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Legal empowerment offers something rare and beautiful: a strategy for pursuing justice that is working.

This process of equipping people to understand, use, and shape the law is not easy. We encounter corruption and steep power imbalances every day. Many paralegals face threats of retaliation. But despite these challenges, we are seeing real progress against injustice in every country where we work. And the Legal Empowerment Network is the strongest it’s been.

How We Create Impact

In the Countries Where We Work Directly

1. Paralegals work with communities to solve justice problems at the grassroots. Together, they protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship. These remedies improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year.
2. The individuals who work closely with the paralegals learn about their rights and how to realize them using the law. They often go on to support others in their communities, creating ripples of empowerment.
3. We draw on grassroots experience to advocate for changes that make the system better for everyone. Paralegals rigorously collect data on every case they handle. We assess that information to identify where systems are failing and how they can improve. Together with the communities with which we work, we use that information to advocate for reforms to laws and policies. These changes can positively affect entire nations.
And the cycle continues… Once reforms are adopted, paralegals and communities bring the new laws or policies to life by using them to solve specific problems. It is through this cycle that we advance justice and democratize law.

 

Legal Empowerment Cycle

Through the Legal Empowerment Network

4. We learn from each other to get better. We foster learning among network members, online and in-person. By sharing evidence, challenges, and lessons from practice, our community becomes more effective.
5. We strive to transform the policy environment for legal empowerment. Together with network members, we advocate for policies that will create the space and structures for our members to work effectively and independently.

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Our Direct Country Impact

Throughout 2021, Namati and our partners in six countries supported affected communities to remedy injustices and bring about changes to entire systems.

25,000+

People supported to know, use, and shape the law

300,000+

PEOPLE WHO BENEFITTED DIRECTLY FROM REMEDIES SECURED

MILLIONS

PEOPLE POSITIVELY AFFECTED BY CHANGES TO LAWS AND SYSTEMS

Citizenship Justice in Kenya

In 2021, members of historically marginalized groups navigated a complex and discriminatory national identity system with the support of paralegals. While the process is ongoing for most, nearly 800 people secured their IDs, enabling them and their families to access essential services and take part in society.

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Health Justice in Mozambique

In 2021, thousands of people worked to resolve breakdowns in healthcare delivery with the support of paralegals. Together, they improved life saving services for entire communities.

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Land & Environmental Justice in Myanmar

In 2021, small-hold farmers and rural communities worked to secure the return of seized lands and address environmental violations with the support of paralegals. Despite challenges brought on by the February coup, they achieved remedies that directly improved the livelihoods and wellbeing of over 1,500 people.

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Land & Environmental Justice in Kenya

In 2021, 15 rural communities began the process of applying for the legal title to their lands with the support of paralegals. By the end of the year, a dozen had developed by-laws and set up inclusive land management committees and one was granted its title deed.

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Land & Environmental Justice in Sierra Leone

In 2021, rural communities worked to protect their lands and negotiate fair deals with investors with the support of paralegals. While the process is ongoing for most, one community successfully re-negotiated a lease, directly improving the livelihoods and wellbeing of over a thousand people.

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Land & Environmental Justice in the USA

In 2021, environmental justice organizers worked with their communities to address environmental violations by private and public projects. Together, they achieved remedies that directly improved the health, wellbeing, and livelihoods of thousands of people.

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Environmental Justice in India

In 2021, field researchers studied affected communities working to address instances of environmental non-compliance by industrial activities. These communities achieved remedies that directly improved the livelihoods and wellbeing of thousands of people.

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Our Network Impact

The Legal Empowerment Network is the world’s largest community of grassroots justice defenders. By the end of 2021, over 11,000 individuals in 170 countries, representing over 2,800 civil society organizations, had joined the network.

What Network Members Are Saying

The [learning exchange] was absolutely amazing. It helped me develop new ways of thinking of my work and challenges. It has connected me to many new people and networks who can benefit my work. I learned a lot about best practices and got new ideas from fellow participants.

Liesl Muller, Lawyers for Human Rights, South Africa

Citizenship Learning Exchange participant

As an organization, one of our challenges coming to the exchange program was how to build our legal support system. The program gave me a fresh perspective on how to handle the issues when I return back to the organization. [And] the financial sustainability session was amazing.

Bassey Bassey Ita, GREENCODE, Nigeria

Environmental Justice Learning Exchange participant

Getting all of these people together opens lots of ways forward…you don’t just see a textbook that tells you how it should be done. You hear from somebody telling you about the challenges they face and how they’ve gone about addressing them.

Hadeel Abdel Aziz, Justice Center for Legal Aid, Jordan

Middle East Regional Meeting on Legal Empowerment participant

This week has been confirming and empowering! I have never been more proud to be in the trenches doing the work of empowering people to reach their highest potential. They why is easy, but the legal empowerment course definitely provided the how!

Jhody Polk, Jailhouse Lawyer Initiative, USA

Legal Empowerment Leadership Course participant

 Stories of Legal Empowerment

Featured

Hassan’s Journey to Becoming a Citizenship Rights Advocate

HIGHLIGHT: Hassan, a Nubian youth living in Kibra, narrates the challenges he went through in his quest to get a Kenyan national identity card (ID) and how Nubian Rights Forum, a Namati partner, helped him finally get an ID. His struggles, shared by thousands of other members of the same community, made him see the...

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Environment

Black Water and Toxic Dust: Closing Illegal Mines in Myanmar

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Environment

Rhonda Hamilton: Fighting so that Children in her Community can “Live to be Grandparents”

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Health

Paying for Blood: Bribery in Mozambique’s Healthcare System

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Impact Report

In 2021 we made major strides in our effort to advance social and environmental justice. Explore the facts and figures and learn about our collective journey. 

Help Us Put the Power of Law in People’s Hands