Legal Empowerment and Advocacy for Reforms
WLAC strives to improve access to justice to women, children and refugees through provision of legal aid services, legal education and establishment of client’s forum that will provide space for client’s psychosocial support and identifying issues that affect women and children. The identified issues are researched upon and the report will be an evidence to advocate for reforms which will be pursued through litigation cases, strategic meetings and advocacy at national and international level through ratified treaties that the country is bound to abide to i.e. Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
WLAC provides legal aid service to needy women, children and refugees seeking legal redress of their rights. Legal aid services include legal education, legal counseling, court representation.
Legal aid services is provided through:
- Hotline services
- Mobile clinics
- Temeke One Stop Center Judiciary
Paralegal for community Justice
WLAC is the pioneer of paralegal schemes in Tanzania, and it has been using them (paralegals) as extended arms of WLAC legal aid services at the grassroots levels. Experience has revealed that paralegals play a significant role in ensuring that the poor and marginalized community members can easily access legal aid services within their reach. The first paralegal was established in 1992 namely Tanga paralegal centre in Tanga region under WLAC mentorship.
Hotline Legal Aid services for legal assistance
Provision of legal aid services through a free of charge hotline number 0800780100 was yet another outstretching strategy which facilitated WLAC to reach out hundreds of clients with minimal costs and convenience. WLAC was the first LAP to initiate this kind of legal aid service in Tanzania. It is further established that the hotline legal aid service does not benefit individual members of the community alone. A number of law enforcers and community local government leaders are using it to secure legal opinions from WLAC’s legal experts .
One of the beneficiaries of this service the Musoma Secondary school’s teacher, who had struggled for more than a year to rescue his salary from being erroneously deducted by the High Learning Student Loan Board, was easily resolved within a week or so after a call to WLAC, whereby, after lawyers’ interventions, his salary was rescued and deductions paid back to him. Before approaching WLAC for a help though hotline, the client teacher had already written a number of letters to the loan board, and that, he could not travel from Musoma to Dar es Salaam (more than 1,200 KMs) because of associated costs of follow ups (transport fare, hotel, etc).
Mobile Legal Aid service
One of the obstacles which inhibit women’s access to justice in rural settings, is the absence of legal aid services. As it is already shown above, majority of practicing lawyers and Legal Aid Providers (LAPs)are urban-based. Therefore, by taking the legal aid services down to the grassroots levels, facilitate needy persons to be heard and have their matters sorted out. With this unique strategy, the needy women and children, specifically those in hard to reach areas.
Child Protection and Legal Assistance to Children in Conflict with the Law
WLAC aimed at improving response and protection of Children through numerous intervention strategies, main ones being provision of legal aid services on civil and criminal cases; legal empowerment of children in retention facilities ; strengthening school clubs on child rights’ awareness; and, offering of capacity building trainings to teachers, law enforcers, Magistrates, etc. on child’s rights.