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Legal Empowerment of the Poor: From Concepts to Assessment

By: John Bruce

This paper published by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) explores the theoretical framework of legal empowerment of the poor (LEP), identifying the essential interlocking components of LEP and demonstrating how further understanding and definition of the concept of LEP can assist practitioners. The author divides legal empowerment into four integral parts: rights enhancement, rights awareness, rights enablement, and rights enforcement. The author’s clear analysis of each component covers a broad range of issues from methods and approaches in drafting legislative reform (included in rights enhancement) to media options for informing poor rural communities of legislation and administrative procedures to assert and defend their rights (included in rights awareness). Practitioners will benefit from the author’s insightful assessment of the operational implications of his conceptual analysis of LEP. Interventions to legally empower the poor range from major constitutional reforms to measures on the ground with local communities that require no legal or administrative change. Practitioners should carefully consider local and national context, resources and funding available when choosing a strategy of intervention.

Keywords: defining legal empowerment of the poor (LEP), customary land rights, indicators measuring LEP, legal reform, land governance, procedural reform.

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Uploaded on: Sep 22, 2011
Last Updated: Dec 04, 2015
Year Published: 2007
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