Paralegal recognition pushing forward in Nigeria

Continuing the discussion from Progress updates from the learning exchange in Bangladesh with BNWLA, I wanted to start a new post to highlight @fatimaadamu’s progress towards pushing the national discussion of recognition of community paralegals in Nigeria forward.

She writes:

Hello everyone, hope we are all doing great. Happy new year to us all. For us at IWEI , the year is starting on a good note for our paralegal work. We are going to be hosting a seminar on paralegal recognition and legitimization in Kano but we are bringing together a 100 practitioners from all the regions of our country. We have representatives from the National ministry of justice, the judiciary, the legislators, The Bar Association, FIDA and others. This is meant to create a buzz and start real discussions around legitimization and recognition. please follow @IWEIng on twitter to get information, add iwei on SKYPE or use #ISUPPORTPARALEGALS on the 22nd of February, 2016 to participate in discussion. 9am our time.

I also wanted to bring @Ore_Ohimor from Nigeria into the discussion as he recently expressed interest

…in public-interest law especially in terms of working with local communities to improve justice delivery in line with basic law principles, as well as developing a system for training and supporting paralegals in local communities. Would be glad to learn from your experience and share your contacts.

@mustafa_mahmoud, @abigailmoy, @KhanyisileNtsenge, @nomboniso and others can follow your progress here too. #ISUPPORTPARALEGALS Continuing the discussion from Progress updates from the learning exchange in Bangladesh with BNWLA:

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Congratulation Fatma Adamu for your initiative toward paralegal recognition in Nigeria.

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@fatimaadamu gave me a call recently to tell me some of the details of what has been happening in Nigeria lately and I realize that she is far too humble! In regards to pushing forward paralegal recognition in Nigeria, @fatimaadamu and other colleagues have identified solid legal grounds in the Legal Aid Council Act 2011 (Article 17) to make each of Nigeria’s State Legal Aid Offices recognize community paralegals, who would be functioning directly under that Office and given a form of accreditation by them. The major hurdle is to ensure that the paralegals have a standard level of training and capacity, which Fatima has been working on networking paralegals nationally to develop a system of capacity building and incorporating the Legal Aid Office in the training and accreditation.

This is really something incredible and I congratulate @fatimaadamu for her drive to get to this point! @abigailmoy, @mckinleycharles, @Ore_Ohimor, @staceycram - I will keep you all informed of how things progress with this.

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Thanks for this update @michaelotto and well done @fatimaadamu on this accomplishment! It seems like there could be another good opportunity for partners to learn from each other’s experience in this process. As part of the new Legal Aid law which has been passed in Kenya today, the government have asked for one standard curriculum to be adopted for paralegal accreditation which will be overseen by the national Council on Legal Education. Kenya already has many organisations which accredit paralegals and so this process should be more focused on consolidating existing resources and creating a standard level of training. It would be good to hear more on how this curriculum is being developed in Nigeria, and what challenges there have been in creating a standardised curriculum, how has this affected existing paralegals, have they had to retrain and there financial implications to that? @mustafa_mahmoud @Faith and @AngoteGertrude looping you in on this development as I know Aimee is working on this from your side. @opepeters

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@staceycram seems Kenya is ahead of us as it is. We have just found a way to get our governement to reccognize paralegals especially the community based paralegals. We have just started to engage them using the LAC Acr 2011. One of the challenges raised is the issue of standardizing trainings and having a uniform curriculum . @michaelotto thank you for helping us blow our trumpet, you do it better than we can and its encouraging. @Faith @mustafa_mahmoud and @AngoteGertrude lets hear and learn from you, we on our part will update you as we progress.

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Great job. I will be following this initiative closely

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@fatimaadamu, i want to thank you for your concern in ensuring paralegal work in Nigeria, that point stated is clear, building capacity for paralegal pioneer groups in Nigeria is very important,how to properly channels issues and ensure those in authority act on them is key to any form of development in local communities. i also want to appreciate the effort of the @OreOhimor, @GREENCODE and others

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Thank you brother. Its a global movement in my opinion that would help us achieve goal 16 of the SDGs. There is a lot of community engagement going on, we try at every opportunity to bring up discussions and focus on community based paralegals. @OreOhimor kindly like the Facebook page of Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative or Community Based Paralegal. You may also wish to make contact via emial using [email protected] so we can introduce you to our existing network and learn from you what you have been doing so far. It would also serve as an opportunity for us to harmonies efforts. looking forward to hearing from you soon. Weldone all.

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thank you very much Fatima

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