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A blog about the journeys we all make, about finding meaning, about law, justice, travel, human rights and human dignity, and about learning and exploring our complex yet beautiful world.

human rights, women's rights

Shattering assumptions

Hey there! Thanks for checking out my blog. If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed to receive updates. Thanks for visiting!This summer, I have spent the bulk of my time working on issues of gender, women’s rights, and access to justice.  The first half of my summer focused on providing direct legal services to survivors of domestic violence in family and immigration law matters.  The second half — which I am immersed in at the moment — involves policy research on issues of sexual assault across the U.S. In doing this work, I’ve often…

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human rights

I Do Not Wish For You To See Gaza As Anything But a Rose

My heart is breaking for Gaza; amidst all the destruction and pain, this Gaza-based writer seems to capture this well through her words. All the writing rituals escaped. I possess nothing except a lead pencil and a piece of white paper, even though I am wary of the word lead. I want a pencil of life because life is now so dear in Gaza, and there were so many who insisted on plucking it like a flower whose infanticide they hastened. Especially those small flowers because they are beautiful; the hands snatch them and do not let them live. Our…

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social change

The Princess Effect

This piece in Politico by Sarah Kendzior is spot on, decrying the state of media representation of powerful women in politics: Read these women’s magazines today—particularly those articles focusing on the “power women” of the Obama era, and there is a full shelf of them by now, from Mastromonaco to Michelle Obama, Samantha Power to Susan Rice—and you will find a familiar pattern. There are still only two main tracks for the female politico: intimidating and powerful or submissive and charming. When combined, these qualities translate into “having it all,” although “all” must be tempered with notes of humility, lest…

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social change, women's rights, writing experiments

Breaking down walls: a story from Salone

Sometimes, an image sears itself into your brain — it becomes a snippet of a memory that comes back, flashes back, and horrifies you when you least expect it.  These images come back to haunt you when you are lying down after a long day, about to sleep.  When you take a brief respite from work and take a quick walk outside.  When you are eating dinner.  At the most mundane times, sometimes these images strike — and you feel like you’re back there again.  Sometimes, there are moments you cannot forget, even if you wish you could. For me,…

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international development, legal empowerment, public interest law

New: evidence review of legal empowerment

Namati has just released an excellent and comprehensive review of 199 studies documenting the evidence related to legal empowerment. Does legal aid and awareness ‘work’? If so, how can we measure and conceive of its impact? As Namati writes: Our main finding is that legal empowerment, in all its myriad forms and wide range of contexts, works. In total, 97 per cent of the studies reported at least one positive change. Even programs that failed to make the changes they were designed for had other, unexpected positive effects on communities, individuals and the law. Some of the positive changes Namati noted were:…

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legal empowerment, public interest law, women's rights

New case study on ADR in Bangladesh

I just came across a really interesting new article, Domestic violence made public: a case study of the use of alternative dispute resolution among underprivileged women in Bangladesh, which reveals many of the same lessons and learnings I encountered while in Bangladesh. Some excerpts include (note; most of these are direct quotes): “ADR as practiced in Sylhet, Bangladesh provides poor women a chance to be publicly heard in mediations of their domestic crises. However, ADR often fails to deliver lasting, just, and socially progressive solutions. The adoption of ADR practices should not be considered as an alternative to the development of…

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personal, travel

Notes from Nairobi

This March, I had the incredible fortune of going to Kenya for a week, and had an absolutely wonderful time. The country is beautiful, picturesque and vibrant. Things are constantly changing and developing with the country’s new Constitution and decentralization process, and there is a sense of hope, possibility and optimism. It was an amazing time to visit the country. I wanted to share a few pictures! Church in Nairobi on a Sunday. A visit to the Supreme Court – a new and dynamic institution in itself. Visits to iHub, an awesome space for tech startups and social enterprises to…

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issues, legal empowerment, public interest law

TEDx Talk on Access to Justice

I wanted to share a fantastic TEDx talk I just encountered focused on why you should care about access to justice. I think he articulates, pretty well, why I think access to justice is simply so important and why governments should prioritize and fund legal services for the poor. I also loved his idea of a universal legal services/access to justice fund; though I don’t think we’re there politically, it sounds like a fantastic suggestion.

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legal empowerment, women's rights

New World Bank Working Paper on Paralegals in Philippines

A great new World Bank Justice & Development Working Paper has been published by Jennifer Franco, Hector Soliman, and Maria Roda Cisnero, focusing on community based paralegalism in the Philippines. The abstract is as follows: Community-based paralegalism has been active in the Philippines for the past 30 years, and yet its contribution to access to justice and the advancement of the rights and entitlements of the poor has been largely undocumented. This paper attempts to provide a framework study on the history, nature, and scope of paralegal work in the Philippines, based on the experience of 12 organizations that are active…

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guest post, human rights, women's rights

Interview with Dr. Keerty Nakray on Gender Violence in India

Today, I am excited to introduce Dr. Keerty Nakray, Associate Professor and Assistant Director, Centre for Women, Law and Social Change at the Jindal Global Law School, who has kindly taken time to speak with me about gender violence, budgeting and potential solutions in India. She has worked extensively on issues relating to gender violence, public health, and budgeting in India. Thanks so much to Dr. Nakray for her insights and valuable thoughts! 1. Tell me more about yourself. What led you to focus on gender violence, budgeting, and public health research and teaching? My research interests have been shaped consistently over the…

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