Drafting Legal Aid Policy and Creating A Pro bono Lawyers Portal/Application in Tanzania


(Bernard Otieno) #1

Dear members,

Greetings from Himiza Social Justice,

Himiza Social Justice is a non profit making organization working to promote access to justice in Geita region of Tanzania. In achieving this noble goal, the organization has a legal and policy advocacy program with its core activity of provision of legal aid to the community. Currently the organization has trained 150 paralegals, has three volunteer legal aid officers (lawyers), accountant, and two supporting staff.

After attending the course in Budapest last year, our organization and I committed to start implementing the Legal Aid Act No. 1 of 2017. Among other things, the organization has to organize lawyers who would provide legal aid to the needy. With this the organization has seen a need to create a portal or an application that will enable registering lawyers passionate about provision of legal aid in their respective areas. We intend to create this application which should be accessible to large number of people countrywide. And the idea here is just to link the members of the community in need of legal aid with lawyers who are willing to provid legal aid within their respective areas. Our organization will act as a coordinating organ between the lawyer and the client. The reason why we want to do this, is to support the work of paralegals which have been established under the Legal Aid Act in Tanzania. Still paralegals cannot represent clients before the district courts to the court of appeal. The intervention of having these lawyers connected to the network will enable the paralegals within the country to also get their clients access for legal aid to these pro bono lawyers.

What assistance we want: the assistance that we want from this idea is to help in sharpening it and even to receive some constructive criticism. And also to get someone who can help us build the application or portal-a friendly one which will connect the rural communities. Rough estimate in Tanzania is that about 70% of the population own mobile phones. This is one of the powerful tool that will help the community members access their services through mobile phones.

We are open to receive any advice about this idea.

Regards

Bernard Otieno Executive Director Himiza Social Justice


(Stacey Cram) #2

Hi there, in this webinar @ConstantinusKristo shared an interesting example from Indonesia -where they have an online platform and an app for legal aid which helps connect people to providers, provides legal information and helps to track legal needs. You can see more on the project here and on the Google Play App Store. He may be able to offer some insights and learnings on this project and how you can start to develop your application and tools!


(Stacey Cram) #3

I also share an office space with this company - I don’t know all that much about them, but I would be happy to make an introduction if they look of interest to you - https://www.legal.io/


(Kevin Nam) #4

i can be of some help in case you need an app or a portal


(Bernard Otieno) #5

Hi Kevin I am so thankful for your reply and readiness to help. Please provide me with your email address so as to continue this discussion.


(Bernard Otieno) #6

Stacey thank you so much for sharing this information. I will have a loot at and get back to you for any question that I might have.


(Kevin Nam) #7

thanks @Otieno if you on gmail’s hangout we can liaise on the same


(Bernard Otieno) #8

Kevin received with many thanks.


(Bernard Otieno) #9

Stacey thank you again for your help. You can please connect me with these people and see how they can help.


(Nidhisha Philip) #10

Hi Bernard,

Legal Aid Ontario (a government organisation in charge of coordinating legal aid) has built a reasonably user friendly and intuitive portal here. Do check it out.

A not very good example is the pro bono portal built by UNDP for the Indian ministry of law and justice. I understand that this has not been very successful in getting volunteer lawyers or connecting them with those in need.


(Tobias Eigen) #11

Lovely to see this emerging collaboration.

For your convenience, I removed the email addresses from this thread. Because this is a public forum it is better to avoid sharing email addresses and orher sensitive info since it might be picked up by spammers.

In future, I recommend that you use forum PMs to directly and more privately chat and share emails.

Whatever you collaborate offline or privately, please report back your learnings and achievements here for the benefit of all members of the network!


(Bernard Otieno) #12

Dear Nidhisha,

Thank you so much for your iemail and this is so useful. I will have a look at it.

Regards

Bernard


(Bernard Otieno) #13

Thank you so much for your help Nidhisha.


(Katrina Noyes) #14

Hi Bernard! I was in Budapest last year as well, so it is nice to hear from you.

I am tagging @ncamburian, who has experience with online pro bono portals in Moldova and may wish to engage in this conversation.


(Bernard Otieno) #15

Hi Katrina,

Thank you so much for your introduction. I am happy to learn we were toghether with you in Budapest. I’m eagerly waiting for the response.

Regards

Bernard


(Esther Delaire) #16

Hi, I’am Esther from haiti. In my country many international organisation’s and also grassroots organisation organize a kind of projects for vulnerable people. Legal aid is very important specially in Haiti a poor country that the judicial system is very bad and many projects lunch to us aid try to reinforcement and reform the penal cha in. I’d like to deal with you regarding a kind.of project in order to share it with stakeholders in my country.


(Bernard Otieno) #17

Hi Esther what kind of activities were you thinking to carry out if I may ask?


(Natalia Camburian) #18

Thank you @katrinanoyes for the tagg. I am very happy to share our experience.

Hi @Otieno, I am from Moldova. We supported the development of a similar platform https://yavo.md/ The web platform was created by a private Law Firm who was willing to donate their time and answer to simple legal questions.

4th session_Alexandru Turcan_yAvo.md.pptx (1.7 MB)

I have uploaded a short presentation about the platform. Let me know if you want me to put in touch with the yavo team for more details.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

Natalia


(Bernard Otieno) #19

Dear Nathalia,

Thank you so much for your efforts. Please continue connecting with the firm.

Regards

Bernard



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