ABA Journal


Opening Statements

No Will, But a Way: Law Prof and Students Launch African Probate & Policy Initiative

Nov 1, 2012, 09:20 am CDT


The question is, will Tanzania’s court of law respect these wills & actually enforce them? Having a written document is fine, but what happens when you need to execute it, in a country where the norm is otherwise? What policy changes were made?

By Bea on 2012 10 30, 9:00 pm CDT

Gretchen and her team deserve praise and credit for having taken this first and important step.  Although the courts may be sluggish in adjusting to the change, the mere existence of such documents will challenge existing traditions and, with the support of local, regional and international women’s NGOs, the necessary work on other fronts such as consciousness raising, law school instruction, and judicial training, add momentum to the realization of this just cause.  It was not that long ago, comparatively speaking, that women here in the US suffered from equivalent deprivation.  The road to change in male-dominated societies is one fraught with difficulty, obstacles, and irrational resistance, even in advanced societies such as ours where the insidious assault on women’s reproductive rights remains a perpetual target and a large segment of our population countenances outrageous, absurd and ignorance-based values judgments about violence against women from elected leaders even on the national level.  Congratulations to Gretchen and her team for their valiant efforts.  I wish them and the women of Tanzania every success.

By Markus Zimmer on 2012 11 02, 8:28 pm CDT

We need more changes in Tanzania, Customary Laws gears behind women’s inheritance.  Be proactive to these changes. Good work!!!! Prof Gretchen.

By Hilda Stuart dadu on 2012 11 04, 4:43 am CST

They should consider using Sister Cities relationships to make this program more comprehensive. I see that Arusha has Durham, NC and Kansas City, MO as sister cities, and Dar es Salaam has Lansing, MI as a sister city. That means that lawyers and law students from Duke, UNC, Campbell, Wake Forest, Elon, University of Missouri, Cooley, and Michigan State could all work within the sister cities partnerships to keep this program going in the long run, and at various times of the year.

By Monica on 2012 11 21, 3:01 pm CST

Nice, feel-good thing to do.  Complete waste of time for the law students who need to develop marketable skills valued by prospective employers though.

By Cheeser on 2012 11 23, 8:20 pm CST

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