Phase 2 of Street Law Zambiaâ€™s pilot project sent veteran human rights attorney and educator, Pamela Mumbi, to Seattle, Washington, USA. Mrs. Mumbi received pedagogical training and visited classrooms currently implementing Street Law curriculum adapted to high school students in the United States.
The visit to Seattle included observation of Youth Traffic Court, a project started by Margaret Fisher, an experienced Street Law practitioner. Youth Traffic Court gives youth an opportunity to adjudicate their traffic tickets in front of a jury of their peers. Mrs. Mumbi was particularly impressed by the seriousness with which the students resolved their traffic tickets, commenting that she was â€œin aweâ€ and â€œcould barely believe [that] kids were correcting kids.â€ The experience gives Mrs. Mumbi a clearer vision for how youth can be agents of positive change for Zambia, especially in the context of Street Law Zambiaâ€™s Opportunity Fund project, which focuses on providing a practical legal education for Zambiaâ€™s youth.
Mrs. Mumbiâ€™s visit to Seattle also included informal meetings with some distinguished guests. Elected Prosecuting Attorney for King County, Dan Satterburg, discussed the innovative 180 Program, a pre-diversion program aimed at keeping youth out of the criminal justice system; Judge Sean Oâ€™Donnell, King County Superior Court, detailed his experience prosecuting gender-based crimes; and Dr. Isidore Starr, the â€˜father of law-related educationâ€™, recounted his early days as a teacher integrating law-related education into existing curriculum. Mrs. Mumbi also connected with World Justice Project staff and visited the Seattle University School of Law Access to Justice Institute.
Upon reflection about her time in Seattle, Mrs. Mumbi commented that the strength of the Street Law program is its focus on tackling underlying attitudes of youth. Mrs. Mumbi hopes to apply this focus of addressing attitudes to Street Law Zambiaâ€™s curriculum project, which will be first implemented in Lusaka, Zambia in April 2014. Prior to implementation of the curriculum, Mrs. Mumbi and the rest of the Street Law Zambia team will be hard at work to ensure that the curriculum directly addresses attitudes of Zambian youth, especially their attitudes towards gender-based violence and police responsibility issues.
The development of Street Law Zambiaâ€™s curriculum marks a transition into Phase 3 (of 7) of Street Law Zambiaâ€™s Opportunity Fund project. There is much work to be done during the coming months, but undoubtedly Mrs. Mumbiâ€™s classroom visit has provided a bit more inspiration.