At least 300 people have benefited from legal aid in Kisumu slums.
The Mobile Legal Aid Clinic project implemented by National Legal Aid Service (NLAS) was targeted at residents with low access to legal services.
The project aims to educate the public on legal issues that affect them and provide necessary support.
Speaking during the launch of the project in Nyalenda, Grace Thuku, NLAS Board Chairperson said the Sh4.2 billion five year project which begun in 2020 is a partnership between the European Union and the government of Kenya.
Today and tomorrow we will be at Nyalenda and Nyando, so far about 300 have benefitedGrace Thuku
Thuku said the legal aid was conducted at Kaloleni and Obunga on Monday and Tuesday.
“Today and tomorrow we will be at Nyalenda and Nyando, so far about 300 have benefited” she said.
Thuku noted that many residents are not aware of how they can tackle legal issues or get support from NLAS.
Thuku said all Kenyans are entitled to a fair hearing and legal presentation.
“Where one is not able to pay for such services, the government has an obligation to provide the support and meet the expense depending on availability of funds,” added Thuku.
“we refer some cases to our offices ,The purpose is to create awareness and increase access”Ezekiel Godia
With the funding by EU, the five year project has given residents an opportunity to interact with advocates, paralegals and aid providers on a one on one basis.
Thuku added; “For a period of these four days, we will provide free legal advice to the indigent, legal presentation and help in drafting court documents.”
Chimwemwe Mangeni, Team Leader of the Program for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery(PLEAD) said they aim to Enhance access to legal Aid and assistance to marginalized communities across 12 counties.
Due to limited resources in terms of time and funding, the counties were picked based on priority following a needs assessment.
“We picked Kisumu as it was among the counties where many people had legal issues but could not afford to pay for legal service,” Mangeni said
He said the government is expected to roll out the services to cover the remaining counties upon completion of the pilot project.
Ezekiel Godia, Regional Coordinator in the Kisumu office highlighted some of the rampant cases dealt with so far.
Godia said they range from sexual matters, to children matters to succession matters to constitutional petitions and eviction cases.
“We provide legal aid in terms of assisting in drafting of documents known as pleadings for the court or offer advocates to represent clients in deserving cases,” he noted.
The Coordinator said they also solve disputes presented through alternative dispute resolution.
Godia added; “We refer some cases to our offices in Kisumu, Nakuru, Nairobi and Mombasa. The purpose is to create awareness and increase access.”
He further encouraged the residents to turn out in large numbers and take advantage of the free services offered.
Within one year, over two million have benefited through legal advice, legal presentation and awareness creation.