the rule of lawIn many countries around the world, the judicial process comes with a hefty price tag. As a result, impoverished communities often lack access to the legal services and assistance necessary to achieve justice. To ensure these communities can access the judicial process, legal organizations are expanding their manpower internationally to provide legal tools and programs to people in need. Below are five legal organizations addressing global poverty by promoting the rule of law.

  1. Lawyers without Borders (LWOB) – This organization offers pro bono legal services to communities in need around the world. These services often include legal advice and assistance to promote the rule of law. Additionally, the organization helps train future members of the trial system through its “Support Through Trial Advocacy Training” (STTAT). This includes judges, prosecutors, magistrates and more. LWOB takes participants step-by-step through the trial process to better understand legal proceedings. To ensure as many communities benefit from STTAT training as possible, LWOB has translated course materials into a plethora of languages including “Swahili, Amharic, Creole, Nepali, French and Spanish.”
  2. Lawyers Against Poverty – This organization works to promote social justice in different countries. Composed of volunteer lawyers from around the world, Lawyers Against Poverty provides legal assistance and donations to communities in need. For example, in 2020 the organization donated 30,000 pounds to help women living in Jordan file legal proceedings for domestic violence during the pandemic. Additionally, the organization has donated 10,000 pounds to provide refugees in Greece with legal assistance filing asylum cases. To date, the organization has donated time and money to Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya and Greece to broaden important access to judicial systems.
  3. TrustLaw (The Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Created in 2011, this program came into being as part of the Thomson Reuter Foundation’s aim to provide pro bono legal services to worldwide communities. By connecting non-governmental organizations with law firms, TrustLaw provides a plethora of communities with legal assistance and training courses. In fact, TrustLaw has supplied legal assistance worth about $172 million since its creation. Additionally, the program works on three “areas of impact” to promote the rule of law. First, TrustLaw encourages members to devise solutions to climate change. Next, TrustLaw works to end modern slavery by conducting legal research on the issue. Finally, TrustLaw works to ensure women’s rights are upheld and respected on the international stage.
  4. International Development Law Organization (IDLO)In 1988, the International Development Law Organization was uniquely formed to serve as a global intergovernmental organization that promoted the rule of law. It has impacted more than 90 different countries worldwide. Additionally, IDLO works in regions like Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. In addition to promoting the rule of law, the organization also focuses on women’s rights, economic sustainability, peace and democracy, public health, climate change and access to justice. The organization focuses on U.N. goals as well in its efforts toward sustainability.
  5. Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) – A nonprofit, the Global Legal Action Network dedicates itself to injustice and holding countries that violate human rights accountable. To gain international influence, the nonprofit partners with local grassroots organizations and civil society leaders in countries around the world. In addition to addressing human rights violators, the organization also deals with legal issues. These include issues tied to war, immigration and economic justice. More recently, GLAN has partnered with the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) to expose how the Chinese government mistreats Uyghurs in concentration camps.

The five legal organizations mentioned above address global poverty by offering donations, legal services and assistance to communities in need. This way, poor communities are not disadvantaged in terms of accessing different judicial systems around the world. Overall, these legal organizations ensure justice is available to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status, sex, ethnicity or nationality.

Chloe Young
Photo: Unsplash

Why I Chose the Gun, Peter van Uhm

“When I look around, I see people who want to make a contribution, I see people who want to make a better world, by doing ground-breaking scientific work, by creating impressive works of art, by writing critical articles or inspiring books, by starting up sustainable businesses. All of you have chosen your own instruments to fulfil this mission of creating a better world….I chose this instrument. I chose the gun.” – Peter van Uhm

The idea of guns being used as a tool for peace is counter-intuitive. In his talk, Uhm explains how weapons can be used not as a source of violence, but as a protective measure against injustice. It is a talk that is full of controversial ideas, and worth listening to and thinking about. In a world where it is overly idealistic to imagine that it is possible to develop a blanket ability to avoid all conflict, Uhm’s outlook is one that does not immediately sit well with our gut, but it all the more important to listen to because of it.


Fighting with Non-Violence, Scilla Elworthy

“The training of troops has to change. And I think there are signs that it is beginning to change. The British military have always been much better at this. But there is one magnificent example for them to take their cue from, and that’s a brilliant U.S. lieutenant colonel called Chris Hughes. And he was leading his men down the streets of Najaf — in Iraq actually — and suddenly people were pouring out of the houses on either side of the road,screaming, yelling, furiously angry, and surrounded these very young troops who were completely terrified, didn’t know what was going on, couldn’t speak Arabic. And Chris Hughes strode into the middle of the throng with his weapon above his head, pointing at the ground, and he said, “Kneel.” And these huge soldiers with their backpacks and their body armor, wobbled to the ground. And complete silence fell. And after about two minutes,everybody moved aside and went home.” – Scilla Elworthy

Elworthy’s talk stands in stark contrast to Uhm’s. Speaking through her personal experience, and the histories of famous non-violent leaders like Mandela and Suu Kyi, Elworthy explores the alternative to military power. Elworthy has no illusions about the difficulty of non-violent reactions; it goes against our instincts and she speaks about the necessity of developing our ability to understand before we react. A relatively short but powerful talk, Elworthy manages to show us how hard and how important it is to rethink how we fight our battles.


Ending Hunger Now, Josette Sheeran

“I believe we’re living at a time in human historywhere it’s just simply unacceptable that children wake up and don’t know where to find a cup of food. Not only that, transforming hunger is an opportunity, but I think we have to change our mindsets. I am so honored to be here with some of the world’s top innovators and thinkers. And I would like you to join with all of humanity to draw a line in the sand and say, “No more. No more are we going to accept this.” And we want to tell our grandchildrenthat there was a terrible time in history where up to a third of the children had brains and bodies that were stunted, but that exists no more.” – Josette Sheeran

Often, people think of the world’s greatest crises as enormous, separate challenges. World peace as separate from world hunger, poverty and women’s rights and education all distinct entities with unique challenges. The truth is they are all connected, feeding into each other. The presence of one almost inevitably creates breeding grounds for the others. Sheeran, head of the UN World Food Programme, walks us through the practicalities of ending hunger, and the potential ramifications of doing so. Though it sounds like a huge project, Sheeran uses real-life examples to show how innovative thinking and concerted effort can lead to real, large-scale change. Sheeran’s passion and pragmatism make ending hunger seem infinitely achievable.


Why To Believe in Others, Viktor Frankl

“If you don’t recognise a young man’s will to meaning, man’s search for meaning you make him worse. You make him dull, you make him frustrated, you still add and contribute to his frustration. While, if you presuppose in this man, in this so called criminal or juvenile delinquent or drug abuser, or so forth, there must be a – what do you call it – a spark, a spark of search for meaning. Let’s recognize this…let’s presuppose it and then you will elicit it from him and you will make him become what he in principle is capable of becoming.” – Viktor Frankl

Better spoken than summarized, holocaust survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl explains, in four humorous and poignant minutes, why to believe in others.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

6 Reasons Why Humanosphere Rocks!
The independent, nonprofit news organization Humanoshpere has been devoted to covering and analyzing the most important issues in global health, development, and aid since its founding in 2010. The organization aims to expand the relatively meager and overly broad media coverage of humanitarian issues while better outlining the role that aid and development efforts play in their alleviation. If this isn’t a sufficient reason to believe that Humanosphere rocks, here are 6 more.

1.   Tom Paulson is one funny man: In addition to being terrifically intelligent and an incredible journalist, the founder and editor of Humanosphere have a wit that is unheard of in the somewhat stiff world of humanitarian journalism He deems his news coverage as “often irreverent” in its coverage of humanitarian issues and admits that global poverty just really “ticks him off.” He also claims that he and a childhood friend invented Earth Day. So there’s that.

2.   In with the warm, out with the fuzzy:  The language surrounding humanitarianism is tinged with a sort of hopefulness that is often overly ambiguous. Humanosphere attempts to maintain the warm characteristics while refraining from the fuzziness. They aim to clearly define the issues while promoting dialogue rather than simply declaring simplistic solutions.

3.    3. They’re based in Seattle: Often called the humanitarian center of the United States, there is no better place for the headquarters of an independent news organization trying to make the world a better place. Bolstered by the National Public Radio and other local affiliates, their “moss-backed bias” that poverty is a negative thing in need of alleviation is well supported in a city that is the nation’s leader in global health, aid, and development.

4.   They’re deadly serious, but not deadly boring: Poverty, injustice and suffering are by no means light-hearted matters, and Humanosphere does not approach them as such.  However, while Humanosphere is devoted to raising awareness about these international issues, they do not wish to do so in a hum-drum manner. Instead, they post articles with engaging titles such as “Feed the World: Bugs” and “On the West’s awkward relationship with Kenya,” and keep their rhetoric understandable and approachable.

5.   They don’t beat around the bush: In the words of Tom Paulson, “We’re journalists. We like the difficult, politically charged and awkward.” The writers at Humanosphere delve directly into the issues that matter most at any given moment. They aren’t afraid to call out any news or governmental organization that fails to do the same. They simply don’t shy away from the discomfort that inevitably arises from shedding light on the issues of poverty and injustice.

6.  They are a refreshing step in the right direction: Perhaps most importantly, Humanosphere is representative of the positive direction that the humanitarian journalism field is working toward. Aside from having the entirely admirable mission of making the world a better place, their coverage tactics are better aimed at reaching their modern readership base than most existing news organizations.

Does anyone need any more convincing? Ok, here’s a video of Tom Paulson himself performing Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” (He uploaded this himself. Like I said, he’s one funny man.)

– Kathryn Cassibry

Source: Humanosphere
Photo: Humanosphere Facebook