Friday, December 17, 2021

Expanding Work in Uzbekistan to Build Legal Literacy



Street Law, Inc. has been granted a subaward under the USAID/Uzbekistan Judicial System Strengthening Activity, which is led by the East-West Management Institute (EWMI). The goal of this overall project is to strengthen an independent judiciary and thereby improve justice for all and the rule of law in Uzbekistan.

Since 2018, Street Law has worked successfully throughout Uzbekistan, partnering with law schools to design and implement public legal education programs. This new project provides an exciting opportunity to build on this foundation and expand into new areas and audiences. Over the four-year life of the grant, Street Law will develop new teaching and learning resources and create opportunities for Uzbek community organizations and legal professionals to build legal literacy, judicial understanding, and civic skills in their communities.  

“We are thrilled to partner with USAID and EWMI as they work to support Uzbekistan’s long-term stability and prosperity,” said Ashok Regmi, executive director of Street Law, Inc. “This project is an important investment in improving access to justice in Uzbekistan, and we are excited to lend our expertise and experience to this crucial work.” 

Legal Literacy Program for Community Organizations 

Community organizations across the United States rely on Street Law’s Legal Life Skills curriculum to bring important lessons on practical legal topics to the people they serve. Through this project, Street Law will contextualize and adapt its Legal Life Skills curriculum for use in Uzbekistan, building out new lessons to help learners understand the country’s rapidly evolving legal and judicial landscape.  

Street Law will train a variety of community-based trainers—community organization leaders, teachers, university professors, legal professionals, and others—to implement Legal Life Skills programs for their constituents. The trainers will learn interactive teaching methodologies as well as project management tasks that are critical to sustainably integrating the program into their institutions.  

This work will build the capacity of organizations across Uzbekistan to deliver legal literacy programs. Mr. Kuuat Elmanov, Director of the Center for Development and Education “SMART” Initiative in the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, emphasizes the need and value of legal life skills for the Karakalpak people. “I think that legal education in Karakalpakstan is important because … people will learn how the law works, and how they can protect their rights when they face with human right issues in real life, for instance with securing their rights from unlawful demolishing of their houses, or if they are fired by employer by unlawful decisions and reasons. In addition it helps to educate people about the law, improves their awareness and expands understanding on better application of law, which ultimately impacts on effectiveness of the rule of law in everyday life situations.”  

Lawyers Building Legal Knowledge in their Communities 

Street Law has built a network of thousands of volunteer lawyers and legal professionals across the U.S. who teach in classrooms as part of our Legal Diversity Pipeline Program. Using this experience, Street Law will develop a new initiative that prepares Uzbek lawyers to build young people’s legal knowledge and skills through teaching.  

Street Law will first develop a Lawyers in the Classroom curriculum that covers a range of law topics, including contracts, employment, and ethics. Then, in collaboration with partners on the ground, Street Law will train volunteers from local law firms, companies, bar associations, and other legal professional organizations. Street Law will tap its growing network of law school- and community-based programs in Uzbekistan to create teaching opportunities so that the lawyers may utilize and share their expertise with a variety of beneficiaries. 

Ensuring Cultural Alignment 

When developing programs and curricular materials, Street Law takes great care to respond to the needs and experiences of the local audiences. Therefore, a critical consideration of this project is ensuring the relevance, applicability, and cultural alignment of the lessons for Uzbeks from all walks of life. Street Law will work with local legal and educational experts to help contextualize the content and to solicit extensive input from local stakeholders. In accordance with its Commitment to Quality Curriculum, Street Law will explicitly address the lived experiences of women, youth, and national minorities in the curriculum and build opportunities for a diverse set of learners to bring their own lived experience to conversations about the law and its application.