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Our Community is Taking Action: An Update on the Global Legal Empowerment Network

2018 has been a busy year for our community. The Global Legal Empowerment Network is growing and deepening on many fronts. Since January, nearly a thousand new members have joined the Network, representing almost 20% growth in membership this year. Together, on every continent, we are taking on some of the most pressing justice issues of our time.

Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of it all. Here are a few exciting highlights from this year’s progress.

Regional Anchors
As our network evolves, so too must our leadership and opportunities for deeper collaboration. As a first step in this direction, we are developing a cadre of regional anchors who, among other things, will grow membership within their geographic areas, develop local opportunities for practitioners to meet and learn from each other, spearhead regional advocacy campaigns, and contribute to a global learning agenda for legal empowerment.

We’ve selected two pilot regions for this initiative: Latin America and Southeast Asia, led by anchor members ACIJ (Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia) based in Argentina, and ALG (Alternative Law Groups) based in the Philippines, respectively.

To launch the Latin American work, a learning exchange was organized in Buenos Aires where 30 participants from 15 countries across the region came together to explore the major challenges they face. Read about this gathering here (click the globe at the bottom of the post to translate it into your language). Plans are underway to convene a similar gathering for the Southeast Asia region this fall. We welcome your feedback on the regional anchor concept; please share your ideas in this discussion.

The Network is committed to equipping practitioners with the resources needed to improve their work. We help members learn from each other, so we can collectively achieve our shared dream of legal empowerment for all communities.

In February, the Network organized a learning exchange in Sierra Leone focused on environmental justice, where 16 practitioners from 9 countries across Africa and Asia gathered to share practical lessons on legal and non-legal remedies to environmental justice cases.

In April, in partnership with the Bernstein Institute for Human Rights at NYU School of Law, we hosted 30 legal empowerment practitioners and academics for an interactive workshop aimed at developing a Shared Learning Agenda. Our objective is to fill knowledge gaps in the field and to foster a community of researchers and grassroots practitioners committed to generating learning that extends beyond any individual country or program. Check out the video below from the workshop to hear from some of the practitioners themselves.

We’re also learning with each other online. In 2018, we organized 7 webinars exploring issues ranging from women and land rights to strengthening environmental democracy to using tech to advance access to justice. Over 1,200 people from more than 102 countries have registered for these dynamic online conversations. Watch or read about these webinars here.

Finally, our online practitioner’s library now contains over 1,600 resources, making it the most expansive library on legal empowerment on record.

Justice For All Campaign
In the annual Network survey, members voted overwhelmingly to prioritize advocacy for financing and protection for grassroots justice defenders. In response, the Network, in partnership with The Elders, the Pathfinders Justice Task Force, and ACIJ, launched the Justice For All campaign. At the UN General Assembly in September, we will present the demands of our community to world leaders; add your name to the Justice For All petition today and join the growing movement. Visit our website, or join our monthly coalition calls, to learn how to get involved in this campaign and how we can support your national advocacy.

Screenshot of Justice For All website

Despite the discouraging headlines we read every day, the progress above gives us hope. Together we are building a movement that is putting the power of law in people’s hands, and in the process, building a more just world.

July 28, 2018 | Namati

Region: > Global