Learning Exchange: Environmental Justice in Sierra Leone

 “The exchange has exposed me to some other types of environmental justice issues and strategies adopted by practitioners in trying to find solutions. The work that the paralegals are doing is exemplary and worthy of copying and trying. This is because even though we have been involved in paralegal frameworks, we have not really put them into use as I saw in this [Namati’s] example.”
Chima Williams (Green Alliance Nigeria, Nigeria)


“The learning exchange gave me a lot of practical elements and ideas on how to start and run a legal empowerment program. This will be very useful as we start building our activities around extractives and infrastructure.”
Barbara Lassen (Natural Justice, Benin)


“It [learning exchange] was very useful to ZELA’s work because we discussed legal empowerment techniques, shared experiences on paralegal development and environmental justice through legal and non-legal remedies. It was a time for objective reflection.”
Nyaradzo Mutonhori (Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, Zimbabwe)

In February 2018, the Global Legal Empowerment Network, Namati Sierra Leone, and the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice program hosted a learning exchange in Sierra Leone.

The focus of the exchange was the environmental justice approach for working with communities embodied in the Practice Guide for Environmental Justice Paralegals. The exchange brought together 16 legal empowerment practitioners from across Africa and India to share knowledge and experiences around environmental justice and legal empowerment. Participants explored comparative methods and strategies in a workshop setting; visited communities affected by extractive industries; and held in-depth discussions with local community paralegals about the handling of ongoing environmental justice cases. Some participants were already leading in their environmental justice efforts and looking to scale, others were looking to start a program using specific techniques from a legal empowerment approach to environmental justice. Site visits and dialogue exchanges allowed participants to leave with valuable information to incorporate in their future work.

For more information about our learning exchanges, please contact exchanges@namati.org, or visit the learning exchange page.