL Innovating Justice ,

In cooperation with the Kenyan judiciary  in 2017, HiiL Innovating Justice conducted a nationwide Justice Needs and Satisfaction survey in Kenya. The main objective of this study is to map out the demand and supply of justice services as the Kenyan people experience them. Using a bottom-up approach, we asked 6005 randomly selected individuals across…


Namati, Haki na Sheria , Haki Centre, Nubian Rights Forum , Open Society Foundations ,

The Kenya Citizenship program has developed Flip charts in Kiswahili and a smaller booklet version as paralegal guide. The vision of the flip charts is to guide the paralegals during community meetings. This was as a result of the inconsistency in the content of community meetings by the paralegals from the different parts of the…

A Historic Step Towards Securing Community Land Rights in Kenya

Posted by Jaron Vogelsang in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News

This article was originally published by Thomson Reuters Foundation. Indigenous, pastoralist communities in Kenya made history last week by marching to the nation’s capital to demand official registration for their communal lands. This was unprecedented and the culmination of years of effort to empower communities to understand and claim their land rights. In 2016, the Government of…

Five Ways Legal Empowerment Efforts Can Improve Maternal Health

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Health

Over the past thirty years, we’ve seen massive overall reductions in the numbers of women dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal deaths around the world dropped from an estimated 532,000 in 1990 to 303,000 in 2015. Yet inequalities are growing both between and within countries. In Mozambique, the rate of maternal mortality is among the…

Stopping the Digital ID Register in Kenya – A Stand Against Discrimination

Posted by Mustafa Mahmoud in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship, Namati News

On April 1, the High Court of Kenya heard arguments challenging the legality of the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), popularly known as Huduma Namba, and calling for interim orders to delay the rollout of the system. This is after waves of pressure from civil society organizations, including our partners the Nubian Rights Forum…

A Father Without an Identity – Samson’s Story

Posted by Namati in Citizenship, Community Paralegals

The first time Samson tried to get his identity card, he was 19. He and his friend went to the registrar’s office where they were both asked to “give something small” (a bribe) if that wanted to be attended to. His friend complied, but Samson did not have any money. A few weeks later, he…

A Herder, a Paralegal, a Protector of the Commons – Francis’ Story

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

Francis first heard the news in late 2017: The village leaders responsible for managing Kuku B’s community land were reportedly holding secret meetings with private investors. This is all too common in Kenya, he knew what would come next: the leaders would sub-divide, privatize, and sell off parcels of the community’s land, leaving him and…

Pressing for Privacy Rights – Silvia’s Story

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Health

It was at the end of 2017 that Silvia* first noticed the sores on her skin. Over the coming months, they got worse. She developed a persistent fever and was constantly exhausted. By March, her weight had dropped from 85 kgs to 70. Silvia knew what the symptoms suggested; she knew she should get an…

“I was ashamed to say what I had and how I felt…”

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Gender, Health

Chicuque Rural Hospital is a reference health facility for Maxixe District and the 2nd largest health facility in Inhambane Province, Mozambique. Since September 2017, community members were complaining about the lack of privacy in the health facility due to inadequate space for consultations. According to the community, it was common for two providers to attend…

Case Filed to Stop New Digital ID Register in Kenya

Posted by Mustafa Mahmoud in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship, Namati News

On the 18th of February 2019, the government of Kenya rolled out the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), more popularly known as Huduma Namba (Swahili for “Service Number”). The system is intended to create and operate a national population register as a single source of information about citizens and foreign residents. It has been…

The World’s First Book on Community Paralegals

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, General, Namati News, Resources & Research

I am thrilled to share a new book with you: Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice. Community paralegals demystify law and empower people to advocate for themselves. They are at the heart of our movement for justice. But they have been largely ignored by scholars and writers. This book starts to fill that void….

Ugandan Community Stops Illegal Sale of their Land

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

In 2016, officials from the Amolatar district in Northern Uganda approached Okello Alex* with an offer. They wanted to buy land from him for a prison farm. Okello agreed. But there was an issue: it was not his land to sell. The land belonged to Alemere community—a fact that both Okello and the officials knew…

Delivering Maternal Rights and Justice in Mozambique

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Gender, Health

When Mariamo* arrived at her local health center in Mozambique on a Sunday night in April 2017, she found the maternity ward empty. Her labor pains were intense. A security guard ran to the staff living quarters to inform the nurse on night duty. Without performing a physical exam, the nurse declared that Mariamo was not yet…

Twenty-Nine Years Without an Identity

Posted by Namati in Citizenship, Community Paralegals

The pickpocketer was fast. In the blink of an eye, Mahmoud’s wallet was gone. He lost the cash that was in it, his driving license and—worst of all—his identity card. Without an ID card in Kenya, you cannot vote. You cannot open a bank account or get a loan. You cannot gain admission to school…

Join a Learning Exchange on Citizenship Rights

Posted by Namati in Citizenship, Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network, Namati News, Opportunities

The greatest tool we have to tackle the world’s most pressing justice issues is each other. Sharing successes and challenges can help shape and strengthen our work, and in the process, the whole movement grows. That’s why we’re excited to offer this important opportunity. From October 7 – 19 in Kenya, the Global Legal Empowerment Network…

Nationality Rights of the Nubian Child – Namati and Partners Submit a Policy Brief to ACERWC

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship

On March 22, 2011, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) found Kenya to be in violation of the African Children’s Rights Charter. The case and verdict were based on the discriminatory rules and practices applied to Nubian children that denied them formal recognition of their Kenyan nationality. Without…

LEGEND Land Policy Bulletin: “Namati’s experience of using GeoODK GPS Mapping”

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Community Land Protection

Maps are critical tools that assist communities in securing formal legal recognition of their rights to customary land and supporting local land governance. However, the map-making support Namati could provide to communities in Africa and Asia was, until recently, limited to hand-drawn sketches. GPS and satellite technologies were too costly and technically complex. In 2016, Namati partnered with…

Sensitizing Health Workers to the Needs of the Elderly in Mozambique

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Health

Davide de Conceição is a Namati health advocate in Mozambique, supporting a busy facility in Inhambane Province. In 2016, he began hearing complaints from elderly patients about the lack of courtesy and respect they were shown during their clinic visits. Ministry of Health policy states that elderly patients should receive priority attention at health facilities,…

Privacy for Patients

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Health

Our health advocate Lina, who works in a busy district hospital, received a complaint from a group of HIV patients regarding the lack of privacy in the hospital pharmacy.  Large numbers of patients at the were crowding around the windows where prescriptions are disbursed, making it easy for others to see which medicines each patient had been given.  A number of HIV patients reportedly…

Delivery Amid Abuse

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Community Paralegals, Gender, Health

Alcina has lived her entire life in an isolated coastal village in Mozambique’s southern region, without access to electricity, running water, or transport. She gave birth to her three children at the local health center – a 17km trek from her home. Within moments of each delivery, she was forced to get out of bed…

ABC News on Kenya’s Prison Paralegals

Posted by ABC News in Community Paralegals

Australia’s ABC News has captured the groundbreaking work of Global Legal Empowerment Network member Kituo cha Sheria in the prison system in Kenya. The program, Foreign Correspondent, shows prisoner paralegals working to bring justice for those wrongly imprisoned – often without trial. Kituo’s Aimee Ongeso told the filmmakers: “It is very challenging to go into…

BBC documentary on network member Kituo cha Sheria wins global award

Posted by Namati in Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network

A documentary about a prisoner paralegal program run by Kenyan network member Kituo cha Sheria has won the top radio prize in the prestigious One World Media awards in London.

“We have customs that do not allow women to inherit land”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Gender

Formal laws now on the books in Tanzania grant women the right to inherit land. But certain customs dictate that land should remain under a man’s ownership. Jamila Lugembe explains how her organization is working in rural communities to ensure women know their legal rights and how to exercise them.

The problem with “girl child compensation”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Gender

In South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria, custom dictates that justice for the murder of an opposing clan member can be attained by surrendering a girl to the aggrieved clan. This practice violates the country’s formal legal code. What should be done? South Sudanese attorney John Mabor explains.

“He was torturing a suspect before my very eyes”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Global Legal Empowerment Network

As a young boy, Chimwemwe Ndlahoma experienced firsthand the tragic effects of an overburdened criminal justice system in Malawi. Today, the government is supporting paralegals to radically transform its once-broken institutions.

“Paralegal work has been very important to women in our community”

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Community Paralegals, Gender, Global Legal Empowerment Network

A woman’s husband dies and the town chief takes sides with her in-laws. Judith Ochanda, a community paralegal in Kenya, explains what happens next.