Lilian Chenwi's work the area of ESCR has involved research, advocacy, teaching and litigation through amicus curiae briefs. She has conducted research and carried out advocacy initiatives at various levels – from a local to international and have engaged various spheres of government and bodies in relation to the effective realisation of ESCR. Within the area of socio-economic rights, her work /activities have focused on housing rights and evictions, women’s access to housing, protection of socio-economic rights at the UN and African regional levels, extraterritorial obligations in relation to socio-economic rights, among others.
She previously headed the Socio-Economic Rights Project of the Community Law Centre, where she was also a senior researcher. The project conducted research aimed at ensuring the effective implementation, monitoring and enforcement of socio-economic rights in South Africa; engaged in advocacy activities for the realisation of these rights through law reform and policy development; developed accessible resource and educational materials on socio-economic rights aimed at capacitating civil society organisations and the society at large on how to claim and defend their rights; intervened in cases involving socio-economic rights with the aim of contributing to the development of a jurisprudence on these rights that responds to social transformational agenda. She also convened and taught an LLM module on economic, social and cultural rights.
Chenwi is one of the convenors of the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers’ (ANCL) Working Group on Socio-Economic Rights in Africa (SERIA). The working group undertakes and promotes cutting-edge research into the protection and implementation of socio-economic rights at regional and domestic levels in Africa; contributes to the development of jurisprudence on socio-economic rights in Africa; encourages comparative research on socio-economic rights in Africa; advocates for the better protection of socio-economic rights in Africa; and supports advocacy efforts concerning the implementation of these rights; collaborates with individuals, institutions and organisations with expertise and experience in the promotion, implementation and enforcement of socio-economic rights in Africa; and facilitates information sharing concerning these rights among African scholars, activists, NGOs and state officials.
She contributes towards promoting extraterritorial states obligations for economic, social and cultural rights through my membership in the ETO Consortium, an international network of NGOs, university institutes and individuals from different parts of the world.
She contributes towards promoting discourse on legal developments in the area of socio-economic rights through my membership in the International Social and Economic Rights Project (iSERP), an informal, international network of lawyers, judges, other human rights advocates, and academics focusing on Social & Economic Rights. iSERP seeks to encourage and develop critical and transformative thinking about SER and SER-based legal strategies.