Bernard Otieno is an Advocate of the High Court and Court of Appeal of Tanzania. In Tanzania, Bernard is a champion of disability rights advocacy. He started working in the disability rights advocacy program immediately after his college education in 2008 with New Light Children Center Organization (NELICO) in Tanzania. His inspiration to work in the area of disability rights came during the outbreak of killing and chopping of body parts of persons with albinism for ritual sacrifice and or superstitious reasons. Bernard’s remarkable achievement with NELICO was to develop a three year project proposal (2009-2012) which was funded by the Better Way Foundation, a US based non-profit organization on ‘Prevention of Killing of People with Albinism’. After leaving NELICO in 2012, Bernard worked with Neema House Tanzania before co-founding Himiza Social Justice in 2014 which focuses, among others, on community empowerment, legal aid, and legal advocacy on the rights of persons with disabilities. He also practices law with Rafiki Attorneys & Company Advocates as its Founder & Managing Partner. Bernard holds a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from the American University Washington College of Law, in Washington D.C, USA specializing on law and disability, international investment law and international commercial arbitration. He further holds a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from the Open University of Tanzania, Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (PGDL) from the Law School of Tanzania and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree from the University of Iringa (formerly Tumaini University Iringa University College). Bernard
Bernard holds a number of scholarships including 2019 Open Society Foundations Master Disability Rights Scholarship at the American University Washington College of Law, American University Disability Rights Scholar, 2018 Obama Foundation Leader: Africa Program, and a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leadership Initiatives (YALI) and 2019 Scholarship on Advanced Courses on International Trade Policy and Trade Law at The Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (TRAPCA). He was also the 2019 UCLA Law -Sonke Health & Human Rights (LL.M) Fellowship finalist tenable at the University of California Loss Angeles.
In 2019 Bernard received East Africa Social Innovation Leadership Award by the WORLD CSR DAY and the STARS OF THE INDUSTRY GROUP. Bernard is passionate about mentoring young leaders (in government, business and civil society organizations), pro bono lawyering, disability rights, international trade and investment and strategic human rights litigation. He seeks resource mobilization and viable business partnerships.