One of the challenges in scaling up HIV-related legal services is the limited number of knowledgeable, skilled and committed lawyers to provide such services. Part of the solution therefore lies in building the capacity of law schools to ensure law graduates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to support human rights-based approaches to HIV. Many universities, including in East Africa, offer clinical legal education programs to give students direct experience of providing legal information to clients. As yet, however, these programs rarely aim explicitly to build student capacity to address HIV-related legal issues. As many of the legal issues arising in the context of HIV and AIDS are similar in East Africa, sharing relevant knowledge and experiences among the legal profession across the region can thus be of great benefit.
In partnership with UNAIDS, IDLO is implementing a project which aims to strengthen the enabling legal environment for the response to HIV and AIDS in Tanzania and Uganda. The project will develop a cadre of lawyers – law professors and students - equipped with the knowledge and skills to support human rights-based responses to HIV. The project also seeks to build legal academics’ awareness of and engagement in HIV and AIDS-related legal issues, and increase community awareness to seek support from the legal clinics.
In September and October 2017, IDLO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) organized 2 workshops and a dialogue forum in Uganda and Tanzania convening law students and legal academics to discuss the role of the law in national and global HIV responses.