During the project visit in 2012 we heart from MHOLA’s long-term plans, the small organization for legal advice in Tanzania. Now, three years later, MHOLA had done more than just fulfill the three year plan.
When a small team of 4 schwelle members arrived in Tanzania in March 2012 they saw their new funding project MHOLA (Mama’s Hope Organization for Legal Assistance) for the first time. They were extremely astonished by what they saw. What a few professional lawyers did with their paralegals and some pro bono decision makers (board members), was nothing to take likely. Since 2006 they have been working in Bukoba the capital of the district of Kagera.
MHOLA’s long term goal is it to improve the rights of women and children, which also reflects in the title of the organization ‘Mamas Hope’. It’s about women getting mediation and legal help also after the death of their husbands or because they left them and have difficulties keeping their land to feed their children. (Since 1997 there is a law that ensures woman the right of inhering land but often it’s being ignored.) Beside the legal counsel and representation of women in concrete land litigations, it’s also very important to MHOLA that women and children, just like the decision makers, are schooled, trained and educated about women and children rights. Therefore the topics health and health promotion is also very important in MHOLA.
During our two week stay at MHOLA, we were taken to country regions of the district and we understood that most of the women who need the council of MHOLA do not live in the city of Bukoba but in remote areas.
In 2012 we heard about the 3 year program for MHOLA, to build another branch office in Muleba, for counseling, with an internet cafe, liberty and bigger training sessions and to train the paralegals. Furthermore they wanted to train enough people to have in all the 5 regions paralegal teams to help people seeking advice before a professional lawyer has to be contacted.
Now, three years later, MHOLA had done more than just fulfill the three year plan. Today, in the beginning of 2015, they have not just build the branch office in Muleba as a community center, but also opened two other branches in different districts. MHOLA has educated so many new paralegals that there are 7 paralegal teams in country regions of Kagera, where they provide legal help, council and mediation for the locals. In addition to all that, they’ve also build a liaison office in Dar es Salaam on the east coast of Tanzania (1000km from Bukoba).
The office in Bukoba has been rebuilt and renovated and it has been equipped with modern EDV and different communicational products.
When you read the strategic plan for 2015-2019, you believe that the highly motivated, engaged and in strategic thinking and networking extremely successful team, will make big steps towards the goals they set themselves.
- To improve the well-being and protection of women and children rights through enhancing their understanding of their basic fundamental rights as well as the national laws protecting their rights.
- To enhance community capacity to respond positively to challenges of poverty and human rights including the rights of forced migrants and refugees.
- To improve the health status of the community especially the vulnerable groups of women and children through HIV/AIDS health education and promotion
- To improve the organizational capacity of MHOLA through capacity building interventions focusing on organizational growth and sustainability.
From what one can only be amazed by, is the ability of MHOLA to perform such a great jobs in building and setting up different programs although the money is not always enough to pay the regular workers.
They do not just see their mission in the caretaking of the people in Kagera, but also in their social and political development (community development); especially in those training with decision makers and influential people in Tanzania.
Because their financial support is very wide, the risk of having to close a project because one of the investors is refusing to continue their financial aid, is very low. But that also means that MHOLA has to do 11 separate invoices at one time and keep all the investors informed. You can image what kind of work that means. MHOLA has earned my respect in every possible way.
Translated by Sheba Wiafe