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Make the Road: Developing a Membership Model that Builds the Power of Immigrant and Working Class Communities

+Acumen, Open Society Justice Initiative,

Make the Road is the largest nonunion immigrant membership organization in New York, in the United States. This case study explores Make the Road’s experiments with innovative financing. To support this work, the team at Make the Road has developed a robust and diversified funding model. In 2019, the vast majority of the organization’s overall…

Agenda de Fortalecimiento de la Sociedad Civil Organizada

Ana Cristina Gómez López, Marcela Nieto Sarre, María de los Ángeles Olvera Ortega,

La sociedad civil organizada (SCO) tiene un papel fundamental en un país como México en el que más del 50% de la población vive en situación de pobreza y tan sólo el 10% concentra el 64% de la riqueza; en donde el acceso a servicios educativos y de salud de calidad es sumamente desigual; y…

All About Power: Understanding Social Power & Power Structures

Srilatha Batliwala, CREA,

When activists try to change people’s lives, or tackle the injustices they face, we are actually trying to change power equations. Understanding power in terms of both power structures and power relations is very important for anyone who is an activist working for social change. It is even more important for anyone working on women’s…

We’re experts too! Checklist to support community led research

International Accountability Project,

When you hear the word “research”, what do you think of? Do you feel like research is something done far away by others? Is it something out of reach, only conducted by professors in universities? Research doesn’t have to be any of those things. We believe that research should be a collective effort, a process…

Survey Template for Community-led Research

International Accountability Project,

This Survey Template was designed to explore the direct experiences and expertise community members have about the process and impacts of development projects, and to identify ideas and priorities for their visions of development. You can adapt and translate this template to fit different contexts, and use the results to inform community advocacy designs and…

Community Action Guide on Community-Led Research

International Accountability Project,

Too often, we feel that the power to make decisions about the future of our communities has been taken away. But we do not have to feel powerless. There are steps we can take to reclaim control and identify our own priorities for development in our communities. Community-led ideas and expertise can lead the way…

Vision, Values, and Voice: A Communications Toolkit

The Opportunity Agenda,

The focus of this toolkit is two-fold: to outline framing principles and strategies that support the long-term movement of hearts and minds, and apply them toward shorter-term victories. The guidance included here is rooted in a large body of opinion and media research; in established communications techniques; and in the shared experience of hundreds of…

Power with: Practice Models for Social Justice Lawyering

Michael Grinthal,

This resource is from the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, Volume 15, 2011, pg. 25-66. Public interest lawyers seeking justice for marginalized groups cannot succeed by working alone. Meaningful social change occurs when marginalized and dispersed peoples unite and organize to take power into their own hands. Such groups benefit greatly…

Wapichan set up Ground-breaking System to Defend Human Rights and Monitor Ancestral Lands

South Rupununi District Council (SRDC),

Amidst increasing concerns about threats to their forests, wetlands and way of life, the Wapichan People of Guyana (South America) have set up their own ground-breaking system to defend their human rights and monitor their ancestral lands against harmful development. Community information has been collected using a grassroots land use monitoring arrangement that involves community…

Saving Sangam from Mining

Posted by Vijay Rathod in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

The following post originally appeared on India Water Portal. There was illegal mining in the Triveni Sangam and I could not believe my eyes. Who could do something like this? The sangam, or confluence of rivers, in the Gujarat district of India, has a special place in my mind as I had grown up visiting…

How a Coastal Violation is Leading to a Small Revolution in Karnataka

Posted by Vinod Patgar in Environment

The following blog by CPR-Namati Enviro-Legal Coordinator, Vinod Patgar, originally appeared on myLaw.net. Baad, a village near my village of Kagal in coastal Karnataka, hosts a fair every year at the Shri Kanchika Parameshwari temple. As children, the joy of going to this fair was unparalleled. During the fair, the yakshagana, a folk dance, used…

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…