By Katie Bercegeay
HAF Project Manager
A training program to engage and prepare university law students to give supervised pro bono legal counsel to marginalized persons in Fez was launched during the second week of November.
An initial meeting with 37 masters level law students studying at University Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah was conducted on Thursday, November 14, 2019. It was facilitated by Clinic Director Saïd Bakouri and Assistant Clinic Director Bouchta Alaoui, appointees of Dean Mohammed Bouzlafa of the Faculty of Juridical, Economic, and Social Sciences, as well as HAF Project Manager Katie Bercegeay. The meeting included an overview of the goals of the clinic as well the structure of the 3-month training program.
Twenty-seven students, 14 female and 13 male, participated in the inaugural student workshop on Personal and Participatory Development which was held on Saturday, November 16, 2019. The workshop was primary facilitated by professional coach, Mohammed Sqalli.
Students explored their own goals, investigated barriers to achieving those goals, and brainstormed strategies for overcoming those obstacles to achieve success in their personal and professional projects. Additionally, students discussed attitudes, energy levels, and how to manage our own responses and communication for better outcomes and success in our everyday life and work. Through group role plays, they applied a variety of communication styles based on energy level and common challenges in the context of legal aid delivery, project planning, and higher education.
A survey was conducted among all students to collect self-assessed baseline knowledge, skills, and relevant experience as well as community needs and inhibitors to local development and progress.
According to results, students want to be part of the program to “give legal help and guidance while developing [their] personality,” “develop [their] capacities and communication,” “grow [their] professional experience,” “ improve [their] legal experience, community service, and to help others, too,” and “focus on what is best for [their] career and contribute to something for [their] community.”
The next student workshop will focus on Interpersonal and Participatory Communication and will be held on November 30, 2019. It will be the second of a series of six student-focused workshops and trainings focusing on soft interpersonal and participatory skills, technical knowledge pertaining to migration, trafficking, and family law, and the application of both soft and technical skills in a legal aid setting. The goal of these trainings is to prepare students to give legal counsel to marginalized persons at the faculty-housed law clinic which is projected to open on a thrice-weekly basis beginning February 2020.
The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) gives thanks to Clinic Director Saïd El Bakkouri, Assistant Clinic Director Bouchta Aloui, and Dean Mohammed Bouzlafa for their commitment to the law clinic and legal aid program and to Mostafa Mouslih, President of the Volunteer Experts for Development, who offered his guidance and expertise during the initial project and training planning process in October and November.