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Communities and ecosystems in Africa are under siege. Kenyans face eviction to make way for coal and hydropower projects, Lake Victoria is polluted, oil prospectors are invading Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park, and the government of Tanzania is weighing opening traditional Maasai lands to foreign big game hunting operations.

The good news is that a strong, growing corps of grassroots advocates is meeting these challenges. In June, nearly 50 public interest attorneys gathered at the East African Public Interest Environmental Law and Litigation Workshop. The workshop was co-hosted by ELAW, the Institute for Law and Environmental Governance (Kenya), Greenwatch (Uganda), and the Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team (Tanzania), with the help of the Public Interest Litigation Committee of the Law Society of Kenya.

“The turnout was tremendous,” says Jen Gleason, ELAW Staff Attorney. “There was a good mix of new lawyers, more experienced mentors, and many women.”

Jen has coordinated ELAW’s work in Africa for 20 years. “Foreign investors are eager to exploit Africa’s natural resources. It is critical to connect the pioneering lawyers we have worked with for many years to a new generation of community defenders, to level the playing field.”

ELAW partners know best how to protect local communities and the environment through law. The key to our work is identifying strong partners and building lasting, local capacity. The following are profiles of some ELAW partner organizations in East Africa and snapshots of their current work. Read more.

Maggie Keenan
Communications Director