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Sunday, July 3, 2022

LEWAF licensed 40 paralegals to tackle gender violence

By Alfred Koroma

In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, Lady Ellen Women’s Aid Foundation (LEWAF), on Tuesday 8th March unveiled and licensed 40 paralegals mostly consisting women, to tackle gender violence in their communities.

The women had undergone six months training before they were unveiled and licensed as Community-Based Justice Advocates (CBJAz).

The trained CBJAz will serve as justice advocate personnel in their communities through which other women will channel their complaints if they are offended and need legal advice. They will also help their communities know the laws protecting women from abuse and tackling gender violence.

The beneficiaries (CBJAz) received trainings on basic laws such as Domestic Violence Act 2007, Sexual offences Act 2012 as amended in 2019, Registration of Customary Act 2007, Devolution of Estate Act 2007, New Bale Regulation, Police Arrest and Detention, Judicial Structure of Sierra Leone, and the Child Right Acts of 2007. They in turn are expected use the acquired training to help other women in various communities know the laws protecting them from domestic and gender base violence.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of LEWAF, Mohamed B. Jalloh said the organization took the venture to train the women in order to create awareness about the existing laws protecting them, saying that majority of the women have no idea about the laws that governs and protect them nor do they know the content of these laws.

The Director said in an effort to support the Government of Sierra Leone in ensuring every woman know the law protecting her, LEWAF has collaborated with all ministry department agencies to ensure women know the law governing and protecting them.

The director appreciated Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) with NaCCLE for providing the organization funds to extend legal empowerment to the vulnerable women and girls in Sierra Leone.

Some of the beneficiaries spoke to Concord Times on what the legal training mean to them. Zainab Bangura, one of the beneficiaries told this medium that she has learnt a lot from the training conducted by LEWAF, saying that knowing her right made her feel empowered. Zainab added that as a wife, she never knew there is an existing law that makes provision to register marriages, but through the training, she was able to learn that after marriage one should register.

Another beneficiary, Zainab Kallon also said she has benefitted a lot from the training, explaining how she has even used the knowledge she acquired to successfully fight the case of her neighbor.

Umu Samura, LEWAF PR Advocate who is also a beneficiary of the training said the training has benefitted women so much as it has created the awareness among women to always register their marriages so that they don’t   end up being kicked out by their partners. She added that the training also helped the women involved learn about the new Bale Regulation which is free for women.     

Speaking at the event, Claire F Carlton Hancles, Director of  Legal Aid Board advised the women to use the knowledge acquired from the training and come together and support each other. She added those having girls should use the law to protect their children from sexual abuse. She encouraged women to start speaking out about wrong doings they have been shying away from talking about.

 The beneficiaries’ exhibition of legal knowledge acquired from the training, demonstrated by brief drama skits on violence against women, sexual penetration of teenage girls and how such cases are often compromised climaxed the event.

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