One of the common objectives of the citizenship paralegal projects in Kenya and Bangladesh is data collection for National level advocacy. In my opinion, paralegal models should have a wider objective, as much as the paralegals may assist clients in their application for different documents or to obtain services like in the health paralegal projects, the ultimate goal should be documenting the different bad practices that can later be used to generate policy briefs. The paralegal project managers should think of how the findings in the data collected could inform the asks to the national government and how the experience of a client could inform change of practice at the national level.
Council of Minorities paralegals filling in a case entry form for a client
In order to achieve this goal, there is need to collect data from the field by the paralegals. This data is collected in a case tracking form and a template can be downloaded from this link.
In Kenya and Bangladesh, the cases are tracked online using Salesforce, an online base database that was customized from the case tracking forms with support from @lauragoodwin and @micahperlin. In both countries, the database has been customized to track the unique cases fitting the country’s context.
In Kenya, the Nubian Rights Forum paralegals enter the cases directly into their Salesforce account and no longer use the case tracking forms. This allows real time tracking of cases and can be a powerful tool of tracking paralegal performance. However, this can only be attained if the paralegals are next to the office or have access to a computer and internet connection.
In Bangladesh, the paralegals use the case tracking forms and later send the forms to the Council of Minorities offices to be entered into the Salesforce database. This is done by a data entry person who is based at the office.
This is due to the fact that the Council of Minorities paralegals are based in different places in the country in different camps and most of them do not have internet connection. In Dhaka the paralegal centers are in Mohammadpur and Mirpur other centers are in Mymensingh, Khulna, Syedpur, and Chittagong.
Are you running a paralegal project? Are you collecting data? What tool are you using? Do you need help in figuring which mode to use? Lets share our experience…