LEGAL ASSISTANCE & SOCIAL WELFARE ORGANISATION OF TANZANIA

  • DAR ES EALAAM

About Us

LASWOT Social Mission

LASWOT's social mission is to provide legal aid and socio-economic welfare services to unprivileged Tanzanians both in rural and urban areas. We plan to accomplish this mission through what we have done todate as well as what is being planned for the future. The following below explains it all:

1.0. Summary

LASWOT is a professional organisation that was established in March 2010. It provides legal aid, socio-economic welfare advice, research-based and technical knowledge as well as guidance to unprivileged groups and individuals in the Tanzanian society–those who could not afford the services under the prevailing (normal) socio-economic conditions. Beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries include poor people, rural peasants/smallholder farmers, widows, orphans and disabled, drug abuse victims, elderly people, vulnerable children, women and young girls as well as people living with HIV/AIDS. So far, the financing of LASWOT activities has been based solely on members’ volunteer work and monthly financial subscriptions from. Therefore, in order to scale up the level of the activities and reach out to more needy beneficiaries, there is a great need for LASWOT to forge strategic partnerships with relevant development partners in each area of our work as mentioned above.

2.0. Work done to-date

Currently, LASWOT has two operational departments – Legal Aid Department (LAD) and Socio-Economic Welfare Department (SED). These departments have recorded great achievements as follows:

2.1 Legal Aid Department (LAD) - headed by Gabriel Kamugisha, +255719927286, gbrlkamugisha@gmail.com

The department offers legal aid through mediation first, and in cases where the parties are not satisfied procedures are made to resolve the disputes through adjudication processes. LAD has offered legal aid about disputes of the following nature:

(i) Matrimonial causes

These have been conflicts concerning Matrimonial issues which include among others petition divorce, separation, maintenance of children, custody of children, division of matrimonial properties, etc. About 71 conflicts of this nature have been received and handled whereby 5 of them where resolved through adjudication process.

(ii) Probate causes

Conflicts of this nature involve the administration of estates left over by the deceased. 25 causes of this kind have been received and handled to-date, and all are still in progress.

(iii) Land disputes

These are about disputed landed properties; and 322 conflicts have been received and handled of which 10 have been resolved.

(iv) Labour disputes

These conflicts are about infringement of employee rights and benefits. 72 causes of this nature have been received and handled and all are still in progress.

(v) General legal advice

Other people have been coming to seek general advice that does not fall in the above main categories and LAD attended them accordingly. In this regard, 163 people have been given free legal aid.

2.2 Socio-Economic Welfare Department (SED) - headed by Domician Charles, +255756756830, +255784334960, chardoluf@yahoo.co.uk

(i) Project on assisting drug abuse victims in Temeke Municipality (ongoing since March 2011)

Drug abuse is a critical problem facing the largely unemployed Tanzanian youth especially in urban centres. This is justified by case studies supported by video clips that were undertaken by a team of LASWOT research experts in four wards of Temeke Municipality in which 4 groups (vijiwes) constituting 75 drug abusers were visited and interviewed on various socio-economic aspects of the drug abuse problem.

The interviewed drug victims come from the following wards (names of streets in brackets): Chang’ombe (Toroli), Tandika (Taa Nyekundu), Charambe (Mponda) and Mbagala (Zakhem). Our preliminary findings from the visited and interviewed drug abusers suggest the main causative factors of the problem include lack of socio-economic linkages resulting from persistent unemployment, instabilities in families, lack of future better prospects (e.g. education for the under 18 youth), and drug addiction that exacerbates the problem.

Basing on the above, LASWOT has come up with a proposal to assist this group of drug abuse victims and those on the verge of falling over. The package is to include establishment of background and nature of problems faced by the individuals prior to falling victims, provision of relevant counselling, provision of relevant training and specific tools on socio-economic aspects of life (e.g. basic entrepreneurial knowledge and skills) and finally conducting monitoring and evaluation in order to enable drug abusers convert back, rejoin and fit into the mainstream society. The plan is to cover all drug abuse vijiwes in 30 wards of Temeke Municipality. The budget is set at TZS206,000/= or US$132.90 for transforming 1 drug abuse victim; and the plan is to cover 100 victims in each of the 30 wards in Temeke, hence a total budget of TZS20.6 million or US$13,290.32 in 1 ward and TZS618 million or US$398,709.68 in all 30 wards in Temeke.

(ii) Provision of research-based training to rural smallholder farmers on best commodity production methods, value-addition and marketing locally and internationally (ongoing project since October 2010)

LASWOT carried out research on trade related challenges facing rural based commodity (coffee) producers in Tanzania. The research on coffee was completed in March 2011. Thereafter followed a task of using the research findings and lessons to prepare relevant materials for training the rural based commodity (coffee) farmers/producers on how the identified challenges/problems can be sorted out at the individual farmer, farmer group or local village government levels. The training material package was completed in April 2011 and its content include entrepreneurial skills, farm-based planning, budgeting and control, best farming practices (that uphold quality standards for market entry), financing farming activities, value addition, market assessment and evaluation, and formation of farmer groups or cooperatives for exploiting market/large order needs such as quality, volume requirements and price negotiation.

Training on the above was delivered to Karagwe commodity (coffee) producers from 17 June to 8 July 2011 and it directly covered 448 farmers (and more indirectly as books/manuals were read by many more subsequently) including leaders in all 28 wards located in Karagwe district in Kagera region. Basing on the same approach, LASWOT’s target is to directly cover 5,000 farmers in Kagera, Kigoma and Rukwa regions.

The preceding efforts are quite relevant to the current national policy stances namely Kilimo Kwanza (a Swahili meaning “Agriculture First” – geared towards boosting agriculture that supports livelihoods of 80% of Tanzanians and about 25% of merchandise exports in value) and MKUKUTA II (a Swahili abbreviation for the National Poverty Alleviation/Eradication Programme). The research and training/teaching are expected to bring development to rural based commodity producers/farmers through enhancement of incomes resulting from searching and selling to local and international markets with better crop prices.

(iii) Provision of legal and technical guidance to sensitised farmers on establishment of productive, stable and sustainable registered groups

As the programme in Karagwe continues [see (ii) above], we are currently providing legal and technical guidance to those groups (mainly smallholder farmers and livestock keepers) who have become sensitised and mobilised themselves such that they are ready to begin working towards forming into Cooperative Societies and/or Registered Groups. This is meant to enable them enhance their production methods and markets for their produce so as to realise better prices and hence fighting poverty effectively. The guidance we provide includes preparation of templates for Cooperative/Groups constitution or by laws in conformity with relevant Tanzania national laws and the corresponding regulations; report templates for economic condition of proposed Cooperatives/Groups as well as proforma annual budgets of income and expenditure for the envisaged groups. By April 2012, a total of 30 groups including Karagwe Agricultural Traders (KaragweAgro) have been assisted by LASWOT to secure registration from the Government’s Business Registrations and Licencing Agency (BRELA). More and more rural farmers in Karagwe are getting sensitised and motivated to form into (registered) groups as a near optimal means of getting to better markets/prices of what they produce on their farms.

LASWOT has plans to use the above Karagwe success story as a way of forging strategic links with Government and other potential development partners (local and foreign) for obtaining technical and financial assistance in order to carry out similar development oriented anti-poverty programmes to rural farmers in other areas of Tanzania such as other districts in Kagera, Kigoma, Rukwa and Katavi. A training programme similar to that of Karagwe is budgeted to cost TZS63.5 million (US$38,440) and will cover 4,000 beneficiaries in Kagera, Kigoma, Rukwa and Katavi.

3.0 Who are we?

We are a group of seven (7) young professionals with a deep desire to assist fellow Tanzanians who are poor and are in need of Legal Aid and Socio-economic welfare advisory services. The 7 LASWOT members are as follows:

(i) Gabriel Michael Kamugisha;

(ii) Joram Frank Simon;

(iii) Charles Domician;

(iv) Poncian Claudi;

(v) Mariam Shellimoh;

(vi) Lameck Mwamkoa; and

(vii) Paul Kisagara.

4.0 Office bearers, their professional backgrounds and contacts

4.1 Director

  • Gabriel Kamugisha;
  • He is overall CEO of LASWOT and head of Legal Aid Department (LAD);
  • He is a lawyer with Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B.) – (Tumaini University (Iringa) Tanzania);
  • Contacts: +255719927286, and +255757705049; gbrlkamugisha@gmail.com

4.2 Secretary-General

  • Joram Frank Simon;
  • He is Secretary-General of LASWOT;
  • He is a lawyer with Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B.) – (Tumaini University (Iringa) Tanzania);
  • Contacts: +255715467447, +255757895112;

4.3 Treasurer

  • Charles Domician;
  • He is also head of Socio-Economic Welfare Department (SED);
  • He is a Certified Public Accountant – CPA(T) – granted by the Tanzania National Board of Accountants and Auditors (NBAA);
  • Domician is a trade economist holding professional Master of International Trade (pMIT) and B.Com (Finance – honours) both from the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS);
  • Contacts: +255784334960, and +255756756830, chardoluf@yahoo.co.uk

5.0 Way forward

Therefore, basing on the preceding profile and in order to scale up the level of the organisation activities of reaching out to more needy beneficiaries, LASWOT is working on the following plans:

5.1 Finding and forging strategic partnerships with relevant local and foreign development partners in both technical and financial categories so as to be able to carry out services to the community/public in the areas of legal aid and socio-economic welfare;

5.2 Extending the organisation’s activities by opening up branches in difference areas in Tanzania, especially closer to rural areas where the needy people are largely found. LASWOT has already opened a small office in Karagwe, near Karagwe Secondary main gate where Socio-economic Welfare advisory services are offered (Contact LASWOT Representative there, Donacian Lufurano, phone 0754-967-008);

5.3 Searching for development partners for funding a training programme to rural peasants/farmers in Kagera, Kigoma, Rukwa and Katavi. The training is to cover 4,000 beneficiaries and the total budgeted cost is TZS63.5 million (US$38,440) while 50 farmers in a ward can be trained at a cost of TZS792,825 (US$480); and

5.4 Establishment of paralegals training in each region of Tanzania is to follow later so as to facilitate provision of legal services.


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