Current Projects

LIDS is pleased to announce the slate of projects that we will be facilitating  projects for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in the Spring 2013 semester! Descriptions below.

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Project Descriptions

1. Institute for Liberty and Democracy (ILD), Water Rights and Conflict Resolution
Team leaders: Kelsey Bagot and Julian Hill.

ILD, based in Lima, Peru, researches, designs and implements strategies and projects for business formalization and institutional reform. In 2009, there were massive riots in Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon, stemming from the lack of property rights and economic exclusion of the native peoples. There are currently over 250 social conflicts in Peru and the legal tools for development are still out of reach for indigenous communities. Chief among these conflicts is water, water use rights, and the weak institutional frameworks for water management. LIDS students will conduct comparative research on water management and conflict mitigation to identify how strong institutional frameworks for water management can help resolve and avoid conflict, focusing on local decision-making and best practices. Students will create a set of recommendations for an inclusive legal framework for water management that would permit a reduction of social conflicts and create opportunities for indigenous people to protect their territories from environmental degradation.

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2. Instituto Alana and ANDI, Public Health and Food Advertising to Children
Team Leaders: Maria Parra-Orlandoni and Edgardo Perez.

ANDI, a news agency for children’s rights, is one of the leading NGOs in Latin America working at the intersection of media and development. Together with Instituto Alana, these organizations are addressing serious public health issues central to development. The Children and Consumerism project promotes critical awareness about product and services consumption practices by children and teenagers in Brazilian society. LIDS students will work with this organization to analyze food marketing to children, focusing on regulating advertising to children for foods with high levels of salt, fats and sugars, and beverages with low nutritional content. Students will conduct comparative research to examine the self-regulation initiatives as compared to government regulation initiatives in an effort to identify the most effective policies for addressing Brazil’s nutritional issues and obesity epidemic that affects 15-30% of the children in Brazil. This work will cause a significant impact on the quality of life for today’s children and for future generations.

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3. Millennium Challenge Corporation, Methodology for Legal System Impact Evaluation
Team Leaders: Rachel May and Nachama Rosen.

Since 2005, MCC has assisted land tenure reform projects in 12 nations, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.  All projects have had the goal of strengthening landholding rights of small farmers or poor urban households.  Several of the projects have made physical and operational improvements to registry offices, trained their staff, and assisted the governments to draft and adopt new laws, regulations and policy declarations.  Each project has anticipated that these actions would provide landholders with more secure tenure and would encourage and enable them to engage in transactions, invest, seek credit, increase productive use of their land and improve their living conditions.  To gauge the true impact that these reforms have had, MCC is engaging Orrick and LIDS to develop a methodology for monitoring and evaluation to see if the benefits are, in fact, being realized.  This will involve developing a method of legal system impact evaluation for the activities of land reform legislation, regulation and policy, land tenure “formalization,” and land registry improvements for 3 specific countries, and extracting general learnings for evaluating other legal land tenure reforms.

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4. Nanubhai Education Foundation, Legal Analysis of India’s Right to Education Act
Team Leaders: Amy Kabaria and Aditi Singh.

The primary mission of Nanubhai Education Foundation is to improve the quality of English language instruction in rural primary schools in India by empowering teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively teach in challenging, low-resource environments.  To develop a plan for its future growth, it is imperative that the Foundation understand the impact of India’s Right To Education Act (RTE), 2009, particularly on teacher training, teacher certification, and any other aspects of the law related to its mission.  Students will focus on preparing a policy analysis of how this new law impacts all stakeholders in the educational field in India, specifically teachers, teacher training institutes, government schools and NGOs.

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5. Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), Freedom of Information
Team Leaders: Sofia Klot Betancort and Juan Carlos Portilla.

The Open Society Justice Initiative uses law to protect and empower people around the world. Silence and secrecy are two of the most powerful tools that governments can employ to mute critics and cloak their actions from public scrutiny. The Freedom of Information/Expression program works to uphold the right to speak and to know in order to support public involvement in government and accountability, and to challenge corruption and human rights abuses. OSJI has developed a website to promote FOI advocacy as a resource for lawyers and law-makers around the world (1) by providing access to best practices in law from varied jurisdictions, and (2) by sharing successful campaign and litigation strategies. LIDS students will collect and prepare summaries of cases from around the world on the right to information. These reports will be published on right2info.org for use by practitioners internationally.

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6. TransFarm Africa, Mapping Trade Opportunities for the Agricultural Sector
Team Leaders: Elizabeth Floyd and Stephen Huie.

African agriculture holds great untapped development potential, and entrepreneurs from Africa and around the world are increasingly flocking to opportunities in the African agricultural sector.  Yet, the legal and regulatory environment in Africa is notoriously complex and can sometime present insurmountable barriers for these entrepreneurs.  TransFarm Africa, in collaboration with Dr. Cesar Hidalgo of the Media Lab at MIT and Harvard Kennedy School and creator of the “Product Space” methodology, is helping to develop the “Policy Space,” an interactive data visualization tool meant to make the policy environment facing different industries in different countries more transparent and easier to navigate for entrepreneurs on the ground.  As a first step in designing the Policy Space tool, LIDS will support TFA to identify and map nascent opportunities for a handful of products in the Tanzania and Rwanda agricultural sectors and the relevant laws, regulations and policies impacting them.  More specifically, students will be conducting research and fact finding on trade laws, investment regulations and product-specific certification, registration and safety standards for a number of specific agricultural products.

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7. Vale Columbia Center, Evaluating “Strings” Attached to Foreign Direct Investment
Team Leaders: Themi Asthenidis and Sam Smolkin.

Many countries – developed and developing – have used performance requirements as a tool to maximize the potential benefits of foreign direct investment (FDI).  Governments can impose performance requirements on multinational enterprises (MNEs) as a mandatory condition for establishing an investment, or can impose the requirements as a condition for the MNEs’ receipt of an advantage such as a tax break; and they do so in order to further a variety of development objectives. Although performance requirements have been shown to be important tools for countries to advance their sustainable development goals, not all such measures are equally successful.  And some have even been shown to have the perverse effect of frustrating development goals.  This project seeks to address that issue by using research and interviews to produce a paper on the types of performance requirements, specifically to facilitate technology transfers, which countries may want to use (or avoid using) in order to fully reap the benefits from investments by MNEs.