Innovations in Legal Empowerment

Washington, DC   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 45-2796201


Law is supposed to be a sacred thread that ties us together, and protects each one of us. But 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 legal advocates who give people the power to understand, use, and shape the law. These advocates form a dynamic, creative frontline that can squeeze justice out of even broken systems. Legal empowerment advocates treat their clients as empowered citizens rather than victims requiring an expert service. Instead of “I will solve this problem for you,” our message is: “We will solve this together, and you will grow stronger in the process.”

Ruling year info


Chief Executive Officer

Vivek Maru

Main address

1616 P St. NW Suite 101

Washington, DC 20036 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Public interest law

Human rights

Public safety

Population served info


Ethnic and racial groups

Low-income people

NTEE code info

Crime, Legal Related N.E.C. (I99)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms




See related organizations info

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Law has the power to advance equality: by protecting against abuse, and giving people a chance to shape their own lives. And yet the World Justice Project estimates that five billion people live outside the protection of the law. For these people, law is an abstraction, or worse, or a threat, but not something they can use to exercise their basic rights. They are unfairly driven from their land, denied essential services, extorted by officials, excluded from society, and intimidated by violence. At the root of each of these problems there are profound imbalances of power—between farmers and a mining company, say, or between members of a historically stateless community and the government where they live. Moreover, there are also massive gaps between stated legal protections and lived experience. People’s lives cannot improve if they do not have the power to exercise their rights. Development cannot succeed without justice.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Land Justice and Environmental Justice

Through a legal empowerment approach, land and environmental justice aims to increase land tenure security, gain recognition for community land rights and
significantly reduce environmental and social harm in mining, agricultural, or development projects.

Population(s) Served

Namati’s Right to Citizenship work is based on the belief that equal, full citizenship rights should be realized by all Kenyans. Yet, 5 million+ Kenyans are citizens in law, but are discriminated against when trying to acquire basic citizenship documents. These Muslim-majority ethnic and tribal groups in Kenya are subjected to an arbitrary vetting process when applying for ID cards, birth certificates, and passports. As a result, many remain without documentation and are unable to access basic rights and public services such as education, healthcare, financial services, voting, and other entitlements due to them as citizens. Namati supports discriminated communities to access key citizenship documents through legal empowerment

Population(s) Served

Namati Mozambique deploys a network of health advocates, or defensores de saúde, to empower communities to know their rights to health services under law and to seek accountability – and where applicable, redress – from the system.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


The Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship 2016

Skoll Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of remedies achieved

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Health, Social and economic status

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

A remedy is a meaningful change that improves the lives of clients and communities at large.

Number of people positively affected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Ethnic and racial groups, Health, Social and economic status

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

The people who directly benefit from legal remedies achieved through Namati’s cases.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We advance social and environmental justice by building a movement of people who know, use, and shape the law.

Namati and our partners train and deploy community paralegals—also known as barefoot lawyers—to support communities in taking on some of the greatest injustices of our times: protecting community lands, enforcing environmental law, and securing basic rights to healthcare and citizenship. Together with the communities we serve, we strive to translate the lessons from our grassroots experience into positive, large-scale changes to laws and systems.

Namati also convenes the Legal Empowerment Network, over 2,700 organizations and 10,360 individuals from every part of the world. We are learning from one another, advocating together, and joining forces to bring justice everywhere.

1. Paralegals work with communities to solve justice problems at the grassroots. Together, they protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship. These remedies improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year.

2. The individuals who work closely with the paralegals learn about their rights and how to realize them using the law. They often go on to support others in their communities, creating ripples of empowerment.

3. We draw on grassroots experience to advocate for changes that make the system better for everyone. Paralegals rigorously collect data on every case they handle. We assess that information to identify where systems are failing and how they can improve. Together with the communities with which we work, we use that information to advocate for reforms to laws and policies. These changes can positively affect entire nations.

Namati is the first and only global organization dedicated to legal empowerment. Since our founding in 2011 we have demonstrated how paralegals can advance justice in four areas – citizenship, health, land, and environment – and we have convened a 7500+ member global network dedicated to legal empowerment.

We operate in Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Kenya, India, Myanmar and the United States, where we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We undergird a mission-driven culture with integrated systems – finance, human resources, communications, and others – that support our functioning as an integrated whole, while respecting the context and independence of our offices. We currently administer nearly 40+ awards from a broad range of funders, and have received clean financial audits every year since inception.

We employ nearly 160 staff across our offices, including over 50 paralegals directly employed by Namati. We often jointly implement with partner organizations –such as the Nubian Rights Forum in Kenya or Than Lwin Thisar in Myanmar – who bring local knowledge and legitimacy. Our joint implementing partners employ another nearly 150 paralegals.

We are a learning organization. We study all our efforts rigorously. We collect data on every case and have developed common indicators that allow us to learn comparatively across issues and countries. We seek to continuously improve our work and to grow the evidence base for our field.

Namati’s work has been featured in/on Democracy Journal, Amanpour & Co. New York Times, the Guardian, WIRED, the Washington Post, among others, and has been documented by the Sundance Institute. Vivek Maru, Namati’s CEO, gave a TED Talk in 2017 which has been viewed over a million times. In 2016, Namati was honored with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and in 2017, the Schwab Foundation named Vivek Maru and colleague Sonkita Conteh two of its Social Entrepreneurs of the Year. Namati has a perfect score, 100/100, on Charity Navigator and has earned Guidestar’s Gold Seal of Transparency. Since Namati’s inception they have received clean audits without qualification.

Please download our annual reports. The most recent one is here:

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Financial documents
2021 Namati 2021 Audit FS 2020 Namati 990 2019 990 2018 990 2017 990
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 10.72 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 8.1 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 18% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of NAMATI’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$156,347 -$136,470 $1,520,601 $3,554,231 $1,756,121
As % of expenses -3.1% -2.5% 24.4% 55.8% 17.4%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$188,212 -$149,550 $1,507,520 $3,541,150 $1,746,954
As % of expenses -3.7% -2.7% 24.1% 55.5% 17.3%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $4,247,100 $4,979,964 $8,344,206 $10,192,230 $14,709,516
Total revenue, % change over prior year -31.8% 17.3% 67.6% 22.1% 0.0%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.5% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.8%
Government grants 15.0% 12.0% 12.6% 19.3% 23.1%
All other grants and contributions 84.5% 87.7% 87.4% 80.7% 76.1%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $5,110,976 $5,426,705 $6,239,505 $6,367,289 $10,082,813
Total expenses, % change over prior year 25.2% 6.2% 15.0% 2.0% 0.0%
Personnel 46.8% 49.5% 48.2% 59.2% 51.3%
Professional fees 11.4% 12.5% 13.0% 7.7% 9.3%
Occupancy 3.0% 2.7% 2.5% 2.2% 1.4%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 26.9% 24.1% 25.2% 26.1% 28.2%
All other expenses 11.9% 11.3% 11.1% 4.8% 9.9%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $5,142,841 $5,439,785 $6,252,586 $6,380,370 $10,091,980
One month of savings $425,915 $452,225 $519,959 $530,607 $840,234
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $39,242 $0 $0 $27,500
Total full costs (estimated) $5,568,756 $5,931,252 $6,772,545 $6,910,977 $10,959,714

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2022
Months of cash 1.9 2.6 7.2 14.8 42.3
Months of cash and investments 3.2 2.6 7.2 14.8 48.9
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 3.5 2.9 5.5 12.0 41.9
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2022
Cash $813,005 $1,185,359 $3,765,730 $7,840,776 $35,543,403
Investments $563,020 $0 $0 $0 $5,532,286
Receivables $1,097,118 $817,102 $379,581 $225,047 $832,332
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $166,140 $205,382 $205,382 $205,382 $232,881
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 100.0% 87.3% 93.6% 100.0% 92.1%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 7.7% 12.6% 6.2% 4.4% 2.5%
Unrestricted net assets $1,489,338 $1,339,788 $2,847,305 $6,388,455 $35,244,058
Temporarily restricted net assets $886,707 $570,606 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $886,707 $570,606 $1,154,707 $1,425,417 $6,206,229
Total net assets $2,376,045 $1,910,394 $4,002,012 $7,813,872 $41,450,287

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Chief Executive Officer

Vivek Maru

Vivek founded Namati in 2011 to grow the movement for legal empowerment around the world. Namati and its partners have built cadres of community legal workers – sometimes known as “barefoot lawyers”– in ten countries. The advocates have worked with over 65,000 people to protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship. Vivek received the Pioneer Award from the North American South Asian Bar Association in 2008. He was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2014 and a “legal rebel” by the American Bar Association in 2015. He, Namati, and the Global Legal Empowerment Network received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2016. In 2017, the Schwab Foundation named Vivek and Sonkita Conteh, director of Namati – Sierra Leone, two of its Social Entrepreneurs of the Year.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization


Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization


Board of directors
as of 07/12/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ruth Levine


Matt Brown

Global Zero

Chetan Gulati

Perry Capital

Chi Mgbako

Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Centre for Policy Research

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/12/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

There are no contractors recorded for this organization.

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser