A key aim of SAILS’ work is to enable exchange of best practices and lessons learned on paralegalism among countries in South Asia and helping to translate these lessons into effective change on the ground. In Bangladesh, SAILS is coordinating a process of developing training curriculum for paralegals and paralegal trainers that is both suitable for the local context and that also incorporates the learnings from regional collaborations.
A lot of work has been done by various organizations in Bangladesh in the area of paralegal training, as well as training of trainers (ToT). In order to build on this rich body of knowledge, SAILS held consultations with organizations working in the legal and human rights sector, as well as participants to the regional ToTs from Bangladesh. Through these discussions it was discovered that there is a need to do a mapping of existing paralegal activities and resource materials being developed by various organizations. There is also a need to clarify what defines paralegal work and to harmonize terminologies used to refer to professionals doing similar work.
A two-day mapping workshop was held on 17-18 April 2016 that included twenty participants from eleven organizations in Bangladesh and two participants from Nepal and Sri Lanka. The workshop was facilitated by two external facilitators. At that workshop it was decided that resources in Bangladesh should be pooled to focus on developing three types of courses: a basic, an advanced course and a ToT for master trainers. It was also agreed that the Basic course materials should be equally applicable for future trainers and paralegals. A team consisting of four experts from four different organizations was selected for module development work.
A series of meetings and workshops were held between May and June to develop the course modules for the Basic training in collaboration with local partners and invited experts. During the workshops the participants reviewed the objective, content, process and methodology and provided feedback.
The final training modules and materials for the Basic course are expected to be finalized by December 2016. After finalization, the course will be field tested through SAILS partners in Bangladesh. If successful, the next step would be to scale up the training to the national level in Bangladesh.