Volunteer Legal Advocate - Tanzania

Organization: Asylum Access

Country: United Republic of Tanzania

Closing date: 31 Oct 2016
Please Note: Asylum Access Tanzania (AATZ) has openings for national and non-national Volunteer Legal Advocate (VLA) candidates. There are several openings for foreign VLAs starting in August 2016,which are available on a rolling basis. Preference is given to foreign applicants who can make a one year commitment.
Asylum Access Tanzania seeks applications from well-prepared candidates with impeccable writing skills and a passion for social justice for the position of Volunteer Legal Advocate (VLA). VLAs must commit to at least six months of volunteer service in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Following an intensive training program in international and domestic refugee law and response, VLAs are given the opportunity to engage with asylum law in the Tanzanian administrative system, help refugees assert their full scope of rights, train refugee community leaders and participate in local, regional, and international policy advocacy.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

About the Program

In addition to working directly with refugees, VLAs receive over 30 hours of training on refugee law and practice and at least 24 hours of one-on-one mentoring from a refugee rights advocate. To enhance each VLAs experience and promote continuous learning, VLAs participate in regular debriefing sessions that help volunteers to process their experience.
After working with Asylum Access Tanzania, VLAs are connected with an ever-growing global network of refugee legal advocates, policy professionals, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit leaders. The network continuously circulates job openings, research opportunities, refugee news, and more.
Specific VLA duties will depend upon the position. All Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) take an active role in executing one or more of Asylum Access’ four advocacy tools:
  1. Legal Services: Providing legal counsel, advice and/or advocacy on behalf of refugees seeking asylum or the assertion of other legal rights.
  2. Community Outreach: Facilitating community educational activities that promote grassroots refugee empowerment and train refugee community leaders to build the movement from within.
  3. Strategic Litigation: Supporting landmark refugee cases before national and international courts, through research, report writing, and legal strategizing. The Strategic Litigation tool focuses on winning high-impact cases to set new precedent for improved jurisprudence and the respect of refugee rights in future cases.
  4. Policy Advocacy: Advocating for national, regional, and interaction policy change or policy enforcement. May involve engaging with local government and UN leaders on refugee policy issues.
Please see below to learn more about the general responsibilities of each position. Though each VLA will focus their work on a specific tool, the Asylum Access model requires that all tools be integrated to fully realize refugee rights. Therefore, all VLAs should expect their job responsibilities to overlap with all of the tools. This also ensures VLAs gain comprehensive insight and experience in the refugee rights field.
Asylum Access’ Tanzania office fosters a collaborative team environment, to which all VLAs will contribute. The VLAs help to support the full management of the office and are also expected to facilitate community activities, present information about Asylum Access and refugee rights at community events, organize conferences and meetings, and support publicity and/or fundraising events.

Types of VLA Positions

Legal Services Position Responsibilities:
  • Advise refugee clients on the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process and assist them to understand their rights
  • Conduct client intake and screening interviews, assess needs, and determine appropriate next steps
  • Manage RSD caseload diligently and communicate updates with clients
  • Occasional travel to offices other than your station depending on client demand
  • Develop unique and innovative legal tactics to assist clients with non-RSD legal needs, including assistance to assert rights to employment, security, education and social services
  • Develop legal and client resources through research on “country of origin” research and refugee law and protocols
Community Outreach Position Responsibilities:
  • Develop material for “Know Your Rights” workshops for refugees and teach and/or participate in the workshops
  • Develop a resource list and referral system that helps to connect clients to local social services and health providers
  • Develop and execute client outreach strategy in collaboration with Asylum Access team;
  • Participate in community meetings and identify and develop the leadership capacity of community members
Strategic Litigation Position Responsibilities:
  • Provide information management regarding pending judicial proceedings
  • Prepare written arguments for and carry out procedures with international courts and other agencies using legal argumentation based on statute laws and jurisprudence
  • Carry out in-person court visits to national courts and other agencies
  • Revise and analyze legislation and internal, international, and comparative jurisprudence according to the strategic litigation cases
  • Assist in strengthening judicial strategy and complementary activities for the initiation of cases and obtain any other information necessary for adequate case management
Policy Advocacy Position Responsibilities
  • Assist the Country Director in the implementation of policy advocacy strategy of AATZ
  • Participate in local, regional and global networks to ensure the strengthening of AATZ goals
  • Help in advising governmental and international organisms to apply public policy and meet established national and international standards as well as pressure them to improve and develop new standards
  • Assist in the update and monitoring of the Annual Plan of AATZ

Preferred Qualifications

  • A Bachelor of Laws, JD or equivalent is preferred for legal aid and strategic litigation VLAs
  • Public policy, International Relations, or International Development degrees will also be considered and sometimes preferred for policy advocacy and community outreach positions
  • Community organizing experience (Depending on years of experience, can override degree requirement for community outreach positions)
  • Demonstrated academic or professional background in human rights is strongly desired
  • Ability to commit to 6 months of full-time work. One year is preferred.

How to apply:

How to Apply

Please Note: The first opening for non-national applicants is in October 2016.
Because of space limitations, AATZ VLA positions are awarded on a very competitive basis. We accept applications on a rolling basis.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and a legal writing sample to Nikki d'Assis at[email protected] with the subject line “AATZ VLA Application”. Please be sure to specify in your cover letter what makes you uniquely qualified to be a VLA with AATZ, how volunteering with us fits into your career plans, and the dates that you expect to be available.
Please specify the type of VLA position for which you are applying. You may apply for more than one type of VLA in a single application.
Please note that all Asylum Access VLA positions are unpaid; we are happy to work with successful applicants to arrange for funding or school credit where available. If selected, VLAs are responsible for obtaining their visa and work permit.
Asylum Access is an equal opportunity employer