2018 Learning Exchange on Citizenship and Legal Identity (7-19 October)

learningexchange
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(Michael Otto) #1

The Global Legal Empowerment Network is excited to host the first ever learning exchange focused on citizenship and legal identity from October 7 – 19 in Kenya.

Citizenship is a foundational human right, yet millions of people around the world are unjustly denied identity documents to prove their nationality. These denials, often based on poor implementation of the law or outright discrimination against minority groups, make it impossible for individuals and families to enroll in school, apply for a job, or exercise their rights. They are excluded from society and denied opportunities as a result.

Legal empowerment strategies are challenging these injustices. Paralegals support affected communities to learn how to apply for identity documents, navigate through tangled bureaucracies, and challenge discriminatory systems. They help communities understand, use, and shape the law.

At this exchange, 13 participants from 12 countries (@exchange_2018kenya) are gathering to share their successes, help tackle common challenges, and learn from and with each other to grow the movement and build solidarity across borders. The exchange is hosted by Namati and three dynamic Kenyan organizations: Nubian Rights Forum, Haki na Sheria, and Haki Centre.

Stay tuned to this space for daily highlights written by participants from the learning exchange. As always, please share your thoughts on the topic below.


Highlights from the Kenya Learning Exchange
I mark 1 year next week
(Shaila Tieken) #2

The first day of the Global Legal Empowerment Network’s citizenship learning exchange kicked off on Monday in Nairobi with 13 participants from 12 countries, along with the exchange hosts. The participants are all working in their countries to ensure access to citizenship by empowering communities, helping them know, use, and/or change the law by their own agencies. We will be posting highlights from our sessions here for those interested in following along – I volunteered to write the first post.

The first day started with an introduction to the exchange program and the network. The program has been designed to let participants learn from each other’s experiences and, together, find specific solutions to the various challenges we face.

The exchange of knowledge started with the first panel on paralegal training and development. Every organization has their own ways of engaging their community paralegals and different means of operations, though trainings and refresher trainings were done in most of the paralegal groups. Through discussion, we underlined the importance of sustainability of paralegals by recruiting people who have interest and value the work they are doing.

The next panel on engaging communities and mobilization was equally interesting. Friends from Nigeria engaged the chiefs and communities by utilizing available means such as music and broadcasting programs on the radio. Some organizations were engaging women in their work, because they found that women were deeply affected with legal identity issues, because most of the times their children were the ones whose access to the documents barred.

Trust and relationship building was one of the main issues that arose. Building trust and relationships is not something we can rush; thorough connection built with patience and respect, and the local community’s needs in mind should be prioritized. We also noted that it is important not to just go to community members or government when we need something from them.

The dilemmas were present in the provision of incentives to paralegals, government, and the beneficiaries on the work we are doing. We have to keep in mind that involving communities in our activities takes away productive time that they could be devoting to their livelihoods. For some people, learning about citizenship rights and how to secure identity documents does not equal immediate benefits, making it hard for programs to attract people to their sessions. Providing beneficiaries with in-kind benefits such as calendars with information that is relevant to the program were practiced by one of the participant’s organizations.

Another interesting point: from our discussions, we realized that even though we were coming from around the world, colonial policies are still affecting citizenship situation in our countries. Boundaries made between colonized states separated communities that had been living there for centuries. In the future, participants are hoping for regional meetings to allow people with similar context to gather. If possible, capacity building and empowerment can take other forms, for example online courses, that might be beneficial for the network members.

Photos by Namati

An introduction to the Legal Empowerment Learning Exchange

First panel on paralegal training and development

Panel on engaging communities and mobilization

Examples from Nigeria of engaging chiefs and communities by utilizing available means such as music and broadcasting programs on the radio


(Tobias Eigen) #3

(Abigail Moy) #4

Thank you for sharing, @shaila! The first day looks fascinating, wish I could be there to listen in.

These are the points I found most interesting…

Friends from Nigeria engaged the chiefs and communities by utilizing available means such as music and broadcasting programs on the radio. Some organizations were engaging women in their work, because they found that women were deeply affected with legal identity issues, because most of the times their children were the ones whose access to the documents barred.

and…

we realized that even though we were coming from around the world, colonial policies are still affecting citizenship situation in our countries. Boundaries made between colonized states separated communities that had been living there for centuries. In the future, participants are hoping for regional meetings to allow people with similar context to gather. If possible, capacity building and empowerment can take other forms, for example online courses, that might be beneficial for the network members.


(Maryama Farah) #5

Day two of the Namati Global learning exchange started with presentations from the three host organisations.

The presenters gave a comprehensive picture of the work they do and why they do it, highlighting that the underlying discrimination that exists around citizenship documentation is why the paralegals do the work they do. The presentations also exposed that Kenyan paralegals struggle with service delivery because of uncooperative administrative offices and an obvious gap between law and practice.

The first of the panel discussions that generated lots of meaningful and practical presentations from the delegates introduced the experiences of the various delegates with their relevant administrative offices. What resonated with many people is the apparent disconnect between holding duty bearers and government officials accountable to the work they are meant to provide to our clients and the social compromises we need to make to keep them amenable to our organisations and the interventions we provide.

One that especially stood out to the delegate from Nigeria was a suggestion to hold roundtable discussions that mimics the ‘self care’ or check-in sessions the Ukrainian delegate uses in her own organization. Other suggestions of ensuring you empower the administrative officers through transparent communication and equipping them with the ability to contribute to the decisions was also well received. There wasn’t a clear consensus from all the delegates on whether our actions, which serve to make our work easier at the moment, are doing more harm in the long run by helping to institutionalise the notion of ‘begging’ officers to do their work.

The second panel really drove home the importance of accurate data collection and entry that will inform the quantitative report generation. The delegates on the panel gave very insightful and practical information on how their organisations collect data. There was a lot of discussions around first building the capacity of the paralegals and making sure they know why they’re collecting the data to encourage targeted and efficient collection and entry. There was a general agreement that data is essential to the work we do in citizenship, especially for the broader advocacy and policy change goals that we share. There was also a more immediate appreciation of using data to measure organizational achievements and paralegal growth.

Finally, it was observed that on both days, participants shared shameful practices by the government and successful practices from the organization and reflected the cyclicality of the work we do, emphasising that we need to work to improve how we approach this system to ensure the system works for us and through us the communities that we represent.


(Silas Nyagala) #6

Exactly the minority are subjected to inhumanity acts by being denied citizenship rights and they have to pass through many unnecessary steps such as filling more than two forms and unguided vetting process with no clear rules, hence it is very hard to challenge their decision. For example at GARISSA/ Haki na Sheria…Abdi tried two times and was rejected , the consequences he cannot: move/ visit Nairobi, work, open bank account, get a mobile line. Due to this Abdi he is Jobless despite he went for technical school, no right to movement. The denial of citizenship rights is total denial of human rights.


(Jeniffer Njoli) #10

Am thinking,lf the community was well informed and they knew there rights,as stated in the bill of rights in the Constitution, it could be easy to challenge the state as the community and not as individual, a good example are people of Makondeni from coast ;because It is very ironic, that we have people who are Kenyans by birth and yet they are not recognized as citizens in their own country, which lives them with the disadvantages in terms of accessing services.


(Gostin Kyubwa) #12

Bonjour c’est coordinateur de l’AJPDE RDC j’aimerais postille au bourse de l’identité juridique, quelle est la procédure c’est kyubwa gostin et en plus est ce que on peut vous transmetre un projet d’enregistre de naissance car au milieux rirau en RDC ça se fait rarement

comment postille pour avoir un bource de renforcement de capacité dans l’identité juridique c’est coordinateur Kyubwa gostin philemon


(Tobias Eigen) #13

Hi Gostin! Thanks for checking in and for responding to this topic about the learning exchange on citizenship and legal identity. It’s very interesting to learn that you have a birth registration project in eastern DRC and we’d love to hear more about it. Please feel free to start a new topic in the #citizenship category to tell us all about it! You can of course continue to write in French if you prefer.

Funding is a challenge for all of us working in this field, which is why it features prominently in the global campaign (have you signed the petition?!). In the meantime, my suggestion would be that you take a look at the recurring opportunities topic. It may contain some new leads for you. Maybe you also have some more funding opportunities you can add to the list that are not already listed, for the benefit of other members. The link is below.

You can also share your project ideas with fellow members here in the forum. Maybe members working in citizenship, including the @namati_citizenship team and participants in this @exchange_2018kenya will have helpful suggestions for making them a reality.


(Gostin Kyubwa) #14

salut tobias je viens de signer ma pétition.


(Gostin Kyubwa) #16

Bonjour encore tobias, nous nous sommes, tres actifs dans les domaine de l’enregistrement des naissances à l’Etat civil en collaboration avec la Division de l’interieur, plus de 10000 Enfant beneficiers dans cette Année de 2018 avec un financement de 20000 dollars contributions de membres , mais nous sommes heurte sur le moyens economique pour assure dans dans toute l’entites ou l’Etat civil n’arriver pas. c’est pourquoi s’il ya des bailleurs dans ces domaines peuvent nous aider pour le respects des ces droits des enfants dans les domaines d’identites juridique.


(Tobias Eigen) #17

A post was merged into an existing topic: Citizenship Law of your country



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