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Making the Law Work for People

Legal Empowerment and Inclusive Innovation

In nearly every part of the world, the law and systems of justice are largely designed to protect those in power, despite the fact that any meaningful, equitable, and accessible system of justice must put the power of law into the hands of everyday people.

Grassroots legal empowerment organizations work to address our collective, systemic, and sustained failure to protect and defend the rights of vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities. This handbook is meant to support legal empowerment practitioners and organizations to consider how these systems might be re-designed and re-imagined to protect and promote the rights and interests of the most vulnerable.

It introduces and supports participatory and community-led approaches to innovation and shows how participatory design and systems thinking can be helpful to innovate with more focus and better impact. By embracing these tools and approaches, legal empowerment advocates will develop the skills to analyze and understand how to make change at both the individual and the systemic levels, while simultaneously addressing immediate needs in communities.

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