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BRAC-Ain o Salish Kendro Joint Legal Aid Programme: A Comprehensive Review

By: Dilruba Banu

In mid 1980s, BRAC initiated its paralegal programme to promote legal awareness among the members of its village organisations (VOs). The programme was re-organised and expanded as Human Rights and Legal Education (HRLE) in the early 1990s. The purpose of HRLE was to raise awareness about the legal rights among BRAC members, increase knowledge of laws, provide skills for their application and develop self confidence to resolve minor problems through salish (village mediation).

As a pioneer legal aid and human rights organisation in Bangladesh, Ain o Salish Kendro (ASK) promotes and protects human rights of the disenfranchised, particularly women through education, legal mediation, training, public interest litigation and advocacy. ASK also collaborates with network partners, and other non-government organisations to promote legal redress for women through regular legal aid clinics.

The objectives of the proposed study were to carry out i) a comprehensive review and ii) an assessment of the impact of BRAC-ASK joint legal aid programme. The study was planned to be implemented in two phases. This report explored only the questions of the first phase for a comprehensive review. Special emphasis has been given on:
• capacity of BRAC staff to implement the programme,
• effectiveness in resolving the minor complaints through salish or mediation,
• sensitisation and acceptance of the programme in the community,
• role of panel lawyers in mitigating the complaints, and
• possibility of inclusion of the paralegal sebikas in the programme.