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The Making Rights Real Clinic will build on a partnership between Professor White, Harvard Law School students, University of Ghana Law School faculty and students, and a Ghanaian civil society organization (CSO) engaged in leading-edge human rights work on educational equity in Ghana’s underserved rural North.

Though there may be an opportunity for selected students to travel to Ghana over spring break, this January’s activities will take place through intensive online lawyering activities, including virtual stakeholder meetings and community workshops, interviews with government officials, Ghana School of Law/HLS collaboration. The goal of this year’s clinic will be to assist community members to document and critique experiences of educational inequity and take part in an on-going process legislative and policy reform.

Our CSO partner uses multi-layered lawyering strategies, such as:

  • Legal research and analysis;
  • Reviewing and drafting legislation and regulations;
  • Strategy mapping;
  • Human rights documentation;
  • Participatory action research;
  • Partner briefings;
  • Designing and facilitating grassroots education and empowerment workshops;
  • Conducting community meetings;
  • and working with media.

Thus, in addition to our specific assignments, the clinic provides students engagement with an organization widely recognized for its creative work.

How to Register

Making Rights Real: The Ghana Project Clinic is offered in the Spring semester. In addition, students may enroll a 2 credit Winter term 2024 clinical in which they will do on-site work in Ghana. You can learn about clinical credits, pre-requisite requirements, and the clinical application process by reading the course catalog description and exploring the links in this section.

Application Deadline: Rolling until October 15, 2024. Students who are interested in winter term 2025 must be in contact with Prof. White before October 1, 2024.

Meet the Instructor

headshot of Lucie White

Lucie White

Director; Professor of Law

Lucie White is the Louis A. Horvitz Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. After working for two decades on US social welfare law, she turned to the issue of extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, in 1999 she launched the Harvard Law School’s Ghana project, which is on-going. The project brings together Ghanaian partners and student teams to work on the realization of economic and social rights for Ghana’s least advantaged groups. After working on health finance and mental health, the group turned to the oil industry’s economic and human impacts and geographical inequities in primary education grounded in histories of northern Ghanians’ enslavement and colonial exploitation. In 2010 she built on this work to found the “Stones of Hope” project. This is a collaboration among African human rights activists and global rights scholars to examine African innovations in Economic and Social Rights advocacy. The project culminated in L. White and J. Perelman eds., Stones of Hope: African Lawyers Use Human Rights to Challenge Global Poverty (Stanford University Press, 2010). Subsequently she worked extensively with HLS and Ghanaian students on the human rights dimensions of West Africa’s petroleum policies as. With an Open Society grant she worked with South African activists to envision a “new South African constitutionalism” and has participated in a number of Harvard Institute of Global Law and Policy initiatives, including a long term research project on human rights and heterodox development. She is currently working on a series of personal essays about growing up as a white girl in the Jim Crow South, as well as a collaborative initiative which, in the face of the current global climate crisis, considers “sustainable regions” as pathways toward post-developmentalist futures. She teaches in the areas of Global Poverty; Social Welfare/Economic and Social Rights with a focus on sub-Saharan Arfrica; Law and Inequality; Economic Development and its Alternatives, Reparation for Africans’ Enslavement.  She has been admitted to the Bar in DC, North Carolina, and California, and has worked as a Legal Aid lawyer in North Carolina andd an advocate for unhoused persons in Los Angeles.  She clerked for District Judge James McMillan of the Western District of North Carolina, who presided over several significant race discrimination, welfare justice, and prison reform cases before and during her clerkship.  She has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards and written widely about everyday life, law, and social movement among marginalized groups, particularly those with histories of race subordination, enslavement, and colonization.

In the News

  • The Ghana Project

    Via Harvard Law Today A clinical class supports local organizations’ efforts to improve social welfare In Nima, a large community in the center of Accra, Ghana, water flows through the plumbing system of a small human rights advocacy office for only a few hours each day. Professor Lucie White and some of the first students in

    November 2, 2016

  • Making rights real: my time in Ghana

    By Rachel Jones, LL.M. ’16 Professor Lucie White has been working alongside Ghanaian organizations for many years on a variety of projects. I am lucky enough to be part of her Making Rights Real clinic, and spent this spring break investigating the impacts of gas development on local communities in the Western Region of Ghana.

    April 14, 2016