Leadership

The Network Advisory Council (NAC) provides guidance on the strategic direction and priorities of the Network. The NAC is made up of 11 experts in the field of legal empowerment across the globe.

Sebastián Pilo

Argentina  
Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la...
Joined September 2015
Sebastián Pilo. Is Co-Director of ACIJ (Civil Association for Equality and Justice), a civil society organization that works to reverse inequality, defend the rights of disadvantaged populations and promote a better quality of democracy in Argentine.

He is a lawyer, graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). He has postgraduate studies on Administrative Law at the University of Palermo. He holds a Diploma on Transparency, Accountability and Anticorruption from the Human Rights Center of the University of Chile.

He has been working for more than 10 years on public interest law around constitutional issues and economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. He was a parliamentary advisor, university professor and he
litigated numerous constitutional cases in Argentina.

In ACIJ, he works on issues related to access to justice, community legal action, right to the city and right to housing.

Contributed Resources:

Sheila Grace Formento

Philippines  
Alternative Law Groups (ALG)
Joined February 2021
Interests: Environmental Justice, Gender-based violence, Policy Advocacy, Women's Rights
I am a human rights and child rights advocate, a community organizer, and a lawyer.

I am the current National Coordinator of the Alternative Law Groups-Secretariat (ALG), a coalition of nineteen (19) legal resource NGOs in the Philippines that adhere to the principles and values of alternative or developmental law. ALG members’ operations cover a wide area of concerns involving justice issues of the poor and marginalized groups in the Philippines. These include issues on women, labor, peasant, fisherfolk, children, urban poor, indigenous peoples, persons living with HIV-AIDS, local governance, and the environment.

I graduated with a bachelors’ degree in Community Development from the University of the Philippines. While working full time, I earned my Bachelor of Laws degree at the Arellano University School of Law in 2017. I was admitted to the Philippine bar in 2018.

At a young age, I was decided in pursuing my career as a community organizer and work with the marginalized and vulnerable sectors. Before joining ALG as National Deputy Coordinator/ National Program Coordinator in 2019, I served as a National Training Officer for the Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT) from 2009 to 2019. PACT is a national coalition of Civil Society Organizations and individual child rights advocates for child protection against trafficking in the Philippines.

My work experience also includes organizing Barangay Councils for the Protection of Children (BCPC) and Local Councils Against Trafficking and VAWC (LCAT-VAWC); implementing capacity building activities for communities, children, social workers, and law enforcers: and teaching college students at the Dela Salle University under the Civic Welfare Training Service program.

My 20 years of involvement in the development work has led me to immerse myself in the different struggles and issues of several marginalized sectors such as fisherfolk, women, urban poor communities, and children. I also engaged different government agencies in strengthening protection mechanisms for women and children.

Annette Mbogoh

Kenya  
Kituo cha Sheria – Legal Advice Centre
Joined November 2020
Interests: Criminal Justice, Environmental Justice, Gender-based violence, Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Housing Rights & Informal Settlements, Labor & Employment, Peace-building & Transitional Justice, Traditional / Customary Justice, Women's Rights
I am the Executive Director of Kituo Cha Sheria-Legal Advice Centre. I am a social justice champion and academic. I am looking to network with other like minded individuals, share experiences and learn on programming and best practices in legal empowerment worldwide.

Sukti Dhital

United States  
Robert L Bernstein Institute for Human...
Joined October 2017
Interests: Health, Housing Rights & Informal Settlements, Labor & Employment, Right to Information, Women's Rights
Sukti Dhital is a human rights lawyer and the Executive Director of the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights at NYU School of Law, a law center dedicated to advancing legal empowerment through participatory research, education, and advocacy. She also serves as a Supervising Attorney with the Global Justice Clinic at NYU Law, where she oversees legal empowerment projects spanning jailhouse lawyers and immigrant rights. Previously, Sukti was the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Nazdeek, a legal empowerment organization committed to bringing access to justice closer to marginalized communities in India. At Nazdeek, Sukti worked closely with affected community members and social movements to advance labor, food, health, and housing rights through a community-driven approach, with a focus on indigenous and Dalit women.

Prior to Nazdeek, Sukti was the Director of the Reproductive Rights Unit at the Human Rights Law Network, India and assisted in securing landmark social and economic rights judgments including Laxmi Mandal v. Deen Dayal Harinagar Hospital & ORS, W.P.(C) 8853/2008, the first decision in the world to recognize maternal mortality as a human rights violation and to award constitutional damages. She has also worked at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project and as an appellate litigation associate at the firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP. Sukti received her BA from the University of Michigan and her JD from Northeastern University School of Law. She is a frequent speaker at institutions and conferences concerning issues of social and economic rights, gender equality, clinical legal education and legal empowerment.

Contributed Resources:

Sara Hossain

Bangladesh  
Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust...
Joined April 2012

Steve Golub

United States  
Joined December 2011
Professor Stephen Golub is an international development scholar and consultant with more than 25 years of experience in 40 countries spanning the globe. Prof. Golub has consulted and conducted research for numerous leading multilateral and bilateral agencies, foundations, policy institutes, universities and nongovernmental organisations. Prof. Golub is a Harvard Law School graduate whose academic background includes teaching courses on international development at Berkeley Law School and Central European University and on refugee policy at Tufts University.

Professor Golub is a member of the Grassroots Justice Network's Advisory Council and a member of the review committee for the Legal Empowerment Fund.

Contributed Resources:

Amina Hanga

Nigeria  
Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (IWEI)
Joined July 2012
Interests: Children's Rights, Community Organizing, Community Paralegals, Gender-based violence, Women's Rights
I work for Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative.
I believe strongly that every human being has rights, should know their rights and be able to access justice if those rights are being denied or violated. My passion is assisting women and girls know their rights and are able to seek justice if those rights are being violated. I am very much interested in meeting and learning from others what they have been doing in the same areas and how they have gone about their work.

Chaika Iryna

Ukraine  
Legal Development Network
Joined August 2019
Interests: Family, Labor & Employment, Peace-building & Transitional Justice, Women's Rights
I`m Iryna from Ukraine. I`m really fond of developing human resource and legal empowerment. Since 2015 I'm working in the sphere of access to justice.

Vivek Maru

United States  
Namati
Joined November 2011
Interests: Citizenship & Identification, Community / Customary Land Rights, Environmental Justice, Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Health, Right to Information
Vivek founded Namati in 2011 to grow the movement for legal empowerment around the world. Namati and its partners have built cadres of grassroots legal advocates– also known as “community paralegals”– in eight countries. The advocates have worked with over 40,000 people to protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship.

Namati convenes a community of 650+ legal empowerment organizations from all over the world who are collaborating on common challenges and learning from one another. This community successfully advocated for inclusion of access to justice in the new global development framework, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

From 2003 to 2007, Vivek co-founded and co-directed the Sierra Leonean organization Timap for Justice, which has been recognized by the International Crisis Group, Transparency International, and President Jimmy Carter as a pioneering model for delivering justice services in the context of a weak state and a plural legal system.

From 2007 to 2011, he served as senior counsel in the Justice Reform Group of the World Bank. His work focused on rule of law reform and governance, primarily in West Africa and South Asia.

In 1997-1998 he lived in a hut of dung and sticks in a village in Kutch, his native place, working on watershed management and girls’ education with two grassroots development organizations- Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghatan and Sahjeevan.

Vivek graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, and Yale Law School. His publications include Between Law and Society: Paralegals and the Provision of Justice Services in Sierra Leone and Worldwide in the Yale Journal of International Law and Allies Unknown: Legal Empowerment and Social Accountability in the Harvard Journal of Health and Human Rights.

Vivek serves on the international advisory council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, the advisory board of the evaluation firm ID Insight, and the governing boards of the International Senior Lawyers Project and the public entrepreneurship organization Res Publica. He was an affiliate expert with the UN Commission on Legal Empowerment, and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Vivek received the Pioneer Award from the North American South Asian Bar Association in 2008. He was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2014, a “legal rebel” by the American Bar Association in 2015, and a Skoll Awardee for Social Entrepreneurship in 2016.

Contributed Resources: