Strengthening the Rights of Women and Girls in Sierra Leone

Clients European Union
Value €307,000
Lifecycle
2014 to 2016
Country Sierra Leone

Through the Strengthening the Rights of Women and Girls in Sierra Leone project, we are partnering with AdvocAid, a local non-governmental organisation, to promote and protect the rights of girls, women and their children.

Legal aid

Paralegals and lawyers are providing legal services to women and girls who are in conflict with the law. In the first six months of the project, over 145 women and girls have received legal representation. 

Paralegals are playing a vital role in expanding access to justice for women and girls in the rural areas. As fewer lawyers are located in these areas, the paralegals are bridging the gap by offering counselling, informing female inmates about their basic rights and providing legal aid services.

Gender rights awareness 

Television and radio programmes are being produced to inform and educate the wider public about the rights of women and girls.

Literacy classes for female inmates

Literacy classes are held in female prisons in three major centres across the country: Freetown, Kenema and Makeni. Over 52 women attend the classes to learn how to read and write. The classes are helping to increase access to information to women about gender rights, and are helping them to improve their self-confidence and to reintegrate back into society.

Case in focus: juveniles released from custody

In Bo, a 16-year-old girl and her 13-year-old brother were detained for over 22 days in a police station. The Sierra Leone Constitution states that suspects should not be detained for more than ten days without being charged or released, but this rule is often violated. The project team worked in partnership with the Human Rights Commission to advocate for the State Counsel and the police to either charge the matter to court or release the juveniles according to the Constitution. As a result of the team’s rigorous work, the case was reviewed and the girl and her brother were released.

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‘…it is a relief to know that I am not exempted from having access to justice or by being represented by a lawyer…’ 

Female inmate and project beneficiary  

I am so proud of what I have learnt. I never went to school but I will now teach my children and make them go to school.’ 

Female inmate and project beneficiary

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