What can an analysis of power in local communities contribute to debates on women’s legal empowerment and the role of paralegals in Africa? Drawing upon theories of power and rights, and research on legal empowerment in African plural legal systems, this article explores the challenges for paralegals in facilitating women’s access to justice in Tanzania, which gave statutory recognition to paralegals in the Legal Aid Act 2017. Land conflicts represent the single-biggest source of local legal disputes in Tanzania and are often embedded in gendered land tenure relations. Argues that paralegals can be effective actors in women’s legal empowerment where they are able to work as leaders, negotiating power relations and resisting the forms of violence that women encounter as obstacles to justice. Paralegals’ authority will be realised when their role is situated within community leadership structures, confirming their authority while preserving their independence.
Authors and Publishers
Mokoro is pleased to host the ’Land Rights in Africa’ site as a contribution to the land rights dialogue and related debates. This website was created in January 2000 by Robin Palmer, and was originally housed by Oxfam GB, where Robin worked as a Land Rights Adviser. A library of resources on land rights in Africa – with a particular focus on women’s land rights and on the impact of land grabbing in Africa – the portal has been well received by practitioners, researchers and policy makers, and has grown considerably over the years.