Duration: August, 2015 to October, 2016 Place: Kilindi DC, Tanzania
This is a one year project with a goal of ensuring access to justice, land rights and gender equity in local communities by 2016. The project is being implemented at Kilindi district, Tanga region. The total of 12,900 direct and indirect beneficiaries was targeted to be reached by the project. The project targeted women, paralegals, law enforcers, and community members, traditional and influential leaders in the area. During the project life span various activities had been conducted in order to reach the target. Those activities include training of 188 paralegals, 8 from each ward among 21 wards in Kilindi district. The trained paralegals are currently providing legal aid services in their respective wards
Envirocare organized and conducted a campaign walk on land right advocacy within Kilindi district. This campaign was leaded by district administrative Secretary Dr Philis Nyimbi of Kilindi distict council, on behalf of district commissioner. The campaign walk started at Kilindi district council grounds and ended at Songe bus stand grounds. The campaign reached almost 3000 people and most of them were women.
Furthermore, Envirocare conducted 5 public meetings on land and gender issues. These meetings were conducted in the following wards the number of attendants in bracket at Bokwa(268), Masagalu(133), Kisangasa(234) Kilwa(111) and kilindi(243) wards in Kilindi district. Various facilitators participated in these meetings including Mr Natus Manumbu, from Kilindi district council, urban planning department, Catherine Jerome Envirocare DED, Philip Joseph, Finance manager, Fredrick Silayo, Logistics officer and Godlisten Muro, Envirocare’s project officer.
Mkombozi Lusewa is one of the prominent paralegal residents in Songe ward Kilindi district. Apart from dealing with different cases including land conflicts, matrimonial, criminal, probate and inheritance the case which he resolved and can be taken as a good successful story of legal aid provisions by paralegals, is the case between Asha Bakari and her husband. In this conflict the man was harassing his wife and forcing her to work excessively in their farm but after the harvest the woman was not allowed to get any profit from the harvests although she contributed her labour during the cultivation season. At one time this brutal husband harassed his wife to the extent that her wise was thinking of committing suicide. When a man heard that his wife wants to commit suicide due to his harassment he told her that she could continue with killing herself since he had enough cattle’s for funeral. Asha Bakari decided to seek for legal remedies against his husband including claiming for divorce and by starting she sought legal advice from the paralegals (Mkombozi). Paralegals in cooperation with police gender desk decided to summon her husband in order to mediate them the process which failed and then advised her to institute a matrimonial case at Songe primary court where after the hearing of the case the court decided in favor of the wife and a divorce decree was offered. Asha Bakari received her matrimonial shares and there after she has been living a successful life with her children. Hat off to Songe paralegals
During the time of implementation of this project Envirocare has learned various lessons which are;
- Extension of legal education to different members of the community including farmers and pastoralist’s communities will help to reduce a number of land conflicts between pastoralists and farmers.
- Conducting training to Paralegals frequently enables them to increase their legal knowledge and hence they can offer quality legal aid.
- Village land certificates contributed to reducing land conflicts in respective villages hence there is a need of ensuring that many villages are assisted to obtain village land certificates.
This project has been a successful one and it has attained various achievements which are elucidated here in below.
- The number of land conflicts has rapidly declined due to quality legal aid provided by paralegals by 45%.
- Community members in Kilindi district have built a trust to paralegals after successful legal aid and awareness raising through village meetings.
- Community members in Kilindi district are aware of their rights and how to demand of the same.
- The number of cases reported to the offices of law enforces such as ward Executive officers has dropped by 48%. Many cases were resolved by paralegals before reaching village and ward offices.
- The cases on gender based violence and violence against children have reduced due to legal literacy provided by paralegals in their respective villages. Before there were high rate of reported cases to tribunal and ward offices on the same. However, due to legal aid and legal awareness families settle the disputes amicably.
Whenever there is a success there are also some challenges which may be encountered. The challenges encountered in implementation of this project are;
- Poor infrastructure and access of poor roads in many parts of project area, roads have been badly destroyed by rainfalls.
- Inadequate cooperation from the village authorities due to conflict of interest.
- Inadequate cooperation from some villagers to paralegals due to inadequate knowledge on the duties of paralegals and legal literacy.
The total number of 12,900 direct and indirect beneficiaries reached by the project. Various groups were targeted by the project which includes, Selected disadvantaged individuals for land titling (20 Female and 10 male), Paralegals (20 Female and 10 Male), Legal aid Clients in 10 wards (6,000 Female and 1,800 Male), Direct beneficiaries from income generating activities (20 Female and 10 male), Community members (1,000 Female and 500 Male), Children and youth (2,000 Female and 1,500 Male).
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The future plan is to extend the same project at the project area in order to increase the knowledge on land and property rights to women, men and law enforcers that will ensure access to justice, land rights and gender equity in local communities by engaging champions in local community for social change, empowerment of voiceless and indigenous groups out of extreme poverty, reducing gender based violence in the society and legal empowerment of women.
Activities planned for the future
- Sensitize local community on procedures of land acquisition, income generation activities and tenure system
- Empower paralegals with legal knowledge and human rights skills to ensure quality legal aid service provision in local community and public
- Conduct sensitization meetings with law enforcers on human rights and good governance
- Prepare, produce and disseminate legal awareness materials
- Strengthen legal aid and counseling unit at Envirocare headquarter.