Connecting South African rural paralegal advice offices

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By AL for APC

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 30 July 2008

Paralegals learning how to use case management softwareParalegals learning how to use case management softwareUngana-Afrika has for a long time been preaching the importance of bundling capacity building with any technology project. In 2007, they were able to demonstrate the value of this approach through their Rural Connectivity project in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

The beneficiaries of the project were a group of under-resourced paralegal advice offices working in rural areas. Paralegals assist community members with legal and community matters, such as arbitrating disputes, organising workshops and facilitating access to government services.

Ungana-Afrika was able to connect these offices to the internet with mobile data cards, and provided training, support and encouragement with visits throughout the year. Rudi von Staden, the project manager, was very pleased with the uptake: “This has been our first attempt at a mixed-revenue model. It is encouraging to see that not only are the paralegals able to use and benefit from the connectivity, but they are willing to pay a premium if it comes with capacity building and support.”

Ungana-Afrika: www.ungana-afrika.org

This article has been extracted from the 2007 APC Annual report available in English, French and Spanish.

Photo: Rudi von Staden

(END/2008)

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