Monitoring Trip to Makeni

January 18th, 2012 — 10:36pm

AdvocAid’s Executive Director and Legal Officer paid a visit to Makeni to monitor and support the work of our Makeni paralegal, Victoria Koroma, who is based with Access to Justice Makeni.

We paid visits to the Courts and met with police, State Counsel and the newly transferred High Court Judge. We also visited Makeni Prison, Female Section and distributed welfare items, took detailed statements from the inmates and conducted general prison monitoring. We were able to put up posters concerning the Bangkok Rules, UN Standards for the Treatment of Female Detainees.

Posters explaining the UN Standards for the Treatment of Female Detainees

Simitie Lavaly, Legal Officer, performed a bail application for a young female detainee (a former street girl) which was unfortunately refused due to her lack of family ties and fixed abode.

We were very pleased with Victoria’s work and her impact in Makeni.

Thanks to Open Society Foundations for their support of our work and GIZ who supported creation of the posters. Posters designed by Steph Maylon.

Simitie Lavaly and Victoria Koroma discussing a case

Sabrina and Victoria at Access to Justice Makeni's office

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Celebrating 10 years of Peace

January 18th, 2012 — 3:19am

Today we are celebrating 10 years of peace in Sierra Leone and also remembering all those who suffered during the 11 year long civil war and those who still feel the effects today. Sierra Leone has come a long way since AdvocAid started in 2006 but there are still many challenges, especially for the girls and women we work with.

The Peace Bird (c) Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars

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AdvocAid Client Formerly on Death Row Discharged at Re-Trial

January 3rd, 2012 — 3:24am

Great news to begin the new year! Another woman (formerly on death row) has been discharged.

MSK was sentenced to death in 2007. Her conviction was overturned following an appeal by AdvocAid in 2009 and she had to undergo a retrial. An AdvocAid contracted lawyer managed to have her released on bail and she was at least able to be reunited with her family during the long trial process. Just before Christmas, she was discharged by the High Court.

Congratulations to the entire AdvocAid Legal Team (especially Lawyer Kamara) and thanks to the Death Penalty Project.

1 comment » | Advocacy, Death Penalty, Legal Aid, News

Happy Holidays

December 24th, 2011 — 3:24pm

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone at AdvocAid.

Thank you to all our donors and supporters for helping us continue to assist vulnerable girls and women in Sierra Leone.

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Christmas Welfare Donations to Women and their Children in Prison

December 18th, 2011 — 3:32am

AdvocAid donated welfare items (such as toiletries) to women and their children in Freetown Female Prison. We gave each woman her own “lappa” (cloth) which can be used for clothing, as a blanket etc

We played some music and shared food, including fruit which is hardly part of the prison diet.

However, our Christmas welfare donations were made more complicated as the female prison population in Freetown had almost doubled due to a police raid on a poor area of town. Thanks to your donations, we just managed to give most women a few welfare items each. We spent the rest of the day taking statements from the women with our Legal Officer, Legal Volunteer and law students.

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Salone Style Jewellery Sale – 15 December 2011

December 14th, 2011 — 1:29pm

Buy a unique Christmas gift….and feel good about your purchase too!

WHAT: Salone Style Jewellery Sale

WHERE: O Bar (Lumley Beach)

WHEN: Thursday, December 15

TIME:  5:00-8:00pm


Salone Style is a design cooperative that supports a group of women in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Working with disadvantaged women, we aim to empower them with unique skills and a business opportunity.

We are currently training a group of women in the art of jewellery making.

Our first collection is ready just in time for Christmas.

We invite you to view a unique selection of earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

All jewellery is handmade from locally sourced materials.

For more information, visit us at http://www.facebook.com/salonestyle or call 078.887.997

Salone Style is proud to support AdvocAid.

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AdvocAid presents at National Conference on Advancing Legal Aid for Women’s Rights

December 10th, 2011 — 3:46am

AdvocAid was honoured to be invited to speak at the National Conference on Advancing Legal Aid for Women’s Rights organised by the Human Rights Commission on 8 to 9 December 2010 as part of their events listed to mark International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2011.

Sabrina Mahtani, Executive Director, gave a key note speech on “Exploring New Approaches to Legal Aid and Assistance for Women”.

Click here to read more about the conference in a news article by Awoko Newspaper.

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AdvocAid and GIZ produce Handbook on UN Standards for the Treatment of Female Prisoners

December 9th, 2011 — 6:06pm

AdvocAid, with the support of GIZ, has developed a Handbook on the United Nations Standards for the Treatment of Female Prisoners. The handbook can be found in the “resources” section of our website or by clicking here.

This handbook aims to provide a clear, portable and easy to use guide to the “Bangkok Rules,” adopted by the United Nations in 2010, which outline international standards for the treatment of female prisoners and female offenders.

The information is in point form, illustrated with cartoons and referenced with detailed footnotes. It is organised according to prison officials’ duties and functions.

The handbook is designed to assist prison officials, prisoners and civil society in fostering enforcement of human rights standards for girls, women and their children in the criminal justice system.

The 1st edition of the handbook was used during a 2 day training on the Bangkok Rules from 5 – 6 December 2011 with female prison officers in Freetown. Plans are to extend the training to the provinces next year and to produce a 2nd edition of the handbook following learnings from the trainings.

The fantastic illustrations were provided by De Monk, Arts & Media Production, 6/17 Cannon Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone/ 076 470 288/ 033 511 148/ demonkproduction@yahoo.com.

Great graphic design by Stephanie Maylon (stephmalyon@googlemail.com)

 

 

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Marking World AIDS Day 2011

December 1st, 2011 — 6:23pm

To mark World AIDS Day 2011, we are sharing a case study about how we assisted a female detainee who was affected with HIV. AdvocAid aims to provide medical and welfare assistance to girls, women and their children in detention. We also conduct legal and reproductive rights work shops with sex workers as part of our preventative educational initiatives.

Hadja and Aminatta

Hadja and Aminatta were market traders. They were walking past the police station when they stopped and spoke to someone they knew who had been arrested by the police. The police also arrested them for conspiracy to commit armed robbery. They were detained in October 2009.

AdvocAid instructed a lawyer for them in April 2010 following a needs assessment to Makeni. AdvocAid referred Hadja for HIV/ AIDS testing due to concerns about her health and she was diagnosed HIV positive.  Hadja was also 7 months pregnant. Although AdvocAid and referred maternal health charities did all they could to assist Hadja, she sadly died a week after giving birth. AdvocAid were at least able to ensure she had a dignified burial and have assisted her child to be fostered and receive good medical treatment. The baby is thankfully healthy.

Aminatta was released in July 2010 after her case was discharged. AdvocAid have assisted her with post prison support to set up a small business selling coconut cakes. She passed her Stage 1 literacy as part of AdvocAid’s prison literacy classes.

 

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Skills Based Training for Ex Prisoners: Jewellery Design

November 24th, 2011 — 11:27am

As part of our reintegration programme, we are offering skills based training to female ex prisoners. Our first course focused on jewellery design.

The women were offered a six week course to introduce them to the basics of jewellery design. The course was lead by Rikke Clevin Jensen, a Danish jewellery designer who trained at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London, and Marisa Zawaki.

Since the course began in October 2011, the women have been busily producing necklaces, earrings and bracelets from locally sourced materials. We will be organising a sale in Freetown for the Christmas season. Details to come soon!

The aim of the jewellery design training is to not only help the ex prisoners reintegrate into society, but to provide them with unique skills and a sustainable business opportunity.

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Head Office: 1st Floor, 39 Liverpool Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone | advocaid@gmail.com | Tel: +232 (0)33 572 526