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Sustaining legal empowerment in initiatives to support local land rights

Legal empowerment initiatives that strengthen land rights – and develop capacities and opportunities for the disadvantaged to exercise and enforce their rights – can help realign power asymmetries and contribute to the alleviation of poverty. The achievement of such positive outcomes depends, however, on the sustainability of the empowerment process, which in part depends on the sustainability of legal empowerment initiatives. The various components of such interventions – the design principles, delivery methods, providers of services, and funding models – impact the sustainability of the initiatives and the empowerment process itself. This paper, drawing on examples from the author’s experience and the legal tools for land rights literature, explores these different components, presenting a possible conceptual framework for programme design. The paper concludes with recommendations for practitioners, donors and the research community on how to strengthen legal empowerment initiatives to ensure that citizens not only gain but retain the power to influence land-related decisions that affect their lives.

This paper has been produced under IIED’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.

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Publication information

  • IIED code: G03513
  • Published: Dec 2012 - IIED
  • Theme: Law
  • Languages: English, français

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