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Blog Posts

Hybrid entities can bring for-profit strategies to NGO funding

Louis Bickford,

This resource touches on how Hybrid entities that mix for-profit and not-for-profit strategies have the potential to free NGOs from constantly seeking foundation funding. Through his experiences in both the NGO world and now through a startup in Silicon Valley Louis Bickford shares insights of his journey so far

Theory of Change vs Logical Framework: What’s the difference?

Piroska Bisits,

Over the last few decades there has been an ongoing debate in the international development community about the best way to describe how programs lead to results. One approach has been to use a Logical Framework (also called a LogFrame), which most donors now require. Another increasingly popular approach is to create a Theory of…

How to Translate International Justice Commitments into National Reform

TAP Network,

The TAP Network is excited to present “Advocacy: Justice and the SDGs,” a guide for civil society, activists, and policy practitioners. It is our hope that it will help its users use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to successfully advocate for a national justice plan in their country. We are united in our belief…

Four Ways Regional Bodies Can Help Deliver SDG Justice Commitments

Temitayo O. Peters,

A blog post by Temitayo O. Peters that outlines four ways regional bodies can help countries implement and monitor justice commitments made through the SDGs to ensure their success.

Advocacy: Justice and the SDGs Blog

Temitayo O. Peters,

A blog post by Temitayo O. Peters that summarizes the launch of the “Advocacy: Justice and the SDGs” toolkit created by Namati and other members of the Transparency, Accountability, and Participation (TAP) Network.

Justice in the Global Development Goals – We Won!


A blog post by Namati that provides context and background to the inclusion of justice and legal empowerment being included in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Assessing How Everyday Justice Data can Shape Public Policy

Peter Chapman, Sumaiya Islam, Akhila Kolisetty,

This resource is a blog post written by Sumaiya Islam, Peter Chapman, and Akhila Kolisetty for The blog elaborates on using case data collected by justice organizations to influence policy.

Sustainable Development Indicators Risk Ignoring Most Peoples’ Justice Problems

Peter Chapman,

This resource is a blog post by Peter Chapman, program officer working on law and development with the Open Society Justice Initiative, that discusses the need for additional global indicators to track the progress of Sustainable Development Goal 16.3.

When Legal Empowerment Meets Community Mapping

Marena Brinkhurst,

This resource is a blog post about how Namati and the Kenya Land Alliance tested new tools for participatory community mapping in Tana River, Kenya.

“We are looking at gold and calling it rock”: Supporting communities to calculate the replacement costs of their communal lands and natural resources

Rachael Knight,

A blog post by Rachael Knight on the World Bank’s People, Space, Deliberation blog that explains why the Valuation activity is so powerful.

It takes legal empowerment to solve the housing crisis

Posted by Denis Kimathi in Legal Empowerment Network, Namati News

In this blog, the authors argue that the global housing problems are a denial of justice and legal empowerment is a solution to this injustice. According to the authors, resolving the housing injustice starts with empowering people and communities to know, use and shape the law. At a time when 1 in 4 people globally…

Namati’s Accelerated Action for Justice: Building a movement for legal empowerment

Posted by Vivek Trivedi in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Legal Empowerment Network

When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted, 193 countries made a commitment: to provide access to justice for all. But for years, progress has been slow, and grassroots justice organizations remain underfunded and under threat. 5.1 billion people –  two thirds of the population – cannot meaningfully access justice. Over the last 10 years,…

Land Law Threatens to Displace and Criminalize Millions in Myanmar

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

Myanmar is being threatened with a land grab on a massive scale. In September 2018, Myanmar’s parliament, led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, passed an amendment to the Vacant, Fallow and Virgin (VFV) Lands Management Law, requiring anyone occupying land classified as “vacant, fallow, or virgin” to apply for 30-year…

Q&A: Putting law in people’s hands to demand environmental justice in the United States

Posted by Alayna Chuney in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

Historically, the U.S. environmental movement has focused on litigation and high-level advocacy. The communities who bear the greatest burden of harm who are mostly poor and of color—have had little opportunity to use the law themselves. In 2018, Namati recruited our first crew of legal empowerment advocates. In 2019, we’re working with this group to…

Q&A: Legal empowerment as a beacon for environmental justice in Sierra Leone

Posted by Daniel Sesay in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

To spur economic growth, the government of Sierra Leone has been aggressively courting large-scale agriculture and mining investments. These have often led to the exploitation of communities and environmental devastation. Namati supports communities to protect customary land rights, challenge land grabs, remedy environmental harm, and, if they wish, negotiate fair deals with investors. This Q&A…

Q&A: How legal empowerment advances environmental justice in India

Posted by Vidya Viswanathan in Environment, Land & Natural Resources

In India, mining, industrial development, and other private and public projects damage the environment and endanger the livelihoods of local communities. Despite robust laws on the books, there is a very poor record of compliance. Paralegals on the Centre for Policy Research-Namati environmental justice team support communities to understand and use the law to find…

OPINION: Myanmar is confiscating land that people depend on

Posted by Vivek Maru and Nwe Ni Soe in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

In Thompson Reuters, Namati’s Vivek Maru and Nwe Ni Soe describe how Myanmar’s Vacant, Fallow, or Virgin land law is leading to a land grab on a massive scale across the country. Millions who depend on the land risk displacement and imprisonment under this new draconian law. Our recent survey of farmers in affected areas…

Global Report Hails Legal Empowerment as a Force for Justice

Posted by Namati in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Community Paralegals, Legal Empowerment Network, Namati News, Post-2015 Agenda, Resources & Research

Our community fought hard to make justice part of the Sustainable Development Goals. But world governments have not backed their words with action. In many places, injustice is growing and justice systems are getting worse. On our current trajectory, the historic commitment in the SDGs to achieve “access to justice for all” could die as…

New collection of essays on access to justice in the US

Posted by Vivek Maru in General, Resources & Research

The current issue of Daedalus—which is the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences—focuses on access to justice in the US. All the articles are currently available for free download here. See for example this provocative framing essay by Rebecca Sandefur, which draws on years of research by her and others. Dr. Sandefur…

Case Filed to Stop New Digital ID Register in Kenya

Posted by Mustafa Mahmoud in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Citizenship, Namati News

On the 18th of February 2019, the government of Kenya rolled out the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), more popularly known as Huduma Namba (Swahili for “Service Number”). The system is intended to create and operate a national population register as a single source of information about citizens and foreign residents. It has been…

Bad-Faith Contracts & Unjust Investments – How can communities protect their interests?

Posted by Rachael Knight & Kaitlin Cordes in Community Land Protection, Community Paralegals, Land & Natural Resources, Namati News, Resources & Research

Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. Namati and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) have published two new guides to help communities prepare for interactions with investors and, if they so wish, negotiate fair, equitable contracts….

Paralegals share lessons learned on holding community legal trainings

Posted by Centre for Policy Research-Namati in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

Paralegals with Namati and the Centre for Policy Research’s joint environmental justice program (who are called ‘enviro-legal coordinators’ or ELCs for short) have now conducted close to 75 community trainings on India’s Coastal Regulation Zone Notification in Uttara Kannada district. Last month, one of the program’s senior managers, Meenakshi Kapoor, held calls with senior ELCs…

Interview with Kav LaOved: Winner of the Grassroots Justice Prize in the #WalkTogether Prize for Courage Category

Posted by Namati in Legal Empowerment Network

The biennial Grassroots Justice Prize competition recognizes grassroots organizations and institutions, large and small, across the globe, that are working to put the power of law in people’s hands. The Grassroots Justice Prize is brought to you by the Global Legal Empowerment Network in collaboration with Namati, The Elders, Walk Together, UNDP, and World Justice…

The Network Has Spoken – Results of the Annual Survey

Posted by Namati in Legal Empowerment Network, Resources & Research

In February, the Global Legal Empowerment Network took part in an annual survey to assess where our movement is at and where we need to go. The results are in, and they tell us a lot. We are an extraordinary global community—representing over 150 countries. We are united by a common purpose: putting the power of law…

5 Lessons Learned From Applying a Legal Empowerment Approach to Community Land Protection in Sierra Leone

Posted by Hassan Sesay in Community Land Protection, Land & Natural Resources

The Namati team in Sierra Leone is engaged in an ongoing effort to discover sustainable measures for community ownership, management, and administration of land and natural resources throughout the country. To this end, we have taken on a new project: the application of a legal empowerment approach to community land protection. Land administration in Sierra…

Holding a Municipality Accountable

Posted by Hasmukh Dhumadiya in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

This blog was written by Hasmukh Dhumadiya, an Enviro-legal Coordinator with the CPR-Namati Environmental Justice Program in India. It was originally published on India Together, an electronic newsmagazine devoted to coverage of public affairs, policy, and development in India. Bakshipunch Housing Society is located in Arambhada in the district of Devbhumi Dwarka in the western Indian…

Biting the Dust: How community action stopped a polluting refinery

Posted by Jayendrasinh Ker in Community Paralegals, Environment, Land & Natural Resources

The following blog WAS written by Jayendrasinh Ker, an Enviro Legal Coordinator with the CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program in India. IT was originally published on myLaw, an online platform dedicated to making legal knowledge and learning accessible to everyone in India through quality content and courses. Dineshbhai’s mobile number has its ringer off. But before that,…

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…

The Slow Burn of Justice, the Power of Research

Posted by Adrian Di Giovanni in General, Legal Empowerment Network, Resources & Research

The Slow Burn of Justice, the Power of Research By Adrian Di Giovanni, Senior Program Specialist, Law & Development at International Development Research Centre The slow burn of justice. In launching the “Resisting Injustice” blog series, Namati has evoked the powerful image of the arc of history bending towards justice and, in the process, a long…

Residents use rule of law to secure environmental justice

Posted by Hasmukh Dhumadia in Community Paralegals, Environment

The following article first appeared on the India Together website. Gujarat, located in western part of India, has the longest and the most industrialized coastline in the country. The majority of the mangroves on this coastal stretch are found in Devbhumi Dwarka District of the state. The district is on the southern shore of the…

The Role of Law Firms in Increasing Access to Justice Globally

Posted by Sara Andrews in General

The Role of Law Firms in Increasing Access to Justice Globally By Sara Andrews, Senior International Pro Bono Counsel and Assistant Director, New Perimeter Do private sector lawyers have a role to play in increasing access to justice for people who cannot afford legal representation around the world? Based on recent events, the answer appears to…

LEGEND Land Policy Bulletin: “Namati’s experience of using GeoODK GPS Mapping”

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Community Land Protection

Maps are critical tools that assist communities in securing formal legal recognition of their rights to customary land and supporting local land governance. However, the map-making support Namati could provide to communities in Africa and Asia was, until recently, limited to hand-drawn sketches. GPS and satellite technologies were too costly and technically complex. In 2016, Namati partnered with…

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 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…

Launching the “Resisting Injustice” Blog Series

Posted by Namati in General, Namati News

It’s been hard to watch the news recently. With the growing refugee crisis, rise of populism, increase in vigilante justice, and birth of “alternative facts”, the legal empowerment community is facing huge challenges all around the world. Key allies who have helped support and finance access to justice seem to be turning away. But we…

How One Experience in Bangladesh Advanced Women’s Rights Work in Myanmar

Posted by Nant Thi Thi Oo in Gender, Legal Empowerment Network

The following is a blog by Nant Thi Thi Oo, a data entry associate with Namati’s program in Myanmar.    In November 2015, I had the chance to participate in a learning exchange hosted by Namati and the Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA). I was very grateful to be selected to go. The exchange focused…

Barefoot Lawyers, Communities, and the Earth

Posted by Vivek Maru in Community Paralegals, Environment

The following blog first appeared as part of Article 3 Advisor’s special blog series on climate justice. Check out their site for other blog series on topics ranging from prison to refugees to modern day slavery. The global human rights movement has made extraordinary progress, at least by the letter of the law. Many countries now…

“Advocacy: Justice and the SDGs”

Posted by Ope Peters in Advocacy & Systemic Change, General, Namati News, Post-2015 Agenda, Resources & Research

For 50 years access to justice has been guaranteed as a basic human right under international law. Yet for hundreds of millions of people around the world, this right is not their reality. Many countries have either failed to enact sufficient laws at the national level or failed to effectively implement them. As is often…

Get your facts right, get them to act right

Posted by Chicu Lokgariwar, India Water Portal in Environment

The following article was written by Chicu Lokgariwar from India Water Portal (IWP) following a training program on community-led research methods for environmental justice in India that took at the Sambhavnaa Institute, Palampur in September 2016. The workshop was designed and facilitated by Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon of Centre for Policy Research (CPR)- Namati,…

The Legal Empowerment Leadership Course Experience

Posted by Namati in General

For five days in October, sixty-one justice practitioners from twenty-five countries came together at the Central European University (CEU) in Hungary for the second annual Legal Empowerment Leadership Course. The course is the only one of its kind in the world. It brings together leaders dedicated to legal empowerment to reflect on history, strategy, and…

The Panama Papers, Corruption and the Missing Solution

Posted by Stacey Cram in Advocacy & Systemic Change

The role of law is to provide safeguards and protection for us all. But when the law resides in the hands of a few, those few have the power to ignore it, evade it, or manipulate it to advance their own interests – often at the expense of others. Such injustices occur around the world…

Is the Hubli-Ankola Railway line approved?

Posted by Kanchi Kohli in Environment

India’s media reports that the country’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given clearance to Indian Railways to approach the state government regarding the Hubli-Ankola rail link, which will pass through the dense Western Ghats in Karnataka. Kanchi Kohli writes on how the orders of NGT do not necessarily imply a complete go-ahead for the railway…

Burying the Law to Make Way for a Coal Mine

Posted by Kanchi Kohli and Alok Shukla in Environment

The cancellation of the community rights of Ghatbarra village over the Hasdeo Arand forest – to make way for a coal mine – raises many questions. When the Forest Survey of India’s 2011 report celebrated Hasdeo Arand as the largest unfragmented forest in central India outside the official protected area system, there was another process…

What Lies Behind Environmental Law Making

Posted by Manju Menon & Kanchi Kohli in Environment

Even before the new government came to power in India in mid 2014, the narrative of environment regulations being antithetical to economic growth had become a matter of national debate. Not surprisingly then, since June 2014 there has been a roll out of amendments to procedures that determine environmental approvals to industrial and infrastructure projects….

CRZ: Why coastal communities are troubled by these three letters

Posted by Vinod Patgar in Environment

The coastline of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka is poised at a critical juncture. Both the government and the private sector are looking out for opportunities and have begun setting up resorts, ports, and industries signalling “new” opportunities. In this context, sustaining common use areas like beaches and creeks and access to the shore for…

Justice & Identity in Kibera

Posted by Paul McCann in Citizenship

Kibera, reputedly Africa’s largest informal settlement, is not an easy place to find your way around. In this story and photo gallery Namati’s partner, the Nubian Rights Forum, introduce us to the crowded lanes that are home to their community. We meet some of their clients, Kenyan Nubians struggling with a discriminatory system that makes it…

Stretching the meaning of ‘reforestation’ beyond breaking point

Posted by Manju Menon in Environment

This OpEd first appeared in The Caravan Magazine. Ever since he took charge as the minister for the environment and forests in May last year, Prakash Javadekar has appeared to be in quite a hurry. His task, he has stated over and over again to the media whenever the opportunity has presented itself, is to…

The Global Goals – A Win for our Community

Posted by Stacey Cram in Post-2015 Agenda

On September 25th 2015 the new 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by 193 countries at the United National General Assembly. Tackling injustice has been placed at the heart of this framework. While we must celebrate the substantial gains made by the Justice 2015 Campaign, we cannot under estimate the challenges that lie…

Measuring Land Rights for a Sustainable Future

Posted by Kaitlin Y. Cordes and Jeffrey D. Sachs in Land & Natural Resources, Post-2015 Agenda

Land rights, both for individuals and for communities, are critical for achieving sustainable development. Security of land tenure and other rights to the land (sometimes held communally rather than individually) can accelerate poverty reduction, strengthen food security, and empower women. Land rights can reduce resource conflicts, as well as encourage the responsible use of natural resources. As…

Oxfam employs Namati land model in Kenya and Nepal

Posted by Namati in Community Land Protection

Oxfam UK and Namati are teaming up to provide the ‘weapons’ to protect community land in Nepal and Kenya. Through the UK Government-funded Community Land Rights Programme Oxfam is applying the Namati model to support rural people to map community lands, build inclusive management of resources, facilitate the resolution of land disputes, and gain legal protection over their lands. Read the full blog by…

Spring 2015 Program Update: Realizing the Right to Health

Posted by Ellie Feinglass in Health, Namati News

Namati’s right to health program aims to improve quality of and access to basic health services using a combination of methods including greater literacy of health care and health policy, facilitated clinic-community dialogue, and pursuit of legal and administrative remedies for breaches of policy or health-related rights. We have been engaged in this work in collaboration with…

Why SDG indicators on land are crucial

Posted by Luca Miggiano in Land & Natural Resources, Post-2015 Agenda

Protecting people’s land rights is also about measuring them in the right way. The upcoming Sustainable Development Goals are a historic opportunity to improve the livelihoods of the most marginalized women and men in the world. To do this, we need indicators that do not go below existing international benchmarks that protect people’s land rights….

Ignoring the institutions that can save India’s coastal regions

Posted by Manju Menon, Kanchi Kohli and Meenakshi Kapoor in Environment

Since November 2014 there have been at least four amendments to India’s Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011. In all but one instance, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has emphasised on the “public interest” clause, allowing the dispensation of the requirement of a public notice and seeking citizen’s inputs before the…

Talking Health Rights

Posted by Paul McCann in Health

Cacilda Fumo is one of Namati’s health advocates – a compassionate champion of patient rights. At the 1st of May Health Center in Maputo, Mozambique, where HIV and TB patients seek treatment from an over-stretched public health service, she is a regular presence – explaining to people not only how they can stay healthy, but what they can expect…

Community Paralegals and the Legal Empowerment Approach to Statelessness

Posted by Laura Goodwin in Citizenship

Mohammad Javed is an Urdu-speaking entrepreneur living in the middle of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. Looking to grow his business, Mohammad decided to travel to India to start importing spare auto-rickshaw parts for his own repairs and to sell to others. Yet Mohammad was unsure of the process through which he could obtain…

Taking Stock of the Justice 2015 Campaign

Posted by Abigail Moy in Post-2015 Agenda

BY ABIGAIL MOY With the 69th Session of the UN general Assembly approaching, it’s a good time to reflect on the progress of our Justice 2015 campaign. Last month, the 13th and final meeting of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals concluded. The OWG issued its proposal in a final Outcome…

No Consent in Nimiyama Chiefdom

Posted by Karima Tawfik in Land & Natural Resources

Innovative Legal Remedies to Protect  Land Rights in Sierra Leone By Karima Tawfik For one woman in Nimiyama Chiefdom in eastern Sierra Leone, the first sign of trouble came when she went into her family’s fields to brush for planting and was told to leave immediately because the land had been “sold.” For another landowner, it…

The Maid and the Madame: Rights for Migrant Workers in Jordan

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Legal Empowerment Network

Meet Linda Alkalash, whose organization, Daem, works to protect migrant workers and combat human trafficking in Jordan. In this latest entry in our Middle East series, Linda recounts the story of a Sri Lankan domestic worker who went fourteen years without receiving her salary – a case not too uncommon, as she explains.

Protecting migrant and domestic workers in Lebanon

Posted by Bremen Donovan in Gender

In the fourth installment of our series on the practice of legal empowerment in the Middle East, Sarah Cherif describes the unspoken reasons behind mistreatment of domestic staff by Lebanese employers, and KAFA’s efforts to make change.

Transforming ‘a culture of revenge’ in post-revolution Libya

Posted by Bremen Donovan in General

Today, we launch the first in a ten-part interview series exploring the practice of legal empowerment in the Middle East. Our series begins with Abdul Elgadi, who discusses grassroots efforts to turn Al Zawiri prisons over to the Libyan state.