On a sunny Sunday morning, five members of the CLEAR- Kisumu team set off for Gwassi where they would be conducting a three-day legal education program. The team consisted of the CLEAR-Kisumu Resident Advocate, the CLEAR-Kenya Legal Education coordinator, a Court Clerk, the CLEAR-Kisumu Legal Aid Communications intern and a volunteer.
CLEAR had been invited to Gwassi to hold a training by St. Joseph’s Community Development Group. Gwassi is in the Suba district, where the majority of residents are fishermen who rely on Lake Victoria as their main source of income and food. The legal education program is intended to heighten awareness of legal rights among community members; especially rights pertaining to issues that are relevant to their daily lives. About 60 members of the local community were present, in addition to several representatives from women and youth-focused organizations, and provincial administrators such as village chiefs.
On the first day of the training, attendees were led by the CLEAR team in a roundtable discussion about their expectations with regard to the training and how they hoped to benefit from it. They then broke off into training sessions about specific areas of law, ranging from property rights to human rights. The trainers were sure to encourage discussion and Q&A periods during the sessions; by choosing a participatory mode of instruction, they hoped to ensure that participants understood how the material related to their own lives. The CLEAR team reported that the training had been a large success, and that the men and women who attended felt empowered and excited by their newfound knowledge.