Giving the Poor Their Rights

How legal empowerment can help break the cycle of despair

Don Emmert / AFP / Getty

In slums like Kibera, people often lack birth certificates and titles to their land.

Margaret Atieno Okoth, 49, sells cabbage six days a week from a cramped stall in the teeming Toi market of Nairobi, alongside vendors hawking everything from secondhand shoes to bicycle parts. The $2 a day she takes home allows her to send three of her 12 children to school, while her husband John seeks out odd domestic jobs in the middle-class estates within walking distance of their home. Thanks to her enterprising spirit and a community-savings scheme, she can obtain small loans to keep her business going or cover the costs of a family emergency. But Margaret knows no matter how...

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