This week’s profiled resource is titled “Initiatives on Legal Empowerment of the Poor” and comes to us from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). As part of UNDP’s Initiative on Legal Empowerment of the Poor launched in 2007, this booklet illustrates case studies from legal empowerment projects in six countries: Pakistan, Zambia, Albania, Indonesia, Egypt, and India. These case studies highlight issues such as rent seeking by corrupt officials, employment conditions in the informal economy, and access to legal assistance and essential services.
Legal empowerment takes a fresh look at the relationship between law and development with the aim of pulling down that barrier. It advocates for an effective, inclusive rule of law that supports access to justice for everyone along with the basic rights individuals need to run their business, live securely in their homes, and earn a decent wage — whether or not they are a part of the formal economy. By removing the legal and administrative barriers that prevent the poor from participating fully in society, legal empowerment advances human development.
Taking the needs of the poor as the starting point, legal empowerment requires capacity development at two levels: the capacity of individuals to advance their rights and express their needs, and the capacity of the state and other actors to engage effectively with them and respond to their rights.
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The Featured Resource is a short profile of a key resource found in the resource library of the Global Legal Empowerment Network. These resources can be older or brand new, but they all touch on important themes within legal empowerment. If you have a resource you would like to profile with the network, upload it directly at this link or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org