Integrating CLE Programming into your Organization

The previous sections have highlighted how community legal empowerment (CLE) is a powerful tool to advance refugee rights by promoting refugees’ direct involvement to steps to actualize their rights. However, integrating CLE approaches into refugee work may require additional costs, time, and efforts. This section discusses some of the ways your organization can benefit from CLE programming.

Building capacity
The toolkit discusses other strategies for achieving refugee rights including Policy Advocacy, Strategic Litigation and Legal Services. Different from these strategies, CLE allows direct involvement by the refugee to shape and implement programming that directly benefits their well-being. CLE trains and builds refugees’ capacity to become their own advocates.

By introducing CLE programming, organizations and advocates promote accountability to the individuals they serve by putting refugees in the drivers’ seat. Through workshops and one-on-one relationships built, advocates can learn about the issues most important to refugees and what and how they hope to find resolutions. CLE programming opens the possibility for two-way conversations between refugee-serving organizations and other stakeholders and refugees to ensure that their work is in fact in line with advancing and protecting their needs and rights.

Data and information
Additionally, CLE programming produces data and information valuable for advocacy and litigation. For example, close partnerships with refugee leaders can help litigators find strong plaintiffs for refugee rights promoting cases and policy advocates can point to positive examples of prosperous refugee led-initiatives.

How does CLE fit into the broader vision of the refugee rights movement?

With limited capacity to serve all refugees, legal education allows organizations to focus not only on refugees but to raise awareness of the refugee situation to the general population. Relationships built and information gathered with CLE programming can be used alter public opinion and foster deeper understanding of refugee issues among the local population.