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impact_nature=legal-knowledge-skills

Legal Knowledge and Skills

The Homelessness Prevention Program Outcomes and Effectiveness

New York State Department of Social Services,

The Homelessness Prevention Program was established to address the problem of homelessness by preventing it from occurring. Homelessness prevention programs can have several beneficial outcomes, including the prevention of hardships associated with eviction and homelessness. Some programs may also produce benefits in the form of improved family function and improved ability to obtain appropriate benefits from…

Evaluation of Grassroots Community–Based Legal Aid Activities in Uganda and Tanzania: Strengthening Women’s Legal Knowledge and Land Rights

Julia Behrman, Lucy Billings, Amber Peterman,

Progressive legislative actions in Uganda and Tanzania have improved women’s legal rights to land, however significant gender disparities persist in access, control, inheritance, and ownership of land at the grassroots level. One promising mechanism to improve the implementation of laws is through Community–based Legal Aid (CBLA) programs, which are typically designed as pro–poor to enhance…

Can We Teach Peace and Conflict Resolution? Results from a Randomized Evaluation of the Community Empowerment Program (CEP) in Liberia: A Program to Build Peace, Human Rights, and Civic Participation

Robert Blair, Christopher Blattman, Alexandra Hartman,

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and Yale University researchers studied one of Liberia’s largest peace building programs—the Community Empowerment Program—for answers. The CEP was an intensive community education campaign that focused on civic education, human rights, and community collective action. Above all, the program attempted to impart knowledge and skills to foster dialogue and non-violent…

Communities’ Ability in Consultations and Land Transactions: Improving the “Empowering Effect” of Tenure Security Initiatives in Rural Mozambique

Giorgia Mei, Mariagrazia Alabrese,

The 1997 Land Law in Mozambique recognizes the “Right to Use and Benefit from Land” (DUAT) in the following situations: collective or individual “customary occupation”; individual “good faith occupation”; temporary (renewable) authorization for commercial exploitation of the land to national and foreign individuals or corporate entities. Mozambique’s Land Law establishes also that in cases of…

Enhancing Customary Justice Systems in the Mau Forest, Kenya: A Strategy for Strengthening Women’s Land Rights

Deborah Espinosa, Florence Santos,

Kenya’s new Constitution guarantees all Kenyans the right to access justice, recognizes customary justice institutions to the extent they do not violate the Constitution, and prohibits gender discrimination in land matters. These provisions form the basis for the USAID-supported Kenya Justice Project, which piloted a model for improving women’s access to customary justice as a…

A New Way of Working: Community Participation in Local Budgeting in Georgia

Thea Jamaspishvili, Oxfam Great Britain,

The collapse of the Soviet Union led to difficult times for the independent state of Georgia, as it made the transition from a centralised to a market economy, and from a communist to a democratic system. People had no experience of making decisions, even at local level, or of participating actively in local government. Since…

Citizen Initiative for Freedom of Information in Guatemala Citizen Action

Edgar Alfredo Pape -Yalibat,

Fifteen Guatemalan civil society organizations joined together to form a Citizens’ Observatory. Its purpose is to initiate processes and activities that strengthen the democratic capacity to exercise the right to freedom of access to government information and to hold public officials accountable for their administrative actions. Structurally, the Observatory is a voluntary, multistakeholder council that…

Social Audit in the Argentine Legislature: Obtaining and Publishing the Affidavits of National Senators

Center for the Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth, María Baron,

This social audit initiative was undertaken by the Transparency Division of the Center for Implementation of Public Policies for Equity and Growth [Area de Transparencia del Centro de Implementación de Políticas Publicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC)]. Its mission was to obtain and publish the Affidavits disclosing assets and financial status submitted by…

Social Audit Program for the Local Road Construction Project San Antonio del Monte

Otto Eric Vidaurre,

This social audit experience was used in the project to build a six kilometer local road in El Salvador. The project benefited 500 families directly and an additional 1,000 families indirectly, all low-income. Project duration was eight months, including training community delegates in the social auditing process and conducting supervision, evaluation, monitoring, and control of…

Citizen Control of Public Action: The Social Watch Network in Benin

Cyrille Chabi Eteka, Anne Floquet,

In the 1990s, the democratization of Benin’s public institutions, together with government withdrawal from the production of many social goods, promoted the emergence of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs). Initially, NGOs and CBOs were meant to take over the provision of public services. Gradually, they would also defend the interests of their members…

Bringing Law to Life: Paralegal Interventions in Natural Resource Exploitation

Posted by Sonkita Conteh in Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources

Introduction When a diamond mining company closed its operations in Mofuwe Village, in the south of Sierra Leone, it left behind three mined-out pits the size of several football pitches, a collapsed bridge, a blocked stream and an uncompleted community school building. It was as if the villagers woke up one morning and the company…

New book on protecting community lands and resources in Africa from Namati and Natural Justice

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

In 2013, a group of 20 expert advocates from across Africa gathered for a three-day symposium to share experiences and practical strategies for effectively supporting communities to protect their lands and natural resources. The symposium illuminated many similarities between the types of threats to communities’ land and natural resource claims, as well as underlying factors that drive and exacerbate…