Tanzania: Zanzibar Paralegals to Promote Legal Aid Provision

ABOUT 103 paralegals have been provided with refresher training on existing laws, regulations, guidelines and policies which are related to paralegal work in Zanzibar.

The training also facilitated the paralegals with necessary skills for implementation of their work, which is to support marginalized community in need of legal aid services to access legal education and assistance at no cost across the country.

Speaking on behalf of the other refreshers during the training held in Pemba yesterday, Mr Rashid Hasan Mshamata from Wete said the training has equipped them with skills and techniques in providing legal aid and education in the communities, particularly on how to deal with legal issues, ethics, their mandate in dispute resolution, understanding and interpretation of the law to mention a few.

"The training we received has been of vital importance, because it reflected our duties related to the provision of legal aid and education to the communities," he said.

He further said that during the training, a strong call was made for the paralegals to make use of the acquired skills in executing their daily obligations.

"Paralegals were urged to adhere to provided guidelines as well as increase working relationship with the government," he said.

On her part, Ms Zaina Omari Othman from Micheweni said the training has become an important empowerment tool for them in implementing their duties on legal aid to the community.

"We are happy to learn new things that have added value to our understanding on various legal issues that will bring positive impact in the society we serve," she said.

She said the training has further enhanced their understanding of legal rights pertaining to people with special needs in the community.

However, Capacity Development Officer from LSF, Victoria Mshana said the objective of the training was to update the existing paralegals as required by the legal aid act of Zanzibar.

"It meant to update paralegals on the existing laws, regulations, guidelines and policies related to paralegal work to ensure quality of service at all times.

"LSF works closely with the government on both Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar to promote access to justice for the needy, especially women and other vulnerable groups," said Victoria.

She added that with the training, it is expected that paralegals will abide by legal aid providers regulations, including registration of legal aid providers in the system.

She further highlighted that the refresher training in Unguja has been postponed due to the Corona outbreak.

Legal Services Facility LSF supports paralegal work in the country, where more than 3950 active paralegals are located in every district of Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar to offer legal education to the community so that they can know and use the law to access their rights, but they also offer legal aid services to the marginalised community at no cost.

On average, paralegals attend to over 70,000 cases yearly, where 60 per cent of these cases are resolved while 22 per cent are ongoing cases and 16 per cent are referred to higher authority while two per cent are unresolved cases.

Most cases attended by paralegals are related to land disputes, matrimonial and criminal cases, child maintenance and gender based violence case.

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