Friday, December 17, 2021

New Project Will Deepen Public Legal Education in Uzbekistan



Street Law is excited to begin work on a new initiative supporting public legal education in Uzbekistan. The program, funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and implemented in partnership with Regional Dialogue, will allow Street Law to build upon its successes in the country in recent years. 

Building a Street Law Movement 

Since 2018, Street Law, Inc. has been working in Uzbekistan to develop and implement law school-based public legal education programs—commonly called “street law” programs. Street Law has partnered with Tashkent State University of Law (TSUL) to implement a variety of activities related to this initiative, including training hundreds of faculty and students to use interactive teaching methodologies to teach about the law, providing ongoing virtual and in-person coaching and mentoring to program directors and university administrators, and writing (and training others to write) interactive lessons about legal issues in Uzbekistan. 

The TSUL law faculty and students have fully embraced the street law model. TSUL student Kamilla Dalabaeva explained that she joined the street law project because she wanted to make help build legal awareness in my community. As she put it “People don't know their constitution. Sometimes they have difficulty even when they ask questions or search on the internet, because they don't understand the legal language.” The street law project is an ideal way to build that legal knowledge and skills in a low pressure environment. “Students are tired of the classical lessons of schools. When we come and teach interactively and give them freedom, they are so happy. In their feedback, they say, 'Thank you for connecting with us like a friend. You are not like a strict teacher, you make [the classroom] have a friendly atmosphere.’" 

In collaboration with TSUL, Street Law also expanded the initiative across the country. The partners trained faculty and launched satellite street law programs at Legal Technical Schools in all 13 regions of the country, established a street law program at Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT), and piloted a community-led street law program with a civic education NGO in the Republic of Karakalpakstan. 

The success of the street law movement in Uzbekistan has attracted attention and praise from the highest levels of government. In 2019, President Mirziyoyev issued a presidential decree that called for the “widespread implementation of ‘street law’ project” to ensure that young people gain practical legal skills and knowledge.  

New Materials and Training for Deeper Impact 

With this high-level support, Street Law, Inc. is poised to deepen the impact of street law in the country. Under the new project, Street Law will work with TSUL and the Legal Technical Schools to develop new human rights-focused teaching materials that can be taught in school and community settings around the country. Through in-person and virtual training programs, Street Law will also continue to build the capacity of students to teach about the law in community settings. Finally, Street Law and TSUL will implement a national Uzbek Street Law Academy, which will bring together public legal education stakeholders from around the country and form a foundational network of collaboration and support.