Stories from the Field: Clinical Legal Education Students on Internship

Aine Shieldon Bosco interned at the Refugee Law Project

His experience: ‘During a Mobile Legal Aid Clinic in Rubondo Village Nakivaale Refugee Settlement Isingiro District, I discovered that quite a number of refugees have limited knowledge about their rights. Ignorance of one’s rights limits a person’s protection of his or her rights. There is an old saying that if a crested crane knew how special it is to Uganda, it would not be staying in the bush. I that believe if people are aware of their rights, it would enable them to guard and report in cases of infringement of their rights’. 

Aine speaking to refugees in a mobile legal aid clinic

Okoth Kenneth’ experience as intern at Platform for Labour Action (PLA), Lira District

‘My internship experience with Platform for Labour Action (Lira) has taught me the importance of always having mediation and generally the importance of ADR, that aside it has been a good experience especially getting to acquaint myself with employment rights and a deep understanding of the aspect of labour law. This has been mainly through conducting mediations on matters of unfair and unlawful termination plus non payments, most of these cases were settled through mediations at the PLA offices and others with failed mediations were forwarded to the labour officer who has jurisdiction over such employment issues where we represented the clients and successfully concluded some of the cases while others were referred to the industrial court. I appreciate the opportunity given to me and other colleagues by PILAC under CLE to help people and administer social justice and having an impact in the lives of people that could never afford legal fees or even those that are not aware of alternative settlements of disputes without court.’

Okoth Kenneth (2nd right) who represented the claimant after a concluded mediation at the district labour office attended by Lira City Labour officer, Mr. Muno Constatine and the parties.

Julius J. Basuula at Human Rights Awareness Promotion Forum (HRAPF)

Julius J Basuula says, ‘As a legal intern at the Human Rights Awareness Promotion Forum, I have the privilege of witnessing firsthand how privilege and bias often impacts access to justice in society. Working with an NGO that offers pro bono services to marginalized groups, I regularly encounter situations where individuals are subjected to lengthy judicial processes due to their inability to access basic legal aid services which the organization provides in an endeavor to address such challenges and support those in need. These activities which include conducting police and court interventions, organizing awareness sessions and hosting legal aid camps seek to bridge the gap in order to promote provision of legal aid services to all people indiscriminately.’

Basuula making a presentation to a HRAPF forum meeting

John Vianney Ayebare, He  interned at The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD).

John shares a major highlight from the internship, ‘during my internship period, I have been privileged to participate in and moderate the final day of the week long Annual Media Fellowship. The Media Fellowship is a unique approach to shape narratives in the media spaces on issues around Sexual Reproductive Health Rights.  The Fellowship is designed to build the capacity of media practitioners across the country to be able to enhance their understanding of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR). This was a good learning experience for me to interact with the media practitioners and at the same time sharing knowledge with them on matters of Human Rights in SRHR.’

Ayebare making presentation in a CEHURD Workshop

Joseph Bill Ainerugaba shares experience on Community Engagement from his internship with the Refugee Law Project.

‘As part of the commemoration of the United Nations International Day Against Torture 2023, Refugee Law Project gave me an opportunity as part of my internship to engage in community awareness of the refugee – host communities on torture. We focused on sharing information about forms of torture especially in the refugee context, legal processes available for torture victims as well as legal remedies/penalties for victims and perpetrators of torture. The most important aspect is recognizing the troubled background members of these communities face in regards to torture and giving them hope.’

Joseph Bill facilitating at the United Nations International Day Against Torture 2023

Musinguzi Reagan Siima (LLB student) and intern at Refugee Law Project (Mbarara)

In his words, ‘Grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge on different legal issues with police officers at a Police Training organized by the Refugee Law Project at the Nakivaale Settlement. It was an enriching experience to contribute to their professional development and enhance their understanding of different legal issues.’

Musinguzi speaking to police officers at Nakivaale Settlement

DALTON KISUULE,   interned at Platform For Labour Action (PLA).

He says, ‘To me , my legal education and career, CLE has been the most revealing happening. It has imbued in me excellent research and proficient advocacy Skills additional to my legal education, all of which I have ably and aptly applied at my internship placement.

At PLA, I have been offered with opportunities to offer legal aid to various Clients with Labour related matters and complaints. While at it, I have come to appreciate the overriding necessity of viewing all matters through a human rights lenses as a way of fundamentally championing the cause of social justice. Ultimately, the advocates’ insensitivity must first die for social justice to be achieved. As for me and my colleagues, we are grateful for an early exposure of the essence of Social justice to our careers.’

Dalton Kisuule speaking at a meeting with Iganga District Council