Environmental Justice Program Manager

  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    May 15

Position description

A passionate advocate and results-driven leader who will help us build a new approach to pursuing environmental justice in the United States.

About the position

In the United States and elsewhere, the environmental movement has often focused on top-down regulation and litigation. Namati is developing a "legal empowerment" approach to environmental justice: one that equips communities affected by environmental harm to advocate for themselves.

Namati focuses on 'community paralegals', sometimes called barefoot lawyers, who demystify law and help people exercise their rights. Namati works with community paralegals in several countries and convenes the Global Legal Empowerment Network, made up of over 2000 organizations from 160 countries.

In India, Sierra Leone, and Myanmar, Namati focuses on environmental justice (EJ) in particular. Paralegals in those places support communities to pursue practical remedies when, say, an oil palm plantation grabs land without consent, or an iron mine poisons the water.

We are searching for a dynamic leader to support a new crew of legal empowerment advocates in Maryland and Washington DC. This is an opportunity to build an approach to environmental justice that could hold promise for the whole country. We have identified extraordinary advocates to form our first U.S. legal empowerment team-- people like Fred Tutman, the only black River Keeper in the country, and Rhonda Hamilton, who has led her neighborhood in Buzzards Point to take on pollution and gentrification at the same time. The advocates are learning from each other and deepening their work together.

We’ve just begun: the EJ Program Manager will build this pilot into something lasting and powerful.

The Manager will support legal empowerment advocates and the communities they’re serving to understand environmental regulation, and to pursue concrete remedies to environmental injustice. The Manager will equip the advocates to engage creatively across the institutional landscape - from departments of environment and public health to zoning boards - especially as federal regulation has weakened.

True legal empowerment involves not just knowing and using the rules as they exist, but shaping them to make them more just. In every country where Namati works, we’ve drawn on case experience to achieve improvements to policies and systems. The Program Manager will work with advocates and communities to attempt the same in Maryland and DC.

The Manager will be responsible for the following:

Program Design and Strategy

  • Contribute significantly to the vision for the program and guide strategic decisions over the next three years in collaboration with the team. This includes articulating a clear program design, identifying learning questions, and defining medium term goals.
  • Align resources and systems with program needs to drive progress on strategic objectives.
  • Learn from implementation to refine our approach for deeper impact by actively assessing program status and addressing ongoing design challenges. Regularly analyze program data to track progress and generate learning.
  • In collaboration with teams in India, Sierra Leone, Myanmar, and elsewhere, develop and document comparative insight into how legal empowerment can advance environmental justice.

Program Management

  • Hold overall responsibility for developing innovative approaches in several core areas: case strategy, community outreach and organizing, policy advocacy, and coalition building. In addition, the Manager will contribute to day to day implementation in a variety of ways - from joining an advocate meeting to discuss action on a case to planning content for training.
  • Supervise and provide support to an EJ Program Officer in managing casework with the five advocates.
  • Manage direct implementation partnerships with three local NGOs, including co-designing program strategy and overseeing administrative requirements.
  • Cultivate peer to peer learning, drawing on lessons from others in the field that can strengthen our work and sharing our approach with other practitioners.
  • Oversee the development and ongoing management of work plans for the program to ensure we meet annual goals.
  • Draft and manage the annual program budget, allocating resources strategically to meet needs.

Development, Fundraising, and Communications

  • Collaborate with the development team to secure funding for the program’s annual budget.
  • Manage grant reporting and relationships for all major funders.
  • Develop and cultivate new connections with potential funders.
  • Work with the communications team to create content for a public audience.

Here’s what you might have tackled in this role in the last month

  • Developed systems for documenting learning, including establishing M&E systems and targets.
  • Spent the day with a legal empowerment advocate - attended a community meeting with her and talked through strategy for the case she’s working on.
  • Convened Namati’s US EJ advisory board to seek guidance on key strategic questions, e.g. priorities for policy advocacy. The board is made up of Vernice Miller-Travis, Sacoby Wilson, Adrienne Hollis, and Fred Tutman (Fred serves in a dual role as advocate and advisor).
  • Planned the next monthly convening for the legal empowerment advocates, drawing on feedback from previous events to build the most impactful session possible.
  • Wrote a policy brief using trends from case data to identify evidence-based recommendations for strengthening environmental regulation both in the US and in other contexts.
  • Facilitated a meeting with local partner organizations to develop a joint strategy for advocating for greater public participation in regulatory decisions.

About you/must-haves for the position

  • Program strategy and design: At your core, you are a strategist that can identify opportunities and key questions, articulating a clear vision for the evolution of the program. You can align resources and systems with needs to achieve maximum impact.
  • Strong program management. You can keep track of all aspects of an ambitious and emerging program; everything from training our advocates to managing partnerships and other stakeholder relationships. Not only can you take an existing plan and map out its tactical execution, you’re also able to identify what’s missing and iterate on details big and small.
  • Experience in community-based environmental justice work in the United States: You are a seasoned environmental justice advocate who has spent time working at the intersections of community organizing, law, and policy. You have relevant credentials and strong connections and networks in the field, and are an outstanding communicator with experience engaging with diverse communities.
  • Track record of getting results: You bring significant experience (likely 5-7 years, and possibly much more) that demonstrates you are a strategic, dynamic leader who makes things happen. You have experience in the trenches of creating a new program, or of leading a program for some time. You’re great with logistics, work quickly and efficiently, and manage collaborative processes on deadline and with confidence.
  • Collaborative and service-oriented: You greet everyone you encounter with a collaborative spirit, kindness, and empathy. You are known as a team-player who brings an “all hands on deck” mindset to all projects, you’re adaptable, and you’re happy to contribute however you can to advance Namati’s mission.
  • Growth-oriented: You’re always seeking to better yourself and your work, and you will push yourself to the peak of performance to help fulfill our mission. In service of that growth, you welcome and delight in feedback from supervisors, peers, and anyone else.


  • In-depth knowledge of environmental law: You have a deep understanding of law and regulation on environment, land, and industry. You are familiar with the institutions that regulate these areas, and you can provide strong analysis of possible routes for administrative and other remedies to environmental harms. We’re interested in lawyers, practicing or otherwise, but legal training is not a requirement for the position.

Application instructions

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