Paralegal Training Manual for Nigeria

By Banke Akinrimisi

Download Manual (PDF, 174 pages, .28 MB)

This training manual is a harmonization of major manuals in Nigeria and is designed to assist organizations and trainers in designing, conducting, and evaluating paralegal trainings across Nigeria. It provides high quality training, empowerment and capacity building for trainers who will train paralegals in addressing various issues of human abuses in Nigeria.

This was developed following the review and harmonization of existing paralegal training manuals being used by various organizations in Nigeria and it charts the course for the standardization of paralegal training in Nigeria. It is both a step by step guide for training as well as a reference material on different issues.

How to Use this Training Manual
The manual is organized to assist the user/facilitator in teaching each module. Each module addresses different issues that are very important for a paralegal to understand to enable him/her effectively carry out his/her job as a paralegal. There are 19 modules in the manual. Each module outlines key issues which will be encountered during the paralegals work. Information on some of such issues is extensive and not necessarily designed for verbal delivery to participants but as a guide for the development of presentations by the facilitator. The manual provides discussion guides, role plays, and other learning guidelines that can be used or adapted for training a paralegal. The tools can be found within each module.

There are various activities/exercises within each module that will help during the training session to pass the message across easily. The trainer may not want to work through the exercises from beginning to end, but should decide first what he/she wants the trainees to learn about and then choose a suitable exercise given the time available and the equipment at hand. Facilitators can adapt and adjust the modules to suit their needs.

In order to deepen learning experience, different methods of training have been suggested in each of the modules. The facilitator should select any method(s) that is most suitable for the module being taught. Methods include: lectures, power point presentations, brainstorming, participatory and interactive discussions, group and individual exercises, use of documentaries, case studies, games and role-playing etc.
Facilitators should avoid lengthy lecture or large group discussions, always remembering that individual participants learn through different methods. Some of the modules are designed to last as long as 3 hours, therefore facilitators are encouraged to assess participant’s level of involvement and determine intervals at which energizers can be introduced in order to sustain their interest and concentration.

The facilitator will need an array of materials to conduct his/her sessions. The following materials may be required and should be prepared ahead of the training session: Flip Chart – board and paper, Power point Projector and screen (Optional), DVD player, Television, coloured markers, name identification cardboards, tape, markers, pens, paper etc.

Starting the Training
In starting the training proper, the facilitator will follow the general pattern stated below or adapt to suit the target group. The following steps should be taken.

 Introductions – Introductions should be between 15 and 20 minutes. Begin the workshop by greeting participants. Introduce yourself and any other workshop staff working with you. If the workshop is being hosted by an organization, someone from that organization should make a few remarks to open the workshop and welcome participants. Conduct some type of introduction activity so that all participants are aware of who is in the room—names, organizations, work sites, and general information about each other.
 Expectations (10 – 15 mins) - Participants need to share their own expectations for the workshop
1. Ask participants to take 2 minutes to think of the expectations they have for the workshop.
2. In an anti-clockwise direction, ask participants to mention their expectations
3. Write the expectations up on flipchart paper and keep them on the wall for everyone to refer to during the workshop
4. Explain whether or not this workshop will address each of the shared expectations. If it will not, explain why and how interested participants can gain access to such knowledge.

 Presentation of workshop objectives (5 – 10mins) – The facilitator can either write out the objectives on flip chart or print it out and hand each participant a copy. Immediately following the expectations facilitator should read out the objectives of the workshop and check them with the expectations. Ensure that participants understand the workshop purposes, objectives, and intended outcomes. Facilitate a question and answer session to clarify any questions or concerns.

 Set ground rules (5 – 10 mins) – Participants should come up with a list of rules that will guide the training sessions. These are a set of basic rules for the group at the beginning of the workshop. For example, give everyone a chance to speak and participate, switch your mobile phones to vibrate or silent mode etc.

1. Explain that in order for the training to go smoothly without any hitch; participants will have to follow certain rules.
2. Let participants generate a list of do’s and don’ts. Write on the flipchart the list of rules generated and explain each as you write it. Examples of ground rules maybe as follows:
 Switch off cell phones or turn them on silent/vibrate
 Do not receive calls during the training
 Respect time—start on time, end on time
 Be respectful of other participants and the facilitators
 When contributing, talk loud enough for all to hear
 Talk one at a time
 No side talks etc.
3. Discuss and agree on the rules that will guide the training sessions.
Write these on another flip chart.
4. Ask participants if they agree to abide by these ground rules.
5. Post the ground rules list on the wall in the training room.

 Closing the training and Evaluation (15 – 20mins) - Closing this training workshop involves reviewing the workshop content and outcomes. When you evaluate the workshop, you can read out the expectations and ask participants if their expectations were met in the workshop. You also need to check if the workshop achieved its set objectives. You might want to develop a questionnaire/evaluation form and provide copies for each participant at the end or have an interactive session and just ask leading questions to evaluate the project. The facilitator should choose which option suits him/her best.