who we are
Talem is a legal empowerment initiative based in Australia that helps put the law into the hands of those who need it most. We aim to inform Australian women working in the legal sector about global legal empowerment, and connect them with grassroots organisations that are providing important legal training and education to women overseas. We connect a need with ability.
Join our innovative volunteer portal and start making an impact today. Discover the profiles of these incredible community-based organisations, and submit your details to be connected with programs that need your help. The Talem network assists community organisations administering paralegal training programs in Nepal, Sierra Leone, India, Malaysia and the Philippines – all of which will significantly benefit from your skills.
Don’t have the time for volunteering, and just want to donate? Your money could help fund paralegal training kits, the development of legal resources and paralegal certifications! Follow the links to get started, and do your bit to help put the law into the hands of those who need it most.
what is global legal empowerment?
It is estimated by the UN that over 4 billion people are currently living outside the protection of the law. For those individuals, the law is a threat and is not something to use in exercising basic rights. In low-income countries, laws and institutions governing economic and social interactions do not afford equal opportunity and protection to a large segment of the population, who are mostly, poor, minorities, and women. In many places, customary laws and practices also discriminate against women, who face multiple and intersecting grounds of exclusion.
'Legal empowerment' is about reversing the trend: it is about giving people - especially women - the power to understand and use the law as a tool to exercise their own rights. It is a point of consensus that legal empowerment programs enhance the livelihoods of participants; increase legal knowledge; and have also brought about change within governments and other institutions. Legal empowerment fosters development through empowering and strengthening the voices of individuals and communities. It also recognises that individuals must have access to justice, including due process, and that action must be taken to eliminate discrimination.
The United Nations has noted that there is substantial evidence on the impact of legal empowerment interventions in low-income countries. Legal empowerment initiatives are wide ranging: whether it be empowering female textile workers to advocate for better labour conditions in Honduras; paralegals improving access to justice in Liberia; and citizens using scorecards to improve local health services in India. In Mozambique, it was found that in any village with a paralegal, almost every dispossessed woman asserted her land rights claim. Women are more likely to pursue a legal claim if they had learned about formal legal provisions that could protect their land rights.
Community based organisations have therefore established education programs aimed at training disadvantaged individuals to become paralegals. Paralegals receive basic training on dispute resolution and community mobilization strategies. Program participants then proceed to work within their own communities to identify and address areas of concern including access to basic services, land dispossession and inheritance issues. Paralegals are able to empower members of their communities through greater access to the justice system, while also transforming their own lives.