Learning Exchange: Citizenship and Legal Identity

From October 7 – 19, 2018, the Legal Empowerment Network and Namati Kenya’s Citizenship Program hosted a learning exchange on citizenship and legal identity in Kenya.

The exchange, which drew much from the citizenship publication, “A Community-Based Practitioner’s Guide: Documenting Citizenship and Other Forms of Legal Identity,” brought together 19 legal empowerment practitioners from 13 countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe to share knowledge and experiences around citizenship rights and legal empowerment.

Participants explored comparative methods and strategies in a workshop setting; visited vulnerable and marginalized communities; and held in-depth discussions with local community paralegals towards improving their understanding and capacity to address cases.

Some participants were already leading in their citizenship rights efforts and looking to scale, while others were looking to start a program using specific techniques from a legal empowerment approach.


During the two weeks, the participants interacted with each other, different communities, and other stakeholders such as government agencies, partner organizations, and civil society advocacy organizations that work on citizenship issues. The combination of site visits and group dialogues enabled participants to leave the exchange with practical tools and ideas to incorporate in their future work.

For more detailed information about this learning exchange, see this summary post on our online forum: 2018 Citizenship Learning Exchange in Kenya.

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

Lawyers For Human Rights, South Africa

Liesl Muller

“The learning exchange has been useful to me in many ways but mostly [by] widening my understanding of the citizenship issue and the dynamics in different jurisdiction. It has given me more insight into community paralegal programs and their usefulness, plus [the] importance of networks…”

Janemary Ruhundwa

Dignity Kwanza, Tanzania

“The vetting process that the Muslim communities are subjected to was the most interesting part for me. I could push for my government to review and modify the existing mechanisms. I [also] learned there are many other means to raise funds. Different approaches and different materials used by other organizations intrigued me and I would try to adopt those new ideas in our work.”

Yadana Than Htaik

Braveheart Foundation, Myanmar

“The exchange was very useful … We got to learn from different people who came from different parts of the continent, their experiences, [and] share practices on how we can improve ourselves and also how we can join our hands together in the coming years.”

Zena AbdulRahman

Nubian Rights Forum, Kenya


  1. Isaac Arinaitwe – Platform for Labour Action (Uganda) –  @isaac_arinaitwe
  2. Silas Sheltiely Dillu – Himiza Social Justice (Tanzania) – @syrus
  3. Liesl Muller – Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa) –  @LieslHeila
  4. Maalini Ramalo – Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (DHRRA) (Malaysia) – @maaliniramalo
  5. Than Htaik (Yadana) – Braveheart Foundation (Myanmar) –@Yadana
  6. Lalita Yawangsan – Adventist Development and Relief Agency (Thailand) –@lalitaY
  7. Shaila Tieken – PUSKAPA – Center on Child Protection and Wellbeing (Indonesia) –@shaila
  8. Khalid Hussein – Council of Minorities / Statelessness Network Asia Pacific (SNAP) (Bangladesh) –@urdu
  9. Bal Krishna Mainali – Center to Assist and Protect Child Rights of Nepal (CAP-CRON) (Nepal) –@balkrishnamainali
  10. Iryna Aleksieieva – Right to Protection (Ukraine) –@scira
  11. Chukwuemeka Uzoma Okoye – Norwegian Refugee Council (Nigeria) –@Uzoma
  12. Janemary Ruhundwa – DIGNITY Kwanza – Community Solutions (DK) (Tanzania) –@janemaryruhundwa
  13. Natasha Arnpriester – Open Society Justice Initiative  (United States) –@natashaarnpriester
  14. Yasah Musa Nubian Rights Forum (Kenya) – @yasahkym
  15. Zena Abdul – Nubian Rights Forum (Kenya) –@zena
  16. Maryama Farah – Haki na Sheria Initiative (Kenya) –@Maryama
  17. Khasida Abdul – Haki na Sheria Initiative (Kenya) –@kasida_abdul
  18. Andrew Ochola Haki Centre – (Kenya) –@AndrewOchola
  19. Amos Mwatata Haki Centre – (Kenya) –@amoory