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Educational Tools for Legal Training and Consideration, Latin America

02 / 1993

Amongst the roles of legal aid groups in Latin America, popular legal education and training have occupied a very important place, from the beginning until the present day. After a first phase devoted to legal information, the question came up of the choice of a methodology to be used in the educational: which was the most appropriate, the most pedagogical?

Here we will discuss four experiments in which different educational tools were resorted to. QUERCUM (Chile)has developed several types of educational tools. DOAL (Mexico)produces materials on legal information in a popularized form, also used for training of popular leaders. The last two cases are women’s organizations: INDESO - MUJER (Argentina)uses a magazine, and CIDEM (Bolivia)uses a series of handbooks in the form of comic strips.

1)QUERCUM (Centro de Desarrollo y Estudios Jurídicos = Centre of Development and Legal Studies), Santiago, Chile. This is part of a global program of awareness-building, education and training in legal matters. A whole diversity of educational tools answers to the diversity of reality. Thus, for example, they use legal theatre, radio, handbooks of popular legal education, photo stories. In the case of legal theatre, QUERCUM works with popular actors from the community, who participate without being paid. The radio is another means; the program "Sin cedazo: todos podemos legislar" (Without a sieve: we can all legislate), which is broadcasted every Saturday at midday, invites various social figures to take part in a debate on a current legal theme. As for handbooks of legal education, they are not only destined to help popularise the law, they particularly imply a critical analysis of the situation being dealt with (for under dictatorship popularizing the law amounted to popularizing injustice). These handbooks also help analyse the present reality of the democratization process : "Seguridad del ciudadano y justicia comunitaria" (Security of the citizen and community justice), in order to abandon the police concept of security: community ethics and civil self-management); "Yo participo, tú participas..." (I participate, you participate...), a critical analysis of the village or town during the present period, with proposals for reforming the political structure. "Las magias del mago Maguín" (The magic of the magician Maguín), a fairy tale explaining the dictatorial origines of the Constitution in force.

2)DOAL (Despacho de Orientación y Asesoría Legal = Legal Advice and Assistance Office), Mexico D.F. The training includes the production and distribution of legal disclosure handbooks. DOAL has already produced 13 brochures or training handbooks whith the themes of private and collective forms of urban property; programs on access to housing, housing cooperatives; the regularisation of deeds of land ownership, the rights of tenants, the right to assembly, penal procedures, Constitional rights, habeas corpus... DOAL has also prepared material such as puzzles, posters, and a game called the "maratón jurídico popular" (popular legal marathon).

3)Women’s rights : INDESO-MUJER (Instituto de Estudios Jurídico-Sociales de la Mujer = Institute of Legal and Social Studies on Women), Rosario, Argentina, and CIDEM (Centro de Información y Desarrollo de la Mujer = Centre for Information and Development of Women), La Paz, Bolivia. Among the educational tools of INDESO-MUJER, "La Chancleta" (a Spanish word referring to old shoes worn by women)is a thematic magazine which deals with problems experiences by women from popular areas (rape, cohabitation, divorce, parental custody...), explaining these problems through vulgarisation handbooks, demystification of the law, and pedagogical drawings. CIDEM, member of the "Coordinación de la Mujer" (Coordination of Women)and two other organisations have prepared a series of handbooks "Nuestras Leyes" (Our Laws), which present problems commonly experienced by women from popular sectors in Bolivia. They therefore deal with penal, civil, family and labour codes, in the form of comic books. These books were prepared from testimonies of women.

These examples show how creativity can develop from multidisciplinary teams. Popular education and Law are intimately related in the pedagogy of the citizen, which takes into account the written culture and the visual communication, and the oral tradition as well.

Key words

legal training, law, popular education, training

, Latin America


Original card in French in Dph data base. The ’title/sub-title’ field corresponds to the ’translated title’ field in the French card.

This paper was produced from several sources : comments by Manuel JACQUES on legal education at QUERCUM (in an interview with Juristes-Solidarites and from a speech at Cotonou, Benin, October 1992); and handbooks of Quercum, DOAL, CIDEM and the magazine "La Chancleta" by INDESO-MUJER.

Contact : INDESO MUJER=INSTITUTO DE ESTUDIOS JURIDICO SOCIALES DE LA MUJER, - Balcarce 357 - 2000 Rosario - Argentina - Tel fax: (54)(41)42 369.



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