ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Vivek Maru - Legal empowerment advocate
Vivek Maru is the founder of Namati, a movement for legal empowerment around the world powered by cadres of grassroots legal advocates.

Why you should listen

More than four billion people around the world live outside the protection of the law. Vivek Maru founded Namati in 2011 to grow the movement for legal empowerment, building cadres of grassroots legal advocates, also known as "community paralegals," in ten countries so far. The advocates have worked with more than 65,000 people to protect community lands, enforce environmental law and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship. Namati convenes the Global Legal Empowerment Network, more than 1,000 groups from 150 countries who are learning from one another and collaborating on common challenges. Thanks to their work, access to justice is part of the UN's new global development framework, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

From 2003 to 2007, Maru co-founded and co-directed the Sierra Leonean organization Timap for Justice, a pioneering model for delivering justice services in the context of a weak state and a plural legal system. From 2008 to 2011, he served as senior counsel in the Justice Reform Group of the World Bank. His work focused on rule of law reform and governance, primarily in West Africa and South Asia. In 1997–1998 he lived in a hut of dung and sticks in a village in Kutch, his native place, in western India, working on watershed management and girls' education with two grassroots development organizations, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghathan and Sahjeevan.

More profile about the speaker
Vivek Maru | Speaker | TED.com
TEDGlobal 2017

Vivek Maru: How to put the power of law in people's hands

Filmed:
1,154,577 views

What can you do when the wheels of justice don't turn fast enough? Or when they don't turn at all? Vivek Maru is working to transform the relationship between people and law, turning law from an abstraction or threat into something that everyone can understand, use and shape. Instead of relying solely on lawyers, Maru started a global network of community paralegals, or barefoot lawyers, who serve in their own communities and break the law down into simple terms to help people find solutions. Learn more about how this innovative approach to using the law is helping socially excluded people claim their rights. "A little bit of legal empowerment can go a long way," Maru says.
- Legal empowerment advocate
Vivek Maru is the founder of Namati, a movement for legal empowerment around the world powered by cadres of grassroots legal advocates. Full bio

Double-click the English transcript below to play the video.

00:12
I want to tell you about someone.
0
786
1682
00:15
I'm going to call him Ravi Nanda.
1
3077
2225
00:17
I'm changing his name
to protect his safety.
2
5326
2197
00:20
Ravi's from a community
of herdspeople in Gujarat
3
8592
3715
00:24
on the western coast of India,
4
12331
2201
00:26
same place my own family comes from.
5
14556
1936
00:30
When he was 10 years old,
his entire community was forced to move
6
18048
5386
00:35
because a multinational corporation
7
23458
2088
00:37
constructed a manufacturing facility
on the land where they lived.
8
25570
3459
00:42
Then, 20 years later,
the same company built a cement factory
9
30263
5869
00:48
100 meters from where they live now.
10
36156
2349
00:51
India has got strong
environmental regulations on paper,
11
39708
4452
00:56
but this company
has violated many of them.
12
44184
2547
00:59
Dust from that factory
covers Ravi's mustache
13
47873
3037
01:02
and everything he wears.
14
50934
1478
01:05
I spent just two days in his place,
and I coughed for a week.
15
53135
3603
01:10
Ravi says that if people or animals
eat anything that grows in his village
16
58300
5074
01:15
or drink the water,
17
63398
1681
01:17
they get sick.
18
65103
1238
01:19
He says children now walk
long distances with cattle and buffalo
19
67673
4794
01:24
to find uncontaminated grazing land.
20
72491
2650
01:28
He says many of those kids
have dropped out of school,
21
76396
3483
01:31
including three of his own.
22
79903
1366
01:35
Ravi has appealed
to the company for years.
23
83045
3103
01:38
He said, "I've written so many letters
my family could cremate me with them.
24
86767
4271
01:43
They wouldn't need to buy any wood."
25
91062
1780
01:44
(Laughter)
26
92866
1420
01:47
He said the company ignored
every one of those letters,
27
95268
4593
01:51
and so in 2013,
28
99885
1990
01:53
Ravi Nanda decided to use
the last means of protest
29
101899
4237
01:58
he thought he had left.
30
106160
1261
02:00
He walked to the gates of that factory
with a bucket of petrol in his hands,
31
108058
5650
02:05
intending to set himself on fire.
32
113732
2055
02:10
Ravi is not alone in his desperation.
33
118639
3269
02:14
The UN estimates that worldwide,
34
122759
1953
02:16
four billion people live
without basic access to justice.
35
124736
4999
02:22
These people face grave threats
to their safety, their livelihoods,
36
130596
4829
02:27
their dignity.
37
135449
1165
02:29
There are almost always laws on the books
that would protect these people,
38
137455
4723
02:34
but they've often
never heard of those laws,
39
142202
2759
02:36
and the systems that are supposed
to enforce those laws
40
144985
3286
02:40
are corrupt or broken or both.
41
148295
3579
02:45
We are living with a global
epidemic of injustice,
42
153276
6008
02:51
but we've been choosing to ignore it.
43
159308
1864
02:54
Right now, in Sierra Leone,
44
162522
3080
02:57
in Cambodia, in Ethiopia,
45
165626
2602
03:00
farmers are being cajoled
46
168252
2049
03:02
into putting their thumbprints
on 50-year lease agreements,
47
170325
4762
03:07
signing away all the land
they've ever known for a pittance
48
175111
3436
03:10
without anybody even explaining the terms.
49
178571
2444
03:14
Governments seem to think that's OK.
50
182700
1833
03:18
Right now, in the United States,
51
186123
2628
03:20
in India, in Slovenia,
52
188775
2952
03:23
people like Ravi
are raising their children
53
191751
3087
03:26
in the shadow of factories or mines
54
194862
2921
03:29
that are poisoning
their air and their water.
55
197807
2373
03:33
There are environmental laws
that would protect these people,
56
201121
2909
03:36
but many have never seen those laws,
57
204054
1716
03:37
let alone having a shot at enforcing them.
58
205794
2222
03:40
And the world seems
to have decided that's OK.
59
208971
2846
03:45
What would it take to change that?
60
213234
1753
03:48
Law is supposed to be the language we use
61
216437
4226
03:52
to translate our dreams about justice
62
220687
2844
03:55
into living institutions
that hold us together.
63
223555
3282
03:59
Law is supposed to be the difference
64
227760
1993
04:01
between a society
ruled by the most powerful
65
229777
2825
04:04
and one that honors
the dignity of everyone,
66
232626
2484
04:07
strong or weak.
67
235134
1388
04:09
That's why I told
my grandmother 20 years ago
68
237491
2374
04:11
that I wanted to go to law school.
69
239889
1721
04:14
Grandma didn't pause.
She didn't skip a beat.
70
242482
2334
04:16
She said to me, "Lawyer is liar."
71
244840
2919
04:20
(Laughter)
72
248744
2991
04:23
That was discouraging.
73
251759
2143
04:25
(Laughter)
74
253926
3293
04:29
But grandma's right, in a way.
75
257243
1662
04:30
Something about law
and lawyers has gone wrong.
76
258929
3357
04:35
We lawyers are usually
expensive, first of all,
77
263194
4055
04:39
and we tend to focus
on formal court channels
78
267273
2801
04:42
that are impractical
for many of the problems people face.
79
270098
3421
04:46
Worse, our profession has shrouded law
in a cloak of complexity.
80
274474
5253
04:52
Law is like riot gear on a police officer.
81
280528
2897
04:55
It's intimidating and impenetrable,
82
283804
3384
04:59
and it's hard to tell
there's something human underneath.
83
287212
2690
05:02
If we're going to make justice
a reality for everyone,
84
290856
4166
05:07
we need to turn law
from an abstraction or a threat
85
295046
4016
05:11
into something that every single person
can understand, use and shape.
86
299086
5793
05:18
Lawyers are crucial
in that fight, no doubt,
87
306376
3752
05:22
but we can't leave it to lawyers alone.
88
310152
1930
05:25
In health care, for example,
89
313147
2301
05:27
we don't just rely
on doctors to serve patients.
90
315472
3353
05:30
We have nurses and midwives
and community health workers.
91
318849
4206
05:35
The same should be true of justice.
92
323925
2905
05:39
Community legal workers,
93
327767
2024
05:41
sometimes we call them
community paralegals,
94
329815
2405
05:44
or barefoot lawyers,
95
332244
2124
05:46
can be a bridge.
96
334392
1210
05:48
These paralegals are from
the communities they serve.
97
336095
2817
05:51
They demystify law,
98
339577
1800
05:53
break it down into simple terms,
99
341401
2212
05:55
and then they help people
look for a solution.
100
343637
2682
05:59
They don't focus on the courts alone.
101
347142
1763
06:00
They look everywhere:
102
348929
1703
06:02
ministry departments,
local government, an ombudsman's office.
103
350656
4119
06:07
Lawyers sometimes say to their clients,
104
355933
2579
06:10
"I'll handle it for you. I've got you."
105
358536
1952
06:12
Paralegals have a different message,
106
360883
2469
06:15
not "I'm going to solve it for you,"
107
363376
2641
06:18
but "We're going to solve it together,
108
366041
2252
06:20
and in the process,
we're both going to grow."
109
368317
2365
06:23
Community paralegals
saved my own relationship to law.
110
371957
4015
06:28
After about a year in law school,
I almost dropped out.
111
376377
2703
06:31
I was thinking maybe I should
have listened to my grandmother.
112
379104
3131
06:34
It was when I started
working with paralegals
113
382259
2580
06:36
in Sierra Leone, in 2003,
114
384863
2779
06:39
that I began feeling hopeful
about the law again,
115
387666
3726
06:43
and I have been obsessed ever since.
116
391416
2503
06:47
Let me come back to Ravi.
117
395158
1396
06:50
2013, he did reach
the gates of that factory
118
398173
4158
06:54
with the bucket of petrol in his hands,
119
402355
2517
06:56
but he was arrested
before he could follow through.
120
404896
2611
07:00
He didn't have to spend long in jail,
121
408503
1762
07:02
but he felt completely defeated.
122
410289
2682
07:05
Then, two years later, he met someone.
123
413962
3174
07:09
I'm going to call him Kush.
124
417160
1719
07:10
Kush is part of a team
of community paralegals
125
418903
3400
07:14
that works for environmental justice
on the Gujarat coast.
126
422327
3158
07:18
Kush explained to Ravi
that there was law on his side.
127
426144
3896
07:22
Kush translated into Gujarati
something Ravi had never seen.
128
430762
3687
07:26
It's called the "consent to operate."
129
434473
2011
07:28
It's issued by the state government,
130
436508
1897
07:30
and it allows the factory to run
131
438429
2028
07:32
only if it complies
with specific conditions.
132
440481
3296
07:36
So together, they compared
the legal requirements with reality,
133
444539
4088
07:40
they collected evidence,
134
448651
1627
07:42
and they drafted an application --
135
450302
1881
07:44
not to the courts,
but to two administrative institutions,
136
452207
4686
07:48
the Pollution Control Board
and the district administration.
137
456917
2987
07:52
Those applications started turning
the creaky wheels of enforcement.
138
460945
5032
07:59
A pollution officer
came for a site inspection,
139
467096
3445
08:02
and after that, the company
started running an air filtration system
140
470565
4329
08:06
it was supposed to have
been using all along.
141
474918
2166
08:10
It also started covering the 100 trucks
142
478121
3277
08:13
that come and go
from that plant every day.
143
481422
2642
08:17
Those two measures
reduced the air pollution considerably.
144
485447
3682
08:22
The case is far from over,
145
490144
1978
08:24
but learning and using law gave Ravi hope.
146
492146
4317
08:30
There are people like Kush
walking alongside people like Ravi
147
498318
5892
08:36
in many places.
148
504235
1484
08:37
Today, I work with a group called Namati.
149
505743
2289
08:40
Namati helps convene a global network
150
508056
3032
08:43
dedicated to legal empowerment.
151
511112
1673
08:45
All together, we are over
a thousand organizations
152
513434
2955
08:48
in 120 countries.
153
516413
1364
08:50
Collectively, we deploy
tens of thousands of community paralegals.
154
518224
3873
08:55
Let me give you another example.
155
523280
2103
08:58
This is Khadija Hamsa.
156
526544
1801
09:01
She is one of five million people in Kenya
who faces a discriminatory vetting process
157
529011
6566
09:07
when trying to obtain a national ID card.
158
535601
2792
09:10
It is like the Jim Crow South
in the United States.
159
538965
3859
09:14
If you are from a certain set of tribes,
160
542848
2395
09:17
most of them Muslim,
161
545267
1248
09:18
you get sent to a different line.
162
546539
2412
09:21
Without an ID, you can't apply for a job.
163
549915
2560
09:24
You can't get a bank loan.
164
552826
1630
09:26
You can't enroll in university.
165
554480
1579
09:28
You are excluded from society.
166
556750
2317
09:32
Khadija tried off and on to get an ID
for eight years, without success.
167
560066
4150
09:37
Then she met a paralegal
working in her community
168
565415
3334
09:40
named Hassan Kassim.
169
568773
1427
09:42
Hassan explained to Khadija
how vetting works,
170
570992
3174
09:46
he helped her gather
the documents she needed,
171
574190
2143
09:48
helped prep her to go before
the vetting committee.
172
576357
2691
09:51
Finally, she was able to get an ID
with Hassan's help.
173
579072
3000
09:55
First thing she did with it
174
583405
1809
09:57
was use it to apply
for birth certificates for her children,
175
585238
3492
10:00
which they need in order to go to school.
176
588754
2134
10:05
In the United States,
among many other problems,
177
593593
3701
10:09
we have a housing crisis.
178
597318
3864
10:13
In many cities,
179
601697
1158
10:14
90 percent of the landlords
in housing court have attorneys,
180
602879
4200
10:19
while 90 percent of the tenants do not.
181
607103
2880
10:22
In New York, a new crew of paralegals --
182
610434
2858
10:25
they're called
Access to Justice Navigators --
183
613316
2473
10:27
helps people to understand housing law
and to advocate for themselves.
184
615813
3957
10:32
Normally in New York,
185
620520
1508
10:34
one out of nine tenants
brought to housing court
186
622052
3531
10:37
gets evicted.
187
625607
1270
10:39
Researchers took a look at 150 cases
188
627666
2580
10:42
in which people had help
from these paralegals,
189
630270
2674
10:44
and they found no evictions at all,
190
632968
3120
10:48
not one.
191
636112
1150
10:49
A little bit of legal empowerment
can go a long way.
192
637966
2968
10:53
I see the beginnings of a real movement,
193
641831
4523
10:58
but we're nowhere near what's necessary.
194
646378
2127
11:01
Not yet.
195
649208
1150
11:02
In most countries around the world,
196
650889
1726
11:04
governments do not provide
a single dollar of support
197
652639
3236
11:07
to paralegals like Hassan and Kush.
198
655899
2371
11:11
Most governments don't even recognize
the role paralegals play,
199
659001
3793
11:14
or protect paralegals from harm.
200
662818
1714
11:17
I also don't want
to give you the impression
201
665711
2111
11:19
that paralegals and their clients
win every time.
202
667846
2984
11:23
Not at all.
203
671957
1166
11:25
That cement factory behind Ravi's village,
204
673147
2786
11:27
it's been turning off
the filtration system at night,
205
675957
3374
11:31
when it's least likely
that the company would get caught.
206
679355
3254
11:34
Running that filter costs money.
207
682633
1706
11:36
Ravi WhatsApps photos
of the polluted night sky.
208
684850
3801
11:40
This is one he sent to Kush in May.
209
688976
2127
11:44
Ravi says the air is still unbreathable.
210
692706
2936
11:48
At one point this year,
Ravi went on hunger strike.
211
696465
2661
11:51
Kush was frustrated.
212
699806
1608
11:53
He said, "We can win if we use the law."
213
701438
2035
11:56
Ravi said, "I believe in the law, I do,
214
704310
2713
11:59
but it's not getting us far enough."
215
707047
1929
12:02
Whether it's India, Kenya,
the United States or anywhere else,
216
710778
5224
12:08
trying to squeeze justice
out of broken systems
217
716026
3329
12:11
is like Ravi's case.
218
719379
1691
12:13
Hope and despair are neck and neck.
219
721422
3659
12:18
And so not only do we urgently need
to support and protect
220
726426
3833
12:22
the work of barefoot lawyers
around the world,
221
730283
2897
12:25
we need to change the systems themselves.
222
733204
3055
12:29
Every case a paralegal takes on
223
737680
2794
12:32
is a story about how a system
is working in practice.
224
740498
4382
12:37
When you put those stories together,
225
745793
1739
12:39
it gives you a detailed portrait
of the system as a whole.
226
747556
3627
12:43
People can use that information
227
751207
1800
12:45
to demand improvements
to laws and policies.
228
753031
2834
12:48
In India, paralegals and clients
have drawn on their case experience
229
756867
4366
12:53
to propose smarter regulations
for the handling of minerals.
230
761257
3768
12:57
In Kenya, paralegals and clients
are using data from thousands of cases
231
765836
4746
13:02
to argue that vetting is unconstitutional.
232
770606
3024
13:07
This is a different way
of approaching reform.
233
775852
2493
13:10
This is not a consultant
flying into Myanmar
234
778369
3278
13:13
with a template he's going
to cut and paste from Macedonia,
235
781671
3388
13:17
and this is not an angry tweet.
236
785083
2976
13:21
This is about growing reforms
from the experience of ordinary people
237
789070
3893
13:24
trying to make the rules and systems work.
238
792987
2702
13:29
This transformation in the relationship
between people and law
239
797154
6602
13:35
is the right thing to do.
240
803780
1507
13:38
It's also essential for overcoming
241
806748
3105
13:41
all of the other
great challenges of our times.
242
809877
3482
13:46
We are not going to avert
environmental collapse
243
814995
4615
13:51
if the people most affected by pollution
244
819634
2896
13:54
don't have a say in what happens
to the land and the water,
245
822554
4271
13:58
and we won't succeed in reducing poverty
or expanding opportunity
246
826849
4649
14:03
if poor people can't exercise
their basic rights.
247
831522
3206
14:07
And I believe we won't overcome
248
835879
3486
14:11
the despair that authoritarian
politicians prey upon
249
839389
5096
14:16
if our systems stay rigged.
250
844509
2365
14:20
I called Ravi before coming here
to ask permission to share his story.
251
848900
5451
14:27
I asked if there was any message
he wanted to give people.
252
855370
2794
14:31
He said, "[Gujarati]."
253
859566
2484
14:35
Wake up.
254
863193
1150
14:38
"[Gujarati]."
255
866101
2374
14:40
Don't be afraid.
256
868499
1190
14:42
"[Gujarati]."
257
870699
1326
14:44
Fight with paper.
258
872049
1621
14:45
By that I think he means
fight using law rather than guns.
259
873694
3505
14:49
"[Gujarati]."
260
877752
5453
14:55
Maybe not today, maybe not this year,
maybe not in five years,
261
883229
3663
14:58
but find justice.
262
886916
2285
15:04
If this guy, whose entire community
is being poisoned every single day,
263
892035
6223
15:10
who was ready to take his own life --
264
898282
2588
15:12
if he's not giving up on seeking justice,
265
900894
2960
15:15
then the world can't give up either.
266
903878
1970
15:19
Ultimately, what Ravi calls
"fighting with paper"
267
907159
3470
15:22
is about forging a deeper
version of democracy
268
910653
4490
15:27
in which we the people,
269
915167
1291
15:28
we don't just cast ballots
every few years,
270
916482
2364
15:30
we take part daily in the rules
and institutions that hold us together,
271
918870
6345
15:37
in which everyone,
even the least powerful,
272
925239
3500
15:40
can know law, use law and shape law.
273
928763
3579
15:45
Making that happen, winning that fight,
274
933405
3097
15:48
requires all of us.
275
936526
1309
15:50
Thank you guys. Thank you.
276
938357
1729
15:52
(Applause)
277
940110
6559
16:01
Kelo Kubu: Thanks, Vivek.
278
949166
1913
16:03
So I'm going to make a few assumptions
279
951103
3134
16:06
that people in this room know
what the Sustainable Development Goals are
280
954261
3578
16:09
and how the process works,
281
957863
2728
16:12
but I want us to talk a little bit
282
960615
2842
16:15
about Goal 16: Peace, justice
and strong institutions.
283
963481
4435
16:20
Vivek Maru: Yeah. Anybody remember
the Millennium Development Goals?
284
968512
3692
16:24
They were adopted in 2000 by the UN
and governments around the world,
285
972228
5114
16:29
and they were for essential,
laudable things.
286
977366
2096
16:31
It was reduce child mortality
by two thirds, cut hunger in half,
287
979486
3594
16:35
crucial things.
288
983104
1189
16:36
But there was no mention
of justice or fairness
289
984317
3026
16:39
or accountability or corruption,
290
987367
2322
16:41
and we have made progress
during the 15 years
291
989713
2714
16:44
when those goals were in effect,
292
992451
1896
16:46
but we are way behind
what justice demands,
293
994371
2906
16:49
and we're not going to get there
unless we take justice into account.
294
997301
3468
16:53
And so when the debate started
about the next development framework,
295
1001309
3602
16:56
the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,
296
1004935
2836
16:59
our community came together
around the world
297
1007795
2512
17:02
to argue that access to justice
and legal empowerment
298
1010331
3863
17:06
should be a part of that new framework.
299
1014218
2079
17:08
And there was a lot of resistance.
300
1016321
1992
17:10
Those things are more political,
more contentious than the other ones,
301
1018337
3372
17:13
so we didn't know until the night before
whether it was going to come through.
302
1021733
3673
17:17
We squeaked by.
303
1025430
1164
17:18
The 16th out of 17 goals
commits to access to justice for all,
304
1026618
4196
17:22
which is a big deal.
305
1030838
1150
17:24
It's a big deal, yes.
Let's clap for justice.
306
1032581
3247
17:27
(Applause)
307
1035852
1746
17:29
Here's the scandal, though.
308
1037622
1895
17:31
The day the goals were adopted,
309
1039541
2928
17:34
most of them were accompanied
by big commitments:
310
1042493
3500
17:38
a billion dollars
from the Gates Foundation
311
1046017
2071
17:40
and the British government for nutrition;
312
1048112
1976
17:42
25 billion in public-private financing
for health care for women and children.
313
1050112
4111
17:46
On access to justice,
we had the words on the paper,
314
1054850
2714
17:49
but nobody pledged a penny,
315
1057588
2522
17:52
and so that is the opportunity
and the challenge that we face right now.
316
1060134
3880
17:56
The world recognizes more than ever before
317
1064038
3071
17:59
that you can't have
development without justice,
318
1067133
2864
18:02
that people can't improve their lives
if they can't exercise their rights,
319
1070021
3865
18:05
and what we need to do now
is turn that rhetoric,
320
1073910
3380
18:09
turn that principle, into reality.
321
1077314
2619
18:12
(Applause)
322
1080964
4937
18:17
KK: How can we help?
What can people in this room do?
323
1085925
2607
18:20
VM: Great question. Thank you for asking.
324
1088556
3217
18:23
I would say three things.
325
1091797
1557
18:25
One is invest.
326
1093378
1709
18:27
If you have 10 dollars,
or a hundred dollars, a million dollars,
327
1095111
3206
18:30
consider putting some of it
towards grassroots legal empowerment.
328
1098341
3139
18:33
It's important in its own right
329
1101504
1506
18:35
and it's crucial for just about
everything else we care about.
330
1103034
3375
18:38
Number two,
331
1106433
1237
18:39
push your politicians and your governments
to make this a public priority.
332
1107694
4992
18:45
Just like health or education,
access to justice
333
1113905
2571
18:48
should be one of the things
that a government owes its people,
334
1116500
3366
18:51
and we're nowhere close to that,
335
1119890
1667
18:53
neither in rich countries
or poor countries.
336
1121581
2380
18:55
Number three is:
be a paralegal in your own life.
337
1123985
3746
19:00
Find an injustice
or a problem where you live.
338
1128596
2793
19:03
It's not hard to find, if you look.
339
1131413
1674
19:05
Is the river being contaminated,
340
1133111
1628
19:06
the one that passes through
the city where you live?
341
1134763
2449
19:09
Are there workers getting paid
less than minimum wage
342
1137236
2503
19:11
or who are working without safety gear?
343
1139763
1890
19:13
Get to know the people most affected,
344
1141677
2517
19:16
find out what the rules say,
345
1144218
1620
19:17
see if you can use those rules
to get a solution.
346
1145862
3193
19:21
If it doesn't work, see if you can
come together to improve those rules.
347
1149587
3818
19:25
Because if we all start knowing law,
using law and shaping law,
348
1153429
6063
19:31
then we will be building
that deeper version of democracy
349
1159516
3261
19:34
that I believe our world
desperately needs.
350
1162801
2675
19:39
(Applause)
351
1167029
1001
19:40
KK: Thanks so much, Vivek.
VM: Thank you.
352
1168054
2239

▲Back to top

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Vivek Maru - Legal empowerment advocate
Vivek Maru is the founder of Namati, a movement for legal empowerment around the world powered by cadres of grassroots legal advocates.

Why you should listen

More than four billion people around the world live outside the protection of the law. Vivek Maru founded Namati in 2011 to grow the movement for legal empowerment, building cadres of grassroots legal advocates, also known as "community paralegals," in ten countries so far. The advocates have worked with more than 65,000 people to protect community lands, enforce environmental law and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship. Namati convenes the Global Legal Empowerment Network, more than 1,000 groups from 150 countries who are learning from one another and collaborating on common challenges. Thanks to their work, access to justice is part of the UN's new global development framework, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

From 2003 to 2007, Maru co-founded and co-directed the Sierra Leonean organization Timap for Justice, a pioneering model for delivering justice services in the context of a weak state and a plural legal system. From 2008 to 2011, he served as senior counsel in the Justice Reform Group of the World Bank. His work focused on rule of law reform and governance, primarily in West Africa and South Asia. In 1997–1998 he lived in a hut of dung and sticks in a village in Kutch, his native place, in western India, working on watershed management and girls' education with two grassroots development organizations, Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghathan and Sahjeevan.

More profile about the speaker
Vivek Maru | Speaker | TED.com