This section introduces Community Legal Empowerment (CLE) concepts and programming. CLE approaches provide guidance and space for individuals and their communities to identify, understand and use legal tools to increase their opportunities and advance and protect their rights. Organizations and advocates can integrate CLE programming into new or already existing work as a way to uniquely shape the impact of the work with the community they aim to benefit.
CLE concepts and programming explored in these sections reach beyond traditional community paralegal models and dives into other forms of community-based legal empowerment work, including non-legal programming that supports the legal empowerment of refugees. Legal empowerment can be approached in a holistic way of building and facilitating true growth of power within communities, including areas such as economic independence, leadership development, gender sensitivity and trauma relief.
The section first dives into why CLE programming is an important and effective approach in refugee services starting with a discussion on the conceptual strategies ideas of empowerment, legal information, and community. It provides background to the development of CLE programming and how it complements its Legal Services, Policy Advocacy and other refugee programming.
The section also provides guidance on how to build or improve upon refugee services that intrinsically lead to refugee empowerment and leadership. Integrating programming that builds close relationships with refugee community members, develops leadership capacity, builds external allies and resources, and closely understands and responds to refugees’ needs are all part of developing a successful CLE program.
Last, the section introduces examples of strategies and programs employed by Asylum Access, including Know Your Rights workshops, social inclusion activities, capacity building, and community interpreters.