Full-Time Environmental Justice Program Lead – United States
About the position
In the United States and elsewhere, the environmental movement has often focused on top-down regulation and litigation. Namati is developing a “legal empowerment” approach to environmental justice in the United States: one that equips communities affected by environmental harm to advocate for themselves.
Namati focuses on ‘community paralegals’, sometimes called barefoot lawyers, who demystify law and help people exercise their rights. Namati works with community paralegals in 6 countries and hosts the Global Legal Empowerment Network, made up of over 1800 organizations from 168 countries. In India and Sierra Leone, Namati focuses on environmental justice in particular. Paralegals in those countries support communities to pursue practical remedies when, say, an oil palm plantation grabs land without consent, or an iron mine poisons the water.
We are searching for a dynamic leader to support a new crew of legal empowerment advocates in Maryland and Washington DC. This is an opportunity to build an approach to environmental justice that could hold promise for the whole country. We have identified extraordinary advocates in the DC – Maryland region to form our first U.S. legal empowerment team– people like Fred Tutman, the only black River Keeper in the country, and Rhonda Hamilton, who has led her neighborhood in Buzzards Point to take on pollution and gentrification at the same time.
The EJ Program Lead will work with this group to build a long-term foundation for this pilot program, moving it from experimental and agile to robust and developed, while pursuing concrete remedies to environmental injustices happening today and tomorrow. Collectively, we will search for levers and opportunities across the institutional landscape, even as federal regulation is weakening.
We will track data on every case we take on. That information will help us to learn from our work and get better. The case data will also create a map of how the regulatory system is working in practice, and how it’s failing short. In partnership with the communities we’re serving, we’ll use that information to advocate for improvements to policies and systems- something we’ve done successfully in every other country where we work.
We’ll ask this person to-
- Learn all about our environmental justice work in India, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere — our methods, what we’ve accomplished, and what we’ve learned
- Work closely with our CEO, as well as our Global Programs Team, to shape the future of our US program
- Get into the weeds of the program work itself, ensuring progress toward our goals and excellence in implementation
- Develop and manage partnerships with legal service providers and scientists who can provide ongoing support to our advocates
- Build our legal empowerment advocates’ capacity in key areas within law, environmental science, and organizing
- Regularly review case data to identify opportunities to learn, strengthen the program, and build a case for evidence-based policy reform
- Partner with our Development team to craft strong funding proposals, manage awarded grants, and draft reports to funders
Here are examples of the kinds of things you’ll do-
- Spend the day with a legal empowerment advocate, attending a community meeting with her and talking through strategy for the case she’s working on
- Plan the next monthly convening for the legal empowerment advocates, drawing on feedback from previous events to build the most impactful session possible
- Meet with the CEO, COO, and Director of Global Learning and Practice to review progress on annual goals
- Write a policy brief using trends from case data to identify evidence-based recommendations for strengthening environmental regulation both in the US and in other contexts
- Facilitate a meeting with local partner organizations to develop a joint strategy for advocating for greater public participation in regulatory decisions
About you/must-haves for the position
Strong program management. You can run a program from design to evaluation; everything from training our advocates to building a long-term strategic plan to managing partnerships and other stakeholder relationships. Not only can you take an existing plan and map out its tactical execution, you’re also able to identify what’s missing and iterate on details big and small.
Experience in community-based environmental justice work in the United States: You are a seasoned environmental justice advocate who has spent time working at the intersections of community organizing, law, and policy. You have relevant credentials and strong connections and networks in the field, and are an outstanding communicator with experience engaging with diverse communities.
Track record of getting results: You bring significant experience (likely 5-7 years, and possibly much more) that demonstrates you are a strategic, dynamic leader who makes things happen. You have experience in the trenches of creating a new program, or of leading a program for some time. You’re great with logistics, work quickly and efficiently, and manage collaborative processes on deadline and with confidence.
Collaborative and service-oriented: You greet everyone you encounter with a collaborative spirit, kindness, and empathy. You are known as a team-player who brings an “all hands on deck” mindset to all projects, you’re adaptable, and you’re happy to contribute however you can to advance Namati’s mission.
Growth-oriented: You’re always seeking to better yourself and your work, and you will push yourself to the peak of performance to help fulfill our mission. In service of that growth, you welcome and delight in feedback from supervisors, peers, and anyone else.
In-depth knowledge of environmental law: You have a deep understanding of law and regulation on environment, land, and industry. You are familiar with the institutions that regulate these areas, and you can provide strong analysis of possible routes for administrative and other remedies to environmental harms. We’re interested in lawyers, practicing or otherwise, but legal training is not a requirement for the position.
Namati is dedicated to placing the power of law in the hands of people.
For billions of people around the world, the law is broken. It’s an abstraction — or worse, a threat — but not something we can use to exercise our basic rights.
Namati is building a global movement of grassroots advocates who empower people to understand, use, and shape the law. These “barefoot lawyers” form a dynamic, creative frontline that can squeeze justice out of even broken systems.
In the past four years, Namati and our partners have worked with over 65,000 clients to take on some of the greatest challenges of our times: protecting community lands, enforcing environmental law, and securing basic rights to healthcare and citizenship.
We track data on every case and use that information to advocate for systemic changes, like better policies for land governance in Liberia, environmental regulation in India, and healthcare delivery in Mozambique.
And we’re joining forces for change. Namati convenes the Global Legal Empowerment Network — over 1,800 groups and 6,500 individuals from 168 countries learning from one another and bringing justice to communities in every part of the world.
For more about what it’s like to work at Namati, please see our Cultural Principles.
Washington, D.C., though we are open to remote working arrangements depending on the circumstances. We’re also open to Baltimore-based candidates who are willing to commute to DC heavily during their first several months here.
Structure & compensation
This is a mid to senior level position with the organization (contingent on experience). We will finalize compensation and responsibilities based on the background and profile of the person joining.
Namati offers an excellent benefits package, including health insurance, generous paid time off, retirement or old-age plan contributions, and access to professional development opportunities.