Closing Date: Friday, 11 May 2012
Asylum Access, a US-based international refugee rights organization, is seeking experienced legal profession als to serve as Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) in its office in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Asylum Access envisions a world where refugees are seen as people with rights, not just people with needs. Asylum Access believes that by empowering refugees to assert their human rights, we can support the creation of effective, lasting solutions for refugees around the world. Asylum Access achieves this partly through the work of national and international volunteers that join the VLA program.
VLA's have the opportunity to help make refugee rights a reality in Africa. Our global VLA team is made of lawyers and highly-qualified law students who commit to spending at least 6 months in Asylum Access offices abroad. They provide direct legal advice and representation to refugees seeking asylum or other legal status . VLAs receive intensive training in international refugee law, and practice before local offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or local refugee status adjudicators. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to engage in policy advocacy at a national or international level.
The ideal applicant will be a legal profession al with substantive knowledge of international human rights and refugee law, including client counseling and advocacy. The candidate should be able to build relationships and adapt legal strategies to fit new and/or challenging circumstances. Client service experience and past work with vulnerable populations is a plus.
Asylum Access Tanzania (AATZ) solicits applications from well-prepared candidates with impeccable writing, persuasive advocacy skills and a passion for social justice who are ready to commit themselves to spending six months or more in Tanzania. Volunteer Legal Advocates (VLAs) will provide legal counsel, advice and advocacy on behalf of refugees seeking asylum, resettlement or the assertion of other legal rights. VLAs play an integral part of AATZ's team and will get the opportunity to work with UNHCR and Tanzanian Government representatives to coordinate and strengthen the involvement of AATZ in decisions affecting refugee rights.
VLAs are responsible for the following duties:
Advise refugees and assist them in understand their rights;
Interview refugees and advocate for them regarding their individual RSD and/or resettlement;
Maintain a high caseload of RSD cases in a fast paced, demanding environment while adhering to strict filing deadlines;
Conduct client intake and screening interviews, assess needs, and refer to other service providers as needed;
Where possible, develop unique and innovative legal tactics to assist clients with other legal needs, including assistance to assert rights to movement, security, humanitarian aid, education and social services;
Conduct research on "country of origin" situations and refugee law jurisprudence;
Develop material for "Know Your Rights" workshops for refugees both in camps and urban settings, as well as teach and/or participate in the workshops;
Occasionally, represent AATZ at events, conferences and meetings, and/or assist in other publicity and/or fundraising efforts;
Assist with the general administrative duties of the office, including helping to build administrative capacity within the office to meet demand as AATZ grows.
A positive, flexible personality and attitude;
English is required. Intermediate to proficient French or Swahili are very helpful.
A Bachelor of Laws, JD or equivalent is preferred, but other degrees or equivalent experience in a related field will be considered. Exceptional law students will be considered;
Experience working in direct clients services, ideally with asylum seekers or in human rights, as well as a strong passion for social justice work;
Experience working with vulnerable populations and/or survivors of trauma;
International experience living and working cross-culturally in developing countries, preferably in Africa;
Experience working in a non-profit setting with limited resources, ideally in the global south;
An easygoing personality with the demonstrated capacity to handle living and working in an ad-hoc environment where difficult situations and crises can develop at a moment's notice;
Aptitude to successfully complete assigned tasks with minimal oversight while serving clients with the highest ethical standards;
Understanding of the importance of working as part of a team and the ability to carefully and faithfully follow the direction of AATZ management staff;
Ability to commit to at least 6 months of full-time work. Between the months of May to August, exceptional, experienced law students who are only able to commit to working at AATZ for their summer break will be eligible for admission into the VLA program if they can commit to a minimum of 12 weeks.
Development Training Throughout your work with us, Asylum Access will support you with a series of tools to maximize your programmatic work and your understanding of refugee law and practice. Regular training and debriefing sessions will offer you the chance to enhance and process your experience and share insight about cross-cultural issues.
Casework Once you join our team, you will be responsible for your own casework, which you will see through intake, preparation, submission and results. This will give you an invaluable experience and lasting ties with your clients.
Joining our Network After working with us, you will be connected with an ever-growing network of refugee legal advocates around the world, which circulates job openings, research opportunities, refugee news, and more.
How to Apply:
Because of space limitations, AATZ VLA positions are awarded on a very competitive basis. Each year Asylum Access receives hundreds of applications coming from all over the globe for a handful of VLA positions. It is best, therefore, for applicants to submit polished, complete applications as early as possible. We accept applications on a rolling basis.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and a legal writing sample to VolunteerTz@asylumaccess.org. 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 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, VLA's are responsible for obtaining their visa and work permit, if applicable.