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Executive summary

In this project, Envirocare aim is to ensure timely justice for remandees and suspects in Tanzania and decongest urban prisons. The project involves four main strategies:

  • Providing legal aid and empowerment to remandees and suspects through trained paralegals in 14 prisons and 56 police stations. The paralegals are selected from prison and police officers who are sensitized on investigation and human rights. They assist the remandees and suspects with legal advice, bail applications, plea bargaining and referrals to other legal services.

  • Sensitizing criminal justice actors on human rights, fair trial, and gender issues. The project organizes sensitization meetings with primary court magistrates, clerks, assessors, ward tribunals, city and municipal court magistrates and prosecutors. The aim is to raise awareness of the rights and needs of remandees and suspects, especially women and juveniles, and to promote speedy and fair trials.

  • Improving coordination, data management and reporting among criminal justice agencies in 9 regions. The project conducts consultative workshops for criminal justice stakeholders on planning, engagement and reporting mechanisms. The project also trains paralegals on data management and reporting and nominates focal persons from criminal justice agencies to coordinate and communicate with paralegals, Envirocare and their respective departments. The project also holds bi-annual meetings with key actors to review the progress and challenges of the project and to reflect on current laws, policies and regulations.

  • Promoting alternative dispute resolution for petty crimes. The project encourages the use of community service, mediation and reconciliation as alternatives to imprisonment for minor offenses. The project also supports the establishment and strengthening of ward tribunals, which are local courts that can handle petty disputes and cases.

The project’s overall objective is to contribute to a more efficient and equitable criminal justice system in Tanzania by 2021. The project expects to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Timely dispensation of justice to remandees and suspects in urban remand prisons, police stations and primary courts, and city/municipal courts. The project aims to reduce the number of remandees and suspects in custody, the duration of their detention, and the backlog of cases in courts.

  • Effective coordination, database management, and reporting mechanisms among criminal justice agencies in 9 regions. The project aims to improve the quality and availability of data and information on remandees and suspects and to enhance collaboration and communication among criminal justice actors. 

  • Increased awareness and empowerment of remandees and suspects on their legal rights and options. The project aims to improve the legal literacy and confidence of remandees and suspects and to enable them to access and demand justice.

  • Reduced congestion and improved conditions in urban remand prisons and police stations. The project aims to decrease the overcrowding and improve the hygiene, health, and safety of remandees and suspects in custody.


1. Project Implementation Overview

The project management team implemented her plan accordingly although there were slight changes and reviews in consultation with the development partner and project stakeholders to meet the demands of the situation. Two project plan reviews were conducted in consultation with the development partner which made changes in carrying out some activities, budget, and some expansion of the project from 9 to 14 regions, from 14 to 26 prisons, and from 56 to 94 police stations. However, changes made did not affect the objectives and results towards achieving the project goal.

Envirocare collaborated with her stakeholders; the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Judiciary, National Office of Public Prosecution, Ministry of Home Affairs, Tanzania Police Force, Tanzania Prisons Services, and Judiciary to implement her four-year project in remand prisons and police stations. A letter of consent was prior entered among the Criminal Justice Agencies with Envirocare for support and cooperation. The project management team used different methods to reach remandees and suspects to ensure they access timely justice. First was through criminal justice stakeholders meetings, which come up with strategies and solutions for creating a conducive environment for accessing detention facilities. Each stakeholder had a representative who had to report directly on the project from the designing stage, implementation, monitoring, review, and evaluation. Every stakeholder participated fully in the project cycle for the sustainability of the same. Also, the use of Regional focal officers to monitor legal aid provision and data management at the regional level was a successful exercise towards ensuring reports are sent on time and purifying data received from paralegals in detention facilities. 

The project management team used different innovative approaches to ensure the project attained its goal. One of the innovative ideas was to conduct joint monitoring with criminal justice stakeholders in detention facilities. This method helped to timely address remandees’ and suspects’ concerns and each representative institution had to further address major issues of detainees with their respective institutions. On the other hand, the use of Media enables to reach more clients at the community level and detention facilities.

Envirocare planned to produce legal educational materials for paralegals and remandees in prisons and police custody for awareness raising. This included 10,000 copies of the booklet, 10,000 training manuals, and 400 t-shirts on special topics on criminal justice for remandees. However, the project was able to produce 40,000 legal education materials containing different messages. Such materials are “Mwongozo wa Wasaidizi wa Kisheria kwa Mahabusu Magerezani na Watuhumiwa katika Vituo ya Polisi, Haki ya Dhamana kwa Washtakiwa na Haki za Watuhumiwa na Mahabusu, Huduma ya Utoaji wa Msaada wa Kisheria Kijarida cha Wasaidizi wa Kisheria Magerezani”. Also 350 T-shirts with a message that read “Legal Aid in detention facilities for timely justice” which was also translated in Swahili for indirect beneficiaries. A total of 100 Copies of Compact Disc were produced and distributed to Remandees, suspects, Paralegals, and other project stakeholders to reach the community at large. Prepared scripts concerning legal education for remandees, suspects, and the general public.   


2. Project Performance Analysis

The project aimed at contributing to LSF's strategic objectives of building the capacity of criminal justice agencies (police, prisons, judiciary, and public prosecution departments) on the importance of legal aid in accessing timely access to justice.

Envirocare implemented her project in collaboration with her stakeholders by engaging different methods while forging collaboration with other stakeholders to meet project results and goals.

Since its inception, the project planned to reach 56,296 clients before review. However, due to encountered challenges, the project reached 35,229 clients altogether through legal education and legal aid. Legal Aid Service to remandees reached 23,053 clients in detention facilities (1,183 women, 20,366 men and 292 children). Additionally, legal aid to community members during legal aid weeks and through the hotline reached 3,295 clients (men 2,096, women 1,196). Legal education for remandees and suspects in detention facilities reached 8,881 (644 women, 8,040 men, and 197 children). 

Two results areas were accomplished in four years of implementation;

I. Timely dispensation of justice to remandees and suspects in urban remand prisons, police stations primary courts, and city/municipal courts.

Envirocare in collaboration with project stakeholders, MoCLA, MoHA, Prisons, and Tanzania Police Force, Judiciary, and Directorate of Public Prosecution trained 272 paralegals from 26 prisons and 94 police stations in 14 regions of Tanzania mainland. In police stations, 160 police officers (94 males, 66 females), and in Prisons 112 prison officers (96 males, 16 females) were capacitated with legal knowledge of Paralegalism, Human rights, and related laws. Also, 40 magistrates, out of which 24 males and 16 females from 9 regions of Tanzania's mainland were capacitated with the Legal Aid Act, fair trial, human rights compliance, and coordination mechanism with paralegals for effective contribution to decongestion in detention facilities. Training were conducted by Envirocare in collaboration with the Institute of Judicial Administration Lushoto (IJA).

In four years of implementation; paralegals were able to provide legal education to 8,881 remandees them (males 8,040, females 644 and children 197), legal aid to 23,053 clients (males 20,366, females 1,183 and children 292). Out of them, clients bailed out were; men 2,209, women 330, children 292. Acquitted men 1,625, women 126 and children 16. Jailed men 611 and women 13. The ongoing cases at different court stages were Men 15,921, women 714 and children 205. Also 3,295 community members were served with legal aid. Out of them, males 2,096 and females 1,196 who were served through physical visit, phone calls, media (TV&Radios) and representations. The legal aid provided by paralegals to clients changed knowledge of beneficiaries and hence were able to represent themselves and defend their cases at courts. This contributed to decongestion of prisons.


            ii.         Effective coordination, database management, and reporting mechanisms among criminal justice agencies in 9 regions.  

Envirocare project management team ensured all stakeholders were familiarized with project objectives, results to be achieved, and the aspired goal that intended to contribute towards LSF strategic areas of intervention and national strategies towards decongestion initiatives. Hence before the startup of the project, representatives from MoCLA, MoHA, Prisons, Police, DPP, and Judiciary were oriented to the project, capacitated on Legal Aid Act no. 1 of 2017 and its regulations of 2018, management of the project, communication and reporting mechanism during project life. In addition, regional focal officers were trained on the same for effective management of project data and reporting at the Regional level.

Moreover, the organization facilitated high officials’ national workshops and strategic meetings to forge partnerships and ensure the project achieved its intended results. First, a strategic meeting was conducted with criminal justice stakeholders to facilitate the signing of an MoU among responsible Ministries for the facilitation of a conducive working environment for legal aid in detention facilities. Bi-annual meetings with key actors are conducted to review the progress, reflect on current laws, policies, and regulations eg. the Criminal Procedural Act, and the Prisons Act of 1921, and chart the way forward and new engagement.

After that, the Inspector General of Police and Commissioner General of Prisons benefited from legal aid act awareness conducted by Envirocare and LSF together with Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. Additionally, Regional Police Commanders were enhanced with knowledge with regard to the Legal Aid Act and its regulation which imposed how to manage paralegals and legal aid desk in ensuring timely justice in their area of operation.

Furthermore, decongestion of detention facilities in the course of implementation of project has contributed to reduced staff workload and stress, increased peace, improved sanitary and living conditions in remand prisons and police stations. Prisons management witnessed peace and harmony in remand prisons during implementation of the project because of legal aid and counselling by paralegals.  

More access to timely justice has reduced stress and trauma. Acquitted remandees are free to work to earn income and support his/her family and community at large. The project has transformed lives of the remandees to become responsible citizens as they are providing success stories and testimonies of life in remand prisons to fellow community members as a lesson to change their behaviour and contribute positively to community development.  

Timely access to justice to  remandees has also supported families of  remandees to cut off unnecessary costs and time spent in supporting remandees while in custody, hence reduce family tension, stress, poverty and other unnecessary family conflicts.

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