Legal Empowerment Leadership Course

Land and Environmental Justice Learning Track


From April 30 to May 17, 2021, we will bring together 70 inspiring grassroots justice advocates for the sixth Legal Empowerment Leadership Course (LELC). The aim of the course is to cultivate a global cadre of leaders who are committed to legal empowerment, and who share a common understanding of the field, including history, methodology, and evidence. The course is a unique opportunity to take stock of our collective knowledge and build upon it to strengthen a global movement for justice.

From 2015 to 2019, this course had been held annually at Budapest’s Central European University. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course will be held online for the first time.

The Legal Empowerment Leadership Course is evolving. We’re creating a dedicated track for legal empowerment practitioners focused on land and environmental justice, and gender. By adding these thematic focuses, we aim to unlock deeper comparative learning and foster a stronger sense of community.


Environmental destruction is a growing source of deprivation and injustice for ordinary people, and the top area of focus among our network members. Yet much of the global response to the environmental crisis is technocratic and top-down. Over the next five years, we will support a corps of 50 exceptional organizations from 25 countries to pursue environmental justice through legal empowerment. We will invest deeply in these groups, helping them to sharpen their methods, grapple with difficult organizational challenges, and win against powerful interests. Learning from each other and acting collectively, the corps of organizations and the communities with whom they work will form a powerful force for environmental justice globally: with inspired leadership, tangible results, and the potential to build new global norms for environmental governance. The corps will include Namati’s land and environment-focused programs in the U.S., Sierra Leone, Kenya, India, and Myanmar.

The land and environmental justice track in this year’s Legal Empowerment Leadership Course is one of the many ways Namati will search for potential corps members. We are searching for groups with these strengths:

  • Deep roots. We are looking for groups that have earned the trust of frontline communities.
  • Justice first. Historically, environmental efforts have often ignored or, worse, exploited the people most affected by environmental harm. We will prioritize equity and solidarity.
  • Potential to change laws and systems. We are looking for groups or networks that have the scale and rigor to win tough fights and achieve systemic changes at national level (or, in large countries, at the level of states or regions).
  • Democratizing law. Participating groups will share a commitment to equipping frontline organizers with legal knowledge and skills.
  • Global leadership potential. We are looking for authentic and inspiring leaders who can help to change norms at home and globally.

Please apply for the course no later than April 15th by filling in the form linked below. If you have any questions, please send them to