On an early morning in January, eight upper-year Harvard Law School students landed on the lone runway at the sleepy international airport in Lesotho where they were warmly welcomed by officials from the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (“MCC”), an innovative U.S. government foreign assistance agency. Though still recovering from the day-and-a-half-long trip to Lesotho, the students had a lot to accomplish in the three short weeks ahead and dove into action on two exciting law and international development projects organized by the student organization, the Harvard Law & International Development Society (“LIDS”).
With the support of the HLS Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs and financial support from the MCC and HLS International Legal Studies program, four of the students, under the supervision of Professor Lucie White, worked on the ongoing effort to decentralize health services in the country. The other four students, under the supervision of Professor Joseph Singer, worked with MCC’s local partners on a program to issue land titles in informal settlements in and around the local capital of Maseru.
This trip is one of many opportunities sponsored by LIDS, a student organization started only two years ago in light of the growing student interest in the field of law and international development. James Small, a third-year student graduating this spring, described the trip as “a tremendous learning experience. Although I have had the opportunity to engage in significant human rights-related coursework and clinical work while at HLS, until this January I had never done fieldwork in a developing country. Although it was a short time frame, it was still a terrific opportunity to finally get on-the-ground experience.”