Volunteering plays a great role in Paralegal work and its development. Paralegal is required to have the spirit and passion of volunteerism, though there are some kind of paid Paralegal but majority work as volunteers. Now, I have observed that some Paralegal lack the spirit of volunteering and therefore every thing they demand payment in their work. We need to know that we are serving poor people who need legal aid services for the aim of obtaining justice. Some times client come to you to get assistance from rural area lack even transport to return back to his area, you will find that you are required to give him legal aid and transport fee as well. As a Volunteer Consultant I suggest the idea of providing volunteer training before recruiting and after, and even these training should be part of refresher coarse. Also, we can look the side of providing awareness training to school students about Paralegal and aspect of volunteering for the aim of having young and energetic Paralegal at the future. It is great to see Paralegal who are old from different fields and professions since the characteristic of wisdom help them to solve conflicts in good way within the community. Previous month I provided short session training for four Paralegal Unit in Zanzibar about Paralegal and volunteering and I saw the importance of topic to our Paralegal. Volunteers engagement to Paralegal organizations is another area that should be taken into consideration so as to bring efficiency and solve the problem of man power within the organizations I am fan of this statement;- " The strongest people make time to help others even they are struggling with their own personal problems"
I fully agree with you as this is done with love and also wanting to assist disadvantaged communities, however it becomes a challenge if the paralegals providing the services are not getting support for the work they do and are themselves struggling to put food on the table.
I agree with you totally. But what do we make of some working as paid staff of NGOs and are paralegal? Are they doing volunteering work in this case?
I am of the opinion that volunteers cum paralegals should be paid no matter how small when they volunteer their time. That can motivates and open route for others to enter the field.
Hello Teboho and Dennis, I am happy to participate in this discussion. The paralegals are doing a lot of ground work and they really deserve support. In Canada the provision of legal services is strictly regulated and this creates a monopoly for the lawyers. Many people can not afford to pay for a lawyer and many parties self-represent themselves in the courts. This is the reality. I am happy to see so many enthusiastic people who are dedicated to help to their communities. I am interested an would like to help in Namati maybe with some project. I will send to you invitations in LinkedIn and will be happy if you accept them. Thank you very much for your time. Truly yours, Alexandar
Great, I hope more to get more network for working with Paralegals
I agree with the sentiments above. It is recognisable that paralegals are very necessary at the community level and that they enhance access to justice especially to those of lesser means most being women, elderly and children. There are however areas that need improvement so that their role in enhancing access to justice does not itself provide impediment. Training is an imperative part of their serving community. Also some of them work in very challenging environments and they in some cases forced to use their personal resources to support the course. This may lead to unsustainability
I have been volunteering in community work in Mombasa for some time now and did not know much about the law. I recently got invited for a 5 day paralegal training via Amkeni wa Kenya, UNDP and EU sponsorship. I feel so empowered after the workshop. The training was so informative and i wished for it to continue and has made me eager for another one. I had so many misperceptions about Law and Lawyers. Most of the time thinking they are inadequate as most cases in court took time to be heard and sentencing also took forever. Going for this important paralegal workshop made me have a change at our law. It does not oppress our people. The law is there to protect our rights but people are the ones who are the perpetrators and do not follow the law. Knowledge is indeed power. They are so many institutions in Kenya fighting for our rights. Earlier not knowing where to go incase of wanting an ID, birth certificate etc and being refused service by a public servant usually seeking bribes. The office of Administrative Justice-Ombudsmen and Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission usually handle such complaints but at the community level most people are not aware of this.
There is more need for such trainings and workshop to continue. Studying law is expensive for most of us but it necessary and was really thankful to the sponsors. More information and awareness needs to reach the community level here in Mombasa which has not happened. They are many who suffer alot in silence.
I am wishing to get connected to more networks and organisations to be able to receive a more thorough training on being a Paralegal and law especially human right and children rights. I was also introduced to Mediation through the same workshop and found this a very important aspect and a very useful resource for Alternative Dispute Resolution. How to get connected to such networks is why i joined Namati. More sensitisation is needed at the communities. Most do not know what steps to follow in case of abuse, infringement of their rights. Which courts to proceed to present their case. So on and so forth. Namati as i have perused through most of the topics and discussion is such a network as it is advanced and has alot of members.
Right, community volunteering is fast way for community development not waiting for support from outside your community.