During our COVID-19 Justice Challenge, legal empowerment groups shared stories from the frontlines of the pandemic. Their experiences paint a vivid picture of what’s happening on the ground.
We’re seeing that, in the shadow of the pandemic, injustices are deepening. But that’s no cause for surrender. Around the world, grassroots justice defenders are adapting and innovating to respond to people’s needs. There is a lot we can learn from this experimentation; we’ve highlighted some useful tips for practitioners in our analysis.
Three key takeaways are particularly relevant to the future direction of our network and the Justice For All campaign.
Despite enormous obstacles, most grassroots justice organizations are finding creative ways to reach their communities. 91% of respondents continue to conduct some form of legal empowerment work despite severe restrictions to movement, limited access to technology, transportation, and protective equipment, as well as dwindling funds.
This shift has been incredibly challenging. For many organizations, conforming with safety precautions requires fundamental changes to their methods and strategies. Nearly half of respondents are struggling with remote working challenges. A fifth of respondents report issues with safety, security, health, and mobility.
- To overcome these challenges and meet the urgent needs of their communities, grassroots justice groups require support. 78% of respondents have ideas or initiatives in mind to better support communities, but cannot implement them due to lack of resources, technology, or skills. 88% of respondents are in need of funding; 67% seek to build their capacity.
Taking direction from the above, the Legal Empowerment Network is reiterating its commitment to raising funds and developing skill-building opportunities for members over the course of the pandemic.
We have some exciting developments on the horizon on both these fronts. Stay tuned for more news in the coming weeks—things are moving fast. We know that our members and communities need help and are working hard to rise to the occasion.