New member introductions (9-22 July 2020)

Welcome new members! :wave:

We are glad you are here. This a space where you can make new friends from around the world and keep in touch for solidarity, learning, sharing and collaboration.

Here in this topic we bring together new members to celebrate your arrival.

Please introduce yourself! How did you find us and what prompted you to join? What are you working on right now that you want to share or that you need help with? Just add a reply using the blue Reply button at the bottom.


Dear Members of the Global Legal Empowerment Network,

Thank you very much for an invitation and for giving us an opportunity to introduce ourselves. My name is Godfrey Philimon, I am Country a Coordinator for the People’s Health Movement Tanzania (PHM Tanzania) as well as health Advocate in Tanzania. After attending several causes in 2012, I established the health movement country circle organization known as the PHM Tanzania that I am currently leading as a Country Coordinator. We are the People’s Health Movement Tanzania (PHM Tanzania). In 2015, we were registered (National Non-Governmental Organization with number 00NGO/08144 under the United Republic of Tanzania NGO Act 2002, made under section 12(2) of Act No. 24 of 2002) as a movement NGO in Tanzania that use ‘‘Human-Rights Based Approach’’ to bring all Health and Human Rights activists to support and promote the right to health, food and nutrition in Tanzania.

The People’s Health Movement Tanzania overall role is campaigning to make the Right to Health real for all Tanzanians. We bring grassroots health activists, civil society organizations, policy-makers and academic institutions from Tanzania to engage in advocacy and policy dialogue with the common goal of transforming the Tanzanian health system. We are part of a wider network of People’s Health Movements in 70 countries around the world advocating for Primary Health Care and Universal Health Coverage. We support and learn from each other’s efforts, amplifying our voices and building a bridge between the local and the global.

Our vision is to make the Right to Health Real for All Tanzanians.

Our mission is to bring all health and human rights activists to support and promote the right to health, food and nutrition as a basic human right.

Our Activities range from advocacy to policy dialogue with a common goal of transforming the Tanzanian health system and challenge the all outdated Tanzania health-related policies.

To honour the 100th anniversary of their founder, Nelson Mandela in 2018 The Elders chose to celebrate grassroots leaders working for the freedoms Madiba dedicated his life; peace, health, justice and equality. This organisation, or ‘Spark of Hope’, was recognized by The Elders as one of 100 organisations each representing a unique idea for a freer, fairer world the Elders want to see.

Since then, we have led several mobilization activities focusing on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Tanzania. Our strategies to advance health rights discourse include using social media, email, Whatsapp to mobilize and train new activists; engaging the community to change thinking and behaviour toward the right to health and Social Determinants of Health; using “informal media” like plays/music for education, advocacy and policy dialogues. The organization is mainly engaged in popular education to hold the health system to account and is trying to build a culture of health as a field of civil society advocacy and intervention.

For three years (2017 - 2020), PHM Tanzania estimates that a population of more than 23 million people have been reached and impacted with our UHC Campaigns in Tanzania. Regardless of resources shortage challenges, we were able to recruit about ten (10) young volunteers from Tanzania who works as Social Media Influencers online. More important, following technological advancement and increased Internet penetration in Tanzania whereby until 2018 the number of internet users through social media users such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter reached 23 Million which equals to 45 per cent of the whole Tanzanian population. This means, if social media is to be effectively used by multi-stakeholders, information about UHC and COVID19 will easily reach not less than 20 million people daily.

Also, PHM Tanzania as an active member of the Tanzania Human Rights Defender Coalition (THRDC) won an internal prize for disseminating health rights in social media at the 6th Anniversary of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders’ Day themed at ‘‘Claiming and Protecting Online Space for Promotion of Human Rights in 2019’’ where together with other 2 internal winners reached about 20 million men and women on health rights through mobile legal awareness.

We are also recognising The Elders support to PHM Tanzania because after recognizing us as a ‘Spark of Hope’ organization and their UHC mission to Tanzania it boosted our visibility and outreach to engage with the grassroots communities, CSOs partners including UHC2030, One Young World and the government toward achieving the UHC in Tanzania. The organization continues to make the government accountable and work with other stakeholders to ensure that the right to health is met for all Tanzanians and hence no one is left behind as the country moves closer to UHC. Our aspiration is greatly getting more opportunities to continue collaborating with other organisations/stakeholders to lobby the government to make these necessary changes to achieve UHC by 2030. We are leading national-level political activism for Primary Health Care (PHC) and UHC; and in collaboration with these stakeholders, we are closely monitoring the development and implementation of prospective policies.

As we continue adapting to the challenges created by this unprecedented pandemic as long term measure and solution, all countries need to continue working with Community Health Workers (CHWs) specifically on uplifting rights to health at the grassroots communities. PHM Tanzania believes that, as a long term measure and response to COVID-19 containment, the effectiveness of CHWs in addressing rights to health components for women and youth in relation to the social determinants to health will expedite the UHC among many countries. We look forward in enhancing the achievement of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal number three (SDG 3) and five (SDG 5) targets to achieving UHC, and women empowerment in access to quality essential healthcare services for all by the year 2030. The promotion of CHWs to support women and the youth-related preventive COVID-19 program will motivate more youth to join CHWs cadre and hence sustain UHC that will benefit women and girls at large.

We are excited to join you and proudly happy to know the presence of Global Legal Empowerment network because PHM Tanzania has been doing it partially in Tanzania and therefore joining you here is an opportunity for us to collaborate with everyone here and support PHM Tanzania achieve our organization’s purpose ‘‘Making Right To Health Real For All Tanzania’’. As we continue mobilizing communities around UHC in Tanzania we find some challenges due to the absence of a law that will guide UHC Political Declaration’s Key Targets, Commitments and Follow-up Actions implementation in Tanzania. There has been good progress so far. According to PHM Tanzania’s view, the country is progressing well on Ensure political leadership beyond health, Uphold quality of care, Invest more, invest better targets especially to Health Infrastructures, Medical Supplies and Health Workforce. Also, the country has gained a political will to achieve UHC by 2030. And according to the data from the Government, from the year 2015 to 2020, a total of 1198 Dispensaries, 884 Health Centers, 71 District Hospitals, 10 Regional and 3 Zonal Referral Hospitals have been built. Mothers giving birth at the hospital has increased from 64 per cent in 2015 to 83 per cent in 2020. Also, data shows that the number of referrals to abroad medical treatment has decreased by 95 per cent while the number of patients coming to Tanzania for specialized medical treatment such as heart and brain surgery has increased.

However, PHM Tanzania found that Tanzania needs to put more emphasis to UHC targets ''Leave no one behind, Legislate and regulate, Move together, Gender equality and Emergency preparedness. PHM Tanzania found that to achieve these remaining targets and commitments, the country should speed up the process of enacting a UHC law that will guide UHC implementation.

Therefore, due to the fact that the world continues facing post-COVID-19 challenges, PHM Tanzania looks forward to learning from the Global Legal Empowerment Network and collaborate potential partners to work on pressuring the government to speed up the process. As a start, we want to mobilize Community Paralegals to work with Community Health Workers in regards to the right to health. The constitution of Tanzania claim the right to health but it is currently being violated because (a). Claim holders do not have the capacity to effectively demand (claim) their rights, and (b). Because duty bearers do not have the capacity to fulfil their obligations (correlative duties). We are no longer going to go to beg for changes to be implemented; we are now going to demand them based on existing international law clauses already enforced and signed by Tanzania. We want to speed up the ratification and localization of this UHC key target and commitments by 2030. With Community Paralegals and Community Health Workers, we want to create awareness at grassroots that will pressurize government establish the National UHC Key Targets Development and Monitoring Mechanisms to speed up the process of legalizing UHC in Tanzania.

The overarching results to achieve the project aims to enhance the right to health skills and knowledge of Community Paralegals, Community Health Workers (CHWs), Young people, School Teachers and Adult on post-COVID-19 challenges by linking it with the social determinants of health in improving health governance at a grassroots level. We aim at disseminating COVID-19 information and roles of community health workers in line with the National Emergency Preparedness and Response Strategy and National Policy and Guidelines on CHWs to respective Community Health Committees at grassroots communities in Tanzania. We aim at promoting women’s health rights through awareness creation sessions (local-to-local dialogues) as we continue to build back better in Tanzania.

Thank you very much for the invitation to this special Legal Empowerment Network! We look forward to learning and collaborating with the network until we achieve the right to health in Tanzania.

Best regards,

Godfrey Philimon Country Coordinator, People’s Health Movement Tanzania

+255659977752 | | : godfrey.philemon

P. O. Box 75619

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My name is Daniel from.and am a member and welcome all new members …i live in kiserian village kenya

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Dear Members of the Global Legal Empowerment Network

Namaste (Greetings)

Thank you very much for an invitation and for giving us an opportunity to introduce ourselves.

My name is Ajay Shankar Jha “Rupesh” (Mr.), recently working with Public Defender Society of Nepal (PDS-Nepal) as an Executive Director. I have joined ILF-Nepal (A project of the International Legal Foundation, USA (ILF)) in 2008 after working for eight years as a private advocate, when the ILF established the first public defender office in Nepal to fill a critical gap in criminal legal aid services that the government of Nepal has neither the resources nor the capacity to provide. In 2017, the ILF spun off PDS-Nepal, demonstrating the success of its approach to building sustainable, locally-run, quality, effective legal aid programs in post-conflict and transitioning countries. Besides providing direct legal representation as a trained defense lawyer, I also actively involved in conducting a series of training to defense lawyers of Nepal. I have participated in an expert group meeting to provide suggestions on the draft handbook named “Early access to legal aid in criminal justice processes: a handbook for policymakers and practitioners”, developed by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and also provided views on the draft of “Model Law on Legal Aid in Criminal Justice System”, developed by (UNODC). I obtained my Bachelor’s in Law from Tribhuwan University in 2000 & Legisum Laterum Masterom (LLM) in Criminal Law & Justice from Purbanchanl University of Nepal.

PDS-Nepal is the only Nepali non-profit a nongovernmental organization with the mission to ensure fair and effective access to justice, to develop a public defender system in Nepal, and to work to develop the efficiency and sustainability of a Nepal public defender system. While other civil society organizations provide legal aid services, most are focused on providing services to victims and legal aid in civil cases. Only PDS-Nepal has as its sole mission the provision of quality, effective criminal defence services in the criminal courts and quasi-judicial bodies.

PDS-Nepal’s lawyers (previously with ILF-Nepal) have represented over approximately 9,000 poor and vulnerable persons accused of crimes, close to 70% of whom are members of marginalized groups in Nepal, including Dalits, Janajati, Madhesi, and Muslims. A substantial portion of these cases is adjudicated before quasi-judicial bodies that have jurisdiction over petty offenses. To-date, PDS-Nepal has been the only legal aid organization providing representation before quasi-judicial bodies. PDS-Nepal has also been a leader in promoting the right to early access to counsel; to date, over 50% of PDS-Nepal’s clients have been contracted during the critical early stages of the case. Further, PDS-Nepal focuses its attention in areas where rights violations are more likely to occur; over one-third of PDS-Nepal’s cases are tried before quasi-judicial bodies that are historically known for ill-treatment and discrimination. PDS-Nepal also works with government, civil society, and justice sector actors to promote change on a broader scale through training and capacity-building.

Five years ago, the earthquake that devastated Nepal exposed the injustices faced by poor and vulnerable detainees trapped in overcrowded, unsafe, and unsanitary detention facilities. Today, the situation has only worsened and is compounded by a new threat: COVID-19. To respond to COVID-19 threats to more vulnerable people deprived of their liberty, our special service is continuing to facilitate them in a court proceeding to protect their right to life, health, and fair trial.

We are successfully able to challenge the suspension of remand hearing and resulting illegal pretrial detention during COVID-19, lockdown, and won a ruling that children who have been convicted and sentenced to a juvenile detention center have the right to request resentencing to home confinement. Please visit our website to get more information about our work during COVID-19 lockdown in Nepal.

We are very pleased to be a part of this network for good cause.

Ajay Shankar Jha “Rupesh”

Executive Director



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