Constitutional / Legal Literacy Programmes: Their Role in Public Interest Work, Adopting Rigorous Teaching Methodologies, and Measuring Impact
A number of human rights organisations and student organisations engage in some form of constitutional/legal literacy within the broader communities within which they are situated as part of a multi-pronged approach towards building a human rights culture, and to respond to the systemic disempowerment and alienation from the legal system often experienced by our client communities. These programmes are directed towards different populations, from high school learners, to teachers, to community members, to community organisations, to budding or seasoned social activists. Facilitation methodologies and curricula widely differ, as do programmatic objectives and methods to assess the impact of these programmes. Often, running such programmes is viewed merely as “outreach” that does not require rigorous strategy, training or planning. This panel will provide a shared, critical and self-reflective platform for organisations engaged in constitutional/legal literacy to think more strategically about how to embark on a sustained, rigorous, and relevant education project within the communities in which we work. We will explore questions of education models/philosophies, effective facilitation methodologies, methods of assessment, integration with other tactics of strategic litigation and research, how to engage collaboratively with government and academic stakeholders, and funding strategies.