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Latin American Regional Exchange in Argentina

“The Learning Exchange was immensely constructive for ISLP and its partner organizations. It was a great opportunity to network with other organizations working on similar issues in Latin America, to learn from each other’s experiences on legal empowerment, and to discuss how organizations are addressing common challenges related to large-scale developments in Latin America. It was highly gratifying seeing the level of sophistication among the different participants in the event and their willingness to share strategies and knowledge with their peers in the region, in order to promote legal empowerment.”
(Diana, ISLP, USA)

 

“The learning exchange contributed to creating visibility around the knowledge of the law and the appropriation of mechanisms to demand it. The meeting helped me bring concrete legal empowerment approaches back to my organization, particularly when we develop our work in city settlements where the violation of rights is concentrated. On a personal level, it was a very motivating space to share with other people of the region who are committed to justice and to putting access to justice in the hands of everyone.”
(Laura, Techo, Regional organization)

 

“The learning exchange was an amazing opportunity for me and for the organization in which I work. It was an important moment to think critically about legal empowerment in the Latin American context, sharing experiences of grassroots work, strategies and legal advocacy tools with diverse communities. In Brazil, we work with a Popular Legal Promoters Training Program that trains female community leaders in women’s human rights, as well as explains the basic functioning of the organization of justice and State systems. For us to have the platform and the networking possibilities that the the Global Legal Empowerment Network offers, strengthens us as political subjects and strengthens the communities with which we work.”
(Livia , Themis, Brazil)

 

“The meeting allowed us firstly, to get closer to the current situation of the legal services movement in the region: the issues of agency, legal empowerment practices, and action plans. We were able to reinforce the importance of environmental rights in the social struggles of Latin America, the centrality of women and migrants in the regional debate on the effective enjoyment of rights and access to justice, as well as the continuous demand on States to fulfill their duty to guarantee social rights. Secondly, for ILSA, the exchange made it possible to learn from the other organizations and the tools they use to exercise alternative legal services (eg, legal promoters, use of technological tools for popular training and political incidence ). This will undoubtedly improve our work. We were also able to share our 39 years of experience from a practice and a critical discourse of law placed at the service of popular sectors and their demands.
(Fredy, Ilsa, Colombia)

The first Latin American regional learning exchange was held in June 2017 in Buenos Aires and hosted by the Civil Association for Equality and Justice (ACIJ). During six days, 30 participants from 15 countries collectively discussed and learned the ways and means to address common challenges and improve methods of legal empowerment. In doing so, we discussed the particularities, opportunities, and challenges of legal empowerment in Latin America. Second, we aimed to be forward thinking – defining the next steps to strengthen the legal empowerment movement in the region; generating knowledge and learnings about the unique practices and experiences in Latin America. Specific sessions highlights included:

    1. Discussions on what legal empowerment means and looks like in the Latin American context

 

    1. A special session on opportunities for advancing legal empowerment presented by the Sustainable Development Goals

 

    1. Sharing of legal empowerment case studies

 

    1. Visits to a center that the host organization has in a Slum of Buenos Aires

 

  1. Sessions dedicated to defining next steps for strengthening the legal empowerment movement in the Latin America region, culminating in the signing of the “Declaration of Villa Inflamable for Access to Justice & Legal Empowerment for All”, a document that establishes the values and commitments that will guide the group, as well as demands to public institutions, the private sector, and international bodies to guarantee access to justice for all.

For more information about our learning exchanges, please contact exchanges@namati.org, or visit the learning exchange page.

 

Participants