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feature friday

feature friday, interview, non-profit, social change, women's rights

Feature Friday: Zariya & Founder Sahar Khan

Hello friends! This Friday, I’d like to introduce you to Zariya, an inspiring new organization working to support survivors of violence against women – currently in India – through an innovative, tech savvy new model. Check out what inspired Zariya’s Founder, Sahar Khan, in her journey towards tackling gender-based violence and founding a new model in this space! Tell me about yourself; how did you develop a passion for addressing gender-based violence? Interestingly, in high school in Oman, I worked on women’s education because access to education is a cause that was and remains very dear to me personally. However, during…

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feature friday, legal empowerment, public interest law, social change

Feature Friday: Justice and Empowerment Initiatives

Today (after a long pause between ‘Feature Fridays!’) I’d like to highlight an exciting new community-based lawyering organization in Nigeria, Justice and Empowerment Initiatives.  I’m truly excited about their approach, which truly aims to be far more community-based and involves not just litigation but community paralegalism, advocacy, and mobilization/movement-building. JEI’s three prongs of work are: training community-based paralegals, engaging in movement building, and finally – strategic advocacy. JEI trains, monitors, and supports networks of individuals providing community-based paralegal services in rural and urban poor communities in Nigeria. A particularly exciting aspect of their model is their community-owned initiatives in Nigera. JEI helps to set…

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feature friday, legal empowerment, public interest law, social change

Feature Friday: African Voices of Legal Empowerment

Namati – a great new network on legal empowerment – has launched a wonderful new multimedia series called African Voices of Legal Empowerment.  The series includes a number of fascinating personal interviews with legal empowerment practitioners from all over the African continent discussing what they do. These lawyers and paralegals describe their work, tell stories of cases they’ve worked on, and describe how the work has changed them. The interviews are inspiring, and tell a rare story of legal aid and empowerment – and how it can improve lives in concrete ways. This is a story that needs to be…

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feature friday, women's rights

Feature Friday: Catapult.org, Crowdfunding Site Focused on Women and Girls

An exciting new website was launched recently by Women Deliver – on the International Day of the Girl Child. The website, called Catapult, is the first online funding platform dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women worldwide. By partnering with trusted organizations and connecting them with a new online audience, Catapult provides a call to action to help bring an end to gender inequality. I think this new crowdfunding website is pretty great; although there are already a large number of crowdfunding non-profit and development websites (Global Giving, Jolkona, and Start Some Good come to mind), I think Catapult…

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feature friday, human rights, international development, legal empowerment, public interest law

Feature Friday: Sierra Leone’s progressive new legal aid law (and some links)

Things are changing — slowly but surely — in the world of legal empowerment and legal aid. In Sierra Leone, the Parliament recently enacted “one of the most progressive legal aid laws in Africa—with an innovative approach to providing access to justice for all that will reinforce the rule of law,” as noted by the Open Society Institute’s blog. This bill was approved with consensus by Sierra Leone’s house in less than one hour. The bill provides the “legal architecture for Sierra Leone’s first nationwide legal aid system.” As OSI’s Sonkita Conteh writes, The bill provides for a mixed model…

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criminal justice, feature friday, human rights, international development, public interest law

Feature Friday: UN Resolution on Access to Legal Aid

This Friday, I want to feature something a little different. Not an organization, but a little-known new UN Resolution which is truly groundbreaking. In a number of countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, access to legal services (even when accused of a crime) is unfortunately not a guaranteed human right. In the U.S., our criminal justice system is deeply flawed and racialized, with unequal access to high-quality criminal defense. However, this basic right is not even guaranteed for the poor in many parts of the world, leading to protracted pre-trial detention periods. Often, people have been in prison for…

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feature friday

Feature Friday: Young Women for Change

An incredible new movement of young people – women and men – in Afghanistan is arising to change the status quo around women’s rights in the country. This movement is called Young Women for Change (YWC), a non-profit consisting of volunteer advocates throughout Afghanistan which was founded in April 2011. YWC was co-founded by Noorjahan Akbar and Anita Haidary, and is a new advocacy organization fostering a grassroots feminist movement led by young Afghan women. The website features blogs from young Afghan women about women’s empowerment, and showcases the voice of youth activists. YWC is especially unique because they held the first ever anti-street harassment…

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feature friday

Feature Friday: Namati

Yesterday, I ran into a truly amazing new organization – Namati: Innovations in Legal Empowerment. Frequently here, I have written about the need for a legal empowerment and access to justice movement, and a greater focus on funding programs that provide legal services to the poor, especially community based paralegals and outreach workers. Namati is exactly the type of organization I have been envisioning, and I am so excited it has been started. Namati is a new international organization that “tests the potential of legal empowerment through innovative interventions and research.” Their work seeks a “better understanding of the impacts…

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feature friday, social change

Feature Friday: Yale Visual Law Project

I absolutely love organizations, initiatives, people and ideas that combine law and innovation, or take a creative approach to a legal issue. I recently discovered the Yale Visual Law Project and fell in love with the group’s idea and execution. Based at Yale Law School, The Yale Visual Law Project produces short documentary films on legal issues to advance public debate. They have a year-long practicum at the law school which “trains law students in the art of visual advocacy — making effective arguments through film.” The group explores the intersection between law and film through workshops, discussions, guest speakers, and production…

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feature friday, public interest law, women's rights

Feature Friday: Sakhi for South Asian Women

Today, I am excited to feature Sakhi for South Asian Women, an excellent community-based organization in New York committed to ending violence against women of South Asian origin. Sakhi works to empower women, particularly survivors of domestic violence, and uses an approach of direct service, advocacy, leadership development, and organizing. According to their website: Founded in 1989 by a group of five South Asian women from diverse professional fields such as banking, film, law, and public health, Sakhi, meaning “woman friend,” was created to fill a critical need—in spite of an abundance of religious and cultural centers, professional associations, and…

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