Attitude of the clients

This is based on my observation of the Mobile Birth Registration happening in Kibera. There was payment of birth certificates on the 12th and 13th of this month at Laini Saba and Kamukunji. The turn out at Laini Saba was amazing with most of the applicants turning out to pay for their birth certificates while others did not show up. We had a total of 600 birth certificates paid for. There was also a large number of applicants who came to collect their Birth certificates( mostly those of late registration who paid on the application date).

The Issue however, was with the Kamkunji site where very few applicants turned up on the first day. Forcing the Paralegals stationed there to give them a call. We had expectations that they would show up on day two, but the scenario remains the same. So my question comes up here, what if it’s no longer Ignorance? What do we do when the people develop a carefree attitude Like in the case of Kamkunji? How far as paralegals should we go in such situations?

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First I am very glad that your Mobile birth registration went as planned, Ours at the Coastal region of Kenya has stalled due to protocol issues from the part of the government (Perhaps you will help us in this). I think the paralegals should go further, ignorance is about having information but choosing to ignore.

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This is a very difficult challege @Purity_Wadegu - even within typical paralegal cases, clients may lose interest in the process. Paralegals must devote a lot of energy into follow-up in order to keep cases moving forward. With mobile birth registration, the goal is to bring the government services closer to the community - easing access - but it seems the same challenge remains. Many clients who came out to apply for birth certificates didn’t follow-up when the certificates were distributed.

@danielsesay @nadjagomes @mrhegde @marenabrinkhurst @lytteltonbraima @fatimaadamu @hassansesay @peninah_bhesp_org @Elsie_Joseph @KhinHtetWai @meenakshikapoor and anyone else - what is your experience with this challenge? How have you kept clients or communities fully involved throughout an entire case or process? As paralegals whose goal is empowerment, what strategies might better catalyze client motivation and follow-up?

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Thank you @lauragoodwin for sharing your frustration. This is not unique to paralegals alone, or for that matter Myanmar. I’ve heard this from frontline staff in other programs as well. Just two points I want make. Firstly, empowerment, like learning, is a two way street. The teacher teaches the lesson, but it is also the responsibility of the pupil to study in order to pass the exam. Paralegals should constantly remind their clients about the importance of ‘demand-and-utilization’ aspects of empowerment. Clients should know that they must use the information provided by paralegals in order to get their problems solved. I’d suggest paralegals include simple messages that tell clients the responsibility to use the information.

Secondly, for the resolution of every case, paralegals and clients should agree upfront on the tasks/duties the client should perform based on the information provided. Whether individual/community level problem, the client (s) should do an undertaken (a sort of compact) of what each side will do within a specific time frame. After certain period of work, they would then meet to review progress (mutual accountability) – what was accomplished, what was not and why, what help is needed to get it done. Sometimes the gains can be small, but incrementally things get done at the end of the day.

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Thanks @lytteltonbraima @lauragoodwin @Lore for sharing your perspective, it is truly a challenge as we continue to encounter with the clients in the office. We shall try to apply some of your suggestions and see the successes. Through this, we have been able to see that sometimes empowerment takes a lot more than just giving information to the clients.

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@lauragoodwin It is always very important to communicate your fears up-front to the client. A good example was in our land project.

In 2012, a company called Kiscol in Kwale County wanted to expand their sugarcane plantation, hence they approached the community for land acquisition. Some of the community leaders sort our guidance on the terms and we gave them our informed opinion. It was agreed that a public meeting to be arranged to discuss the ssue with the affected community. The meeting was organized and representatives from Kiscol were present. To our surprise, the same community leaders who had came to us for the advice stood up and said that the affected community are contented with the deal, and that our organization had planned to incite the people. We had to change the agenda to be friendly, but warned the community to take care and we wished them well.

In 2014, the same group from that community came back to our office to complain that they were not given adequate compensation. At that point we were left with no option but to tell theme the truth by reminding them the 2012 incident.

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Thanks Laura for bringing this up, we have shared your question with all paralegals, legal empowerment advocates and other experience people here and we are discussing it at the moment. We are bringing out our various ideas and experiences on what is responsible for this and how it could be addressed. Discussions are ongoing-we are planning to put the ideas together and I would share it with you as soon as we are done. Thanks very much for bringing up this important issue

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I have been following this discussion and to be honest it is a complex issue. @danielsesay I have been waiting for the feedback of how your discussions went. As a mentor of the Kenya citizenship paralegal project, whats your advice on this issue?

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