Sierra Leone: Founded in 2006, AdvocAid is the only Human Rights organisation in Sierra Leone providing holistic access to justice and post-prison support to women and girls who come into contact with the law.
The organisation is celebrating its 15th year anniversary, having been continuously working for women and girls’ rights by providing legal advice and support services to more than 6,000 women and girls in contact with the law.
They have also secured the release of 6 women and 3 men from death row, reached over a million women through its award-winning legal education series ‘Police Cast’ and successfully advocated for new legislation in Sierra Leone.
As the country mark 60 years of independence this month, AdvocAid sees this as a joint celebration. AdvocAid will be holding celebration events with girls, women and staff in some of the country’s female correctional centers, highlighting the continued need since independence and AdvocAid’s founding to improve detention conditions for women and girls.
“Since AdvocAid started working with women in contact with the law 15 years ago, Sierra Leone has made huge progress in access to justice and women’s rights, but there remains a long way to go. We are celebrating our anniversary by sharing the stories of the women and girls we work with to advocate for reform and a fairer justice system for the next generation of Sierra Leonean girls” said AdvocAid’s Executive Director, Rhiannon Davis.
Throughout this year AdvocAid will be marking this anniversary by celebrating the work of their dedicated staff and sharing the powerful cases of the women they have worked with. From four volunteers when AdvocAid was founded, the organisation now has a majority female team of 22 staff.
AdvocAid’s daily police station and court monitoring across the country shows that women and girls rarely have appropriate legal support, and many do not know their legal rights. Poverty and imprisonment frequently go hand-in-hand, and that Sierra Leone’s laws are too often shaped by men for men.
Whichever reason propels a woman or girl to be in contact with the law, the stigma of time in prison leaves women shunned by their families, communities, and society, and so begins again the cycle of risky coping mechanisms making them increasingly likely to come into contact with the law. It is this unjust inequality that drives AdvocAid as much today, as it did in 2006.
“Trust, transparency and collaboration have been central for AdvocAid over the past 15 years. We are grateful to our partners and donors for their collaboration and support and this partnership approach will remain central for AdvocAid for the next 15 years.”
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