4th annual Legal Empowerment Leadership Course (Budapest, 2 - 7 December 2018)

Hello all,

Our 4th Annual Leadership Course has come to a close, and I would like to share some takeaways and resources with everyone here on the network, so that those who were not able to attend may also benefit.

Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts or any questions you may have! :blush:

Take a look at the Participant’s Booklet to see which network members attended this year’s course. You can also view the agenda for the course: LELC 2018 agenda (16.5 KB)

@leadership_course_2018_participants please reply below and share your experiences with the rest of the network!

Below, you can find presentations for sessions during the course as well as summaries posted by your fellow network members!

Session 1: Introduction to legal empowerment

Faculty Marlon Manuel @marlonmanuel

This introductory session explores what we mean by legal empowerment. It addresses basic concepts, history, and philosophy. The session offers a vocabulary and a set of questions that we will return to throughout the course.

Introduction to Legal Empowerment (168.4 KB)

Suggested Reading:

  • An essay by @vivekmaru in Foreign Policy, proposing four principles for overcoming the challenge of delivering legal empowerment at scale.

Session 2: Legal empowerment, organizing, and social movements

Faculty Meena Jagannath @MeenaJagannath

This session explores how legal empowerment groups have combined strategic litigation and legal services with community organizing, and how paralegals and legal empowerment practitioners constitute an essential part of social movements.

Suggested Reading:

Case Study 1: The paralegal movement in the Philippines

Faculty Marlon Manuel @marlonmanuel

This Case Study shows how the movement of community-based paralegals have adapted and innovated over the decades, to bring about large scale change in the Philippines.

Sugggested Reading:

Case Study 1 PHILIPPINES 2018 (1.1 MB)

Session 3: Designing A Strategic Legal Empowerment Program

Faculty Kim McQuay @kimmcquay

This session looks into the key steps and important aspects to consider in developing legal empowerment programs or in refining existing programs.

Designing A Strategic Legal Empowerment Program (2.5 MB)

Suggested Readings

Additional resources from @kimmcquay:

Building Justice and Peace from Below

Strategy Testing an Innovative Approach to Monitoring Highly Flexible Aid Programs

Case Study Designing a Strategic Legal Empowerment Program (26.2 KB)

Illustrative Responses to Case Study on Designing a Strategic Legal Empowerment Program (36.5 KB)

Case Study 2: Data collection and analysis for advocacy

Faculty Meg Satterthwaite and Sukti Dhital @MegSatt and @suktidhital

These Case Studies follow how women-led and indigenous peoples’ movement of grassroots advocates, lawyers, and activists have collected, visualized and analyzed data for advocacy.

Suggested Reading:

  • SMS for Justice: Women Demand Access to Vital Services in Delhi - To address gaps in the delivery of basic services related to women’s health, adequate housing, food and nutrition, and water and sanitation across slums in Delhi, Nazdeek and ICAAD have developed and implemented a project that combines legal education and community-reporting through technology.

  • Bringing justice close: an experiment in accessing justice with technology - Legal empowerment enables poor and marginalized communities to be partners in development and decision-making. New technological tools are one type of innovation that helps legal empowerment groups reach difficult spaces. Nazdeek—a grassroots rights organization focusing on access to justice in India—has been working with tea plantation workers in Assam and slum dwellers in Delhi since 2012, with the mission to address systemic issues through community led policy and legal advocacy. This article discusses how new technologies make it possible for women in India to speak out against systemic problems.

  • Wapichan Set up Ground-Breaking System to Defend Human Rights and Monitor Ancestral Lands - Amidst increasing concerns about threats to their forests, wetlands and way of life, the Wapichan People of Guyana (South America) have set up their own ground-breaking system to defend their human rights and monitor their ancestral lands against harmful development. Community information has been collected using a grassroots land use monitoring arrangement that involves community monitoring teams, the use of smartphone technology, drones, and community digital maps – all controlled and managed directly by the villages. Today, the Wapichan People are launching a locally owned and managed website to present their monitoring information on the internet.

  • Wapichan Environmental Monitoring Report This report presents an overview of the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC) Monitoring Programme and provides a case study of one particular site that the Monitoring Programme has been targeting – Marudi Mountain. The report begins with background information regarding the Monitoring Programme and how it operates. It continues by providing a summary of the data that the monitors have collected to date, before continuing into a detailed discussion of the findings from the Monitoring Programme as related to Marudi Mountain. The report shows how the data collected by the SRDC Monitoring Programme has been corroborated by other sources and how it can be used to help address violations of the law and of our rights as indigenous peoples.

Session 4: Communications for Impact Summary Post

Faculty Armania Embaye @ArmaniaHE

This session tackles the use of effective communications for advocacy to present impact, and make a case for public and private investment.

Prezi Presentation

Case Study 3: Leveraging Technology for Legal Empowerment Summary Post

Faculty Matthew S. Mahmoudi

This session demonstrates how applied approaches to technology design can be integrated in legal empowerment programs.

Leveraging Technology for Legal Empowerment Presentation (2.0 MB)

Suggested Reading:

  • The guide to Design for Legal Empowerment showing how to use Design Thinking to address tough challenges and transform organizations working towards legal empowerment, published by Tandemic and Open Society Foundations.

Skill Sessions

Bottom-up Storytelling (Armania Embaye)

Prezi Presentation

Innovative Financing (Zaza Namoradze and Matthew Burnett)

Innovative Financing for Legal Empowerment (875.2 KB)

Popular Education (Marlon J. Manuel)

Popular Education (673.5 KB)

@MatildahMwamba @soniaoshowilliams

@sandratamari @DeanaJ



Dear Sender

Thanks so much for sharing these notes. I was not fortunate to participate but I can proudly say that I equally benefited from the programme.

Many many thanks,

Joseph S. Ansumana


great. I wish I could be attend the course, but I hope to apply for the next session


Thank you very much for sharing all this material. Even if it would’ve been better to attend in person, I find this very helpful!



The materials are awesome, I appreciate the team that tailored it for all of us who didn’t have an opportunity to attend