Each year the Legal Empowerment Network conducts a survey to take stock of where our movement is and where we need to go.
Over 400 Network members from 80 countries took part in this year’s survey. The results are in, and they are revealing.
Here are five big takeaways.
1. Our Network is growing fast
In 2012 the Network consisted of less than 700 individual members and 218 organizations. Today membership stands at over 6,000 people and more than 1,900 organizations from nearly every country in the world. We are the largest fellowship of legal empowerment practitioners in history.
2. Many of us are from small, grassroots groups
Nearly 40% of organizations in the Network operate on less than $100,000 per year; nearly half of those operate on less than $20,000 per year.
3. Our Network overwhelmingly supports the Justice For All campaign
The survey revealed the price many members have to pay to do their work. Over 66% of respondents said they’ll have to make cuts or may not be able to operate next year due to a lack of resources. Most members have only one or two sources of funding, some resorting to using family grocery money to sustain their work.
Our Network launched the Justice For All campaign to address these constraints. We are making the case that grassroots justice defenders deserve greater financing and greater protection from harm. Over 99% of survey respondents expressed interest in mobilizing around these calls in 2019.
In April, the Task Force on Justice released a report that stressed “recognizing grassroots justice defenders, financing them in ways that respect their independence, and protecting them from violence and coercion” as key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
To put legs under the Task Force’s recommendations, and to gear up for July’s High-level Political Forum and September’s UN General Assembly, use the Justice For All Action Pack and policy brief to push governments to make concrete country-level commitments towards justice in 2019.
4. We are a learning community
Over 70% of respondents report gaining new knowledge or skills through the Network; 45% said the Network helped them deepen their impact.
We are committed to continue learning from each other, and to collectively get better at the pursuit of justice. Upcoming opportunities include a Central American learning exchange in July and the annual Legal Empowerment Leadership Course in November.
5. Our Network’s top justice challenges
Network members listed land and environmental justice, women’s rights, and citizenship rights as their highest priorities in 2019. Members are coming together regularly to advance these: in a recent webinar on how to achieve equitable community-investor negotiations, for example; another on using legal empowerment to combat gender-based violence; and a third reflecting on a cross-continental learning exchange on citizenship rights.
The Network is a community for practitioners who work with communities. The depth of injustice in our world makes this space even more crucial for members of our movement to huddle, learn, and together topple the barriers that stand between people and justice. Thank you for paving this way forward.
For more in-depth survey results, click here.