Vivek Maru, founder and CEO of Namati, created the organization in 2011 to support the movement for legal empowerment around the world. Namati and its partners have built cadres of grassroots legal advocates — also known as “community paralegals” — in ten countries. These advocates have worked with more than 40,000 people to protect community lands, enforce environmental law and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship.
Namati convenes the global legal empowerment network, a community of more than 800 legal empowerment organizations from 150 countries that are collaborating on common challenges and learning from one another. This community successfully advocated for inclusion of access to justice in the new global development framework, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
From 2003 to 2007, Maru co-founded and co-directed the Sierra Leonean organization Timap for Justice, which has been recognized as a pioneering model for delivering justice services in the context of a weak state and a plural legal system. From 2007 to 2011, he served as senior counsel in the Justice Reform Group of the World Bank.
Maru was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2014 and a “legal rebel” by the American Bar Association in 2015. In 2016, Maru, Namati, and the Global Legal Empowerment Network received the Skoll Award for social entrepreneurship.
Maru graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, and Yale Law School. He writes regularly in academic journals and in the press. He also directs the Legal Empowerment Leadership Course at Central European University.