On July 14th and 15th July 2016, Kituo Cha Sheria had the pleasure to host partners from Southern Africa on a working tour of Kenya. The team of access to justice peers included Nomboniso Nangu, Langa Mtshali, Clifford Masiska, and Anyango Oyieke. The team was drawn from South Africa’s National Alliance for the Development of Community Advice Offices (NADCAO) and the Paralegal Advisory Service Institute (PASI) from Malawi. The working tour was a feasibility study with stakeholders meant to examine the feasibility of establishing an African Centre of Excellence for Community Based Paralegals.
Day One of the tour began with a visit to Kituo’s justice centres – Kamiti Maximum Prison and the Kamukunji Community Justice Centers run by trained paralegals. Mr. Langa Mtshali (NADCAO-Chairman) appreciated the work done by the prison paralegals in ensuring access to justice for the inmates. Kituo’s Executive Director, Gertrude Angote also welcomed the work of the prison center . She said the prison paralegals play a crucial role in ensuring justice to fellow inmates through the appeals they make to the courts in view of the advocate-client ratio in Kenya today.
The prison paralegals through their leaders Murwa Tetu and Monjo took the visitors and Kituo group through what they do at the justice centre, citing their successes as well as challenges. Top on the successes was the fact that the paralegals were initially 28 in number but right now they are 18. This is because through their appeals to the courts, some of them have been acquitted of their offences and sentence. As a result, the paralegals requested for more training to have more inmates becoming paralegals thereby helping their colleagues access justice.
Moving to Kamukunji, the community jusctice centre paralegal, Ezekiel Njenga welcomed the guests and introduced his team. Like in Kamiti, Ezekiel gave a brief overview of the work done at the centre with interjections and additions from fellow community paralegals.
Nomboniso Nangu, the director at NADCAO lauded the justice centres model and the costs saved for all parties involved by handling matters at the earliest opportunity.
Day Two of the working tour saw the team hosted for stakeholder’s conversation at the Ngong Hills Hotel,Nairobi; the day-long session brought together partner organizations working with paralegals in Kenya. Participants includedICJ-Kenya, FIDA-Kenya, Community Based Development Services (COBADES), the Legal Resources Foundation Trust (LRF) and the Kenya Prisons Services. The discussions centered on Paralegal Practice in Kenya including successes, challenges and recommendations for the center of excellence model. The working tour was spearheaded by Kituo’s Advocacy Officers Faith Ochieng’ and Ashioya Biko.

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