“I heard it over the radio and wrote down the number”

Makambako 2

A radio programme she listened to made it possible for Iniki Kinyamagoha of Makambako, Njombe to access legal aid and eventually reclaim land that her brothers had unlawfully taken away from her and intended to sell.

To ensure LSF’s Access to Justice Program reaches every corner of this vast country, towards the end of 2019, the organization sought to employ an additional channel through which to reach more people more effectively.

With thousands of people everywhere seeking legal redress and daily realizing their own need for legal empowerment, getting onto the airwaves was always one of the most effective means for reaching the masses.

Since then the good, old radio has become a permanent tool for outreach and to enable its use community radio stations across the country have become LSF’s vital partners.

To date LSF has access to up to 30 community radio stations which provide an essential connection between rural communities and the outside world, and more importantly they act as highly useful information points including for legal education, particularly in areas that pause geographical challenges.

With some 4,000 paralegals operating in 170 districts and administrative councils,  hundreds of thousands of everyday people, in particular women, who face everyday problems routinely benefit from legal aid and education.

Depending on the circumstances of a particular area, paralegals apply a variety of means through which they avail legal services; from village gatherings, home visits, public events including commemorative days to visits to markets, they make huge efforts to reach people who would otherwise not benefit from these crucial services.

LSF’s internal data shows that, on average across the country 65,000 people have access to legal aid services annually, of whom 61% are women, and over 4 million people have been reached through legal education alone, 54% of whom are women.


This investment in radio use provides paralegals with additional platform to empower millions of ordinary citizens through dedicated radio segments, live interviews, on-air question and answer sessions, and other targeted messages, all aimed at ensuring everyday justice reaches the everyday person, who is often overwhelmed with everyday legal problems.


It was by way of a radio program that Iniki Kinyamagoha, a physically-disabled woman in her sixties, eventually received legal aid. On a cold morning in Makambako, Njombe, we were led by Justina Mengele, a locally-based paralegal to Iniki’s home, and afterwards to her small outlet from which she knits woolen sweaters.

After helping her out of wheelchair, she sat on behind her knitting machine and briefly demonstrated to us how it functions.


“This is my mainstay and it’s what enables me to put food on my table and pay my rent,” she told us in a humble voice.


Iniki is oldest of four siblings and she said, her parents brought them up well and before they died, they left her land on which to grow crops and support herself especially due to her disability.


Trouble began almost immediately after the passing of her parents, she said. “I asked my younger brothers to help find someone interested in renting land for cultivation so that I could earn some money from it; they did find such a person, but instead they kept the money and eventually sold some of my land,” Iniki told us,


“I reported the matter to our local government office, and when the older of the two was called in, he claimed our parents left the land to him and not me. This situation caused a protracted war of words among us,” she adds.

Ice FM, a local radio station regularly features Makambako-based paralegals on their weekly programs, and one afternoon as Iniki worked her machine, while her handheld radio was on, she heard an interview and discussions on a broad variety of everyday legal issues.


At the end of the program, the host put out a number through which the public could contact the paralegals. “I called the number and they called me back, but when I told them that I needed to visit their office, they asked where I was and when I directed them they told me they would come to me, which they did that very day. From that point they took up my case right through my ward office, and when my younger brother was summoned, after a prolonged game of chicken, he eventually confessed his errant ways and released the land to me;


“It had dawned upon him that, serious consequences weren’t very far from him. Getting help from the paralegals, sped up the entire process. With my land back in my possession, I hire casual labourers to cultivate it, because obviously I’m not as mobile as everyone else, and I grow corn and beans to enable me to afford my needs,” Iniki explained to us.

Paralegal Justina Mengele making a point about this story, highlighted the need for the broader society to respect and protect the rights of people with disabilities, and not to turn them into victims of their disadvantages, as was the case in Iniki’s tale.

“I urge respect for human rights including the rights of women with disabilities to improve their own economic situations, as opposed to building walls against them, and confining them to poverty because they can’t defend themselves as easily as everyone else. The rights of every individual matter equally,” she added.


This interesting encounter with radio outreach illustrates the expanding parameter of legal aid and education, more crucially how quickly help can reach people in need of legal solutions.


This ordinary but reliable tool continues to ensure people of all calibres can access justice, thus reinforcing the need for sustainable legal services that LSF’s Access to Justice Program is designed to respond to across the country.

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