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How We Create Impact

In the countries where we work directly

Paralegals work with communities to solve problems at the grassroots: protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship, often through direct engagement with administrative institutions. These remedies improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Collectively, we draw on grassroots experience to advocate for changes that make the system better for everyone. Cases teach us about how systems are working in practice. They help us identify and envision which reforms are most necessary. And in terms of human agency, the experience of addressing specific lived problems (knowing and using law) is a powerful stepping stone towards taking part in movements to improve the rules and systems for everyone (shaping law). Pathways for achieving systemic change include constructive engagement with ministry officials, legislative advocacy, and litigation.

Everywhere we work, paralegals and communities have drawn on their casework to envision, organize around, and win improvements in rules and systems, including a better mechanism for enforcing sand-mining regulations in India, stronger social and environmental standards for businesses investing in Sierra Leone, and Myanmar’s first legal commitment to respect the customary land rights of ethnic minorities. Those changes were not conceived of by elites, as many laws are. They grow directly from the lived experience of ordinary people. They improve legal protections for entire states and nations.

And the cycle continues…
Once reforms are adopted, paralegals and communities bring the new laws or policies to life by using them to solve specific problem.

 

The Legal Empowerment Cycle

 

Through the Legal Empowerment Network

We learn from each other to get better. We foster learning among network members, online and in-person. By sharing evidence, challenges, and lessons from practice, we become more effective in our respective places, and we grow the sense of solidarity among us.

We act collectively to advance justice globally. Network members come together to fight for common priorities, from winning a commitment to “access to justice for all” in the Sustainable Development Goals to co-launching the Legal Empowerment Fund.