Our first annual Leadership Course brought together leaders dedicated to legal empowerment to reflect on history, strategy, and evidence. This ground-breaking three-day course focused on law and development and the extent to which international rule of law assistance accounts for legal empowerment and its impacts on poverty, governance, and development. The intention was to contribute to solving the analytical and empirical challenge that international actors face when they address multifaceted, multisectoral justice issues. 34 participants from 16 different countries explored questions like:

“How best to provide frontline legal advocates with support and supervision?”

“What have we learned about state policies to recognize and regulate grassroots justice efforts?”

“What are the prospects for financing legal empowerment at scale?”


Case Studies

Land and Natural Resource Rights
Recognizing and protecting community rights to land and environment

Ensuring Effective Delivery of Essential Services
Integrating grassroots health advocates into national health systems to enhance the accountability and responsiveness of health services.

Community-based Dispute Resolution
The case of South Africa’s Community Advice Offices: How South Africa’s CAOs and their community-based paralegals have adapted and innovated over the decades.

Stand-alone Sessions

The impact of the field of legal empowerment
This section will include a history of the legal empowerment movement, an overview of the range of methods employed by legal empowerment programs, and a review of the impacts as well as the methods used to assess the impact, including overarching considerations and guidelines for M&E.

The political economy of legal empowerment
This section will focus efforts to institutionalize and sustain legal empowerment programs. Participants will explore the relationship between legal empowerment and underlying political and economic dynamics and craft strategies for institutionalization.

Legal Empowerment in the post-2015 agenda
Opportunities to leverage the post-2015 development framework to advance legal empowerment, in particular around the development of national development frameworks and indicators.

This is a carousel with auto-rotating slides. Hover to pause or use the pause play buttons bellow the slide show. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate, or jump to a slide.

The course was very helpful in understanding different paralegal models, their finding, management and evaluation. It was very helpful to analyze this in a global perspective and relate to work locally.


It was a great opportunity to learn about the challenges, experiences of different actors. The multiple approach, tools and experience has helped me to apply the relevant and required practices in my own country.

So many concrete, practical examples of how to improve my work. Will totally spend the next several months examining my own projects and using this info to adapt and improve.


Quality, diversity and effectiveness of sessions were great, really enriching and insightful.

This was an exceptional opportunity to meet with a diverse group of legal empowerment practitioners from around the world. It was very well planned and presented.

The case studies coupled with the more globally oriented sessions made for a very effective learning experience. I was particularly impressed with how naturally the connections between programs/activities in diverse contexts came through.