AdvocAid holds nationwide literacy class graduation in Female Correctional Centres

AdvocAid holds nationwide literacy class graduation in Female Correctional Centres

    On 8th and 15th September 2016, AdvocAid coordinated and celebrated the graduation of newly empowered female inmates in Makeni, Kono, Kenema and Freetown Female Correctional Centres. A total of 42 inmates were graduating from an intensive education programme run by AdvocAid and facilitated by EducAid, which gives thorough adult literacy & numeracy classes to inmates throughout the year.   AdvocAid seeks to stop the cycle of illiteracy by delivering literacy classes to women in detention, providing them with stronger prospects and a brighter future upon release. The classes are delivered by AdvocAid’s educational partner, EducAid. EducAid teaches three comprehensive and intensive classes per week for the different literacy levels, on a termly basis, with a graduation upon completion. The classes take place within correctional centres across the country in Freetown, Makeni, Kenema and Koidu City (Kono).   For this momentous event, 108 people in Freetown Correctional Centre gathered together in the heat of the sun to celebrate the graduation of 23 women. AdvocAid’s Programme Manager Julie M. Sesay introduced the purpose of the graduation and welcomed everyone profusely. Guests included the Executive Director of EducAid Miriam Mason Sesay, British Council Country Director  Simon Ingram – Hill, EducAid teachers, correctional centre staff, media personnel and all inmates.   In her opening statement, AdvocAid Executive Director Simitie Lavaly said that the training will serve as a key way for these women to integrate into society. This was followed by EducAid Executive Director Miriam Mason-Sesay, who in her statement emphasised how the inmates should never give up and that education was the way forward. She used her own life story to...

Launch of Educational TV Drama Police Case II

AdvocAid to Launch Second Series of Educational TV Drama Police Case 2  26 October 2015: Today, AdvocAid have unveiled plans for the launch of Police Case II on both TV and Radio, the follow-up to their highly successful four part 2012 legal educational drama. Due on air in October 2015, Police Case II consists of eight episodes that each aim to not only entertain their audience, but also provide them with vital information about their legal rights within the criminal justice system, and ensure girls and women are linked with organisations that can offer legal support and assistance. The series, set in Freetown, deals with practical legal issues that mainly impact on the lives of vulnerable women and girls. Each of the eight episodes focusses on a specific legal issue ranging from Ebola regulations and sexual and gender-based violence, to loitering, traffic Laws, Infanticide, child trafficking larceny and debt. The story lines have been carefully scripted to be accessible to viewers and listeners, with the intention that through creating familiar scenarios, the audience will recognise how to act in the future with their new found legal understanding. AdvocAid has worked in partnership with the UNDP, EU and the British Council Sierra Leone to bring this project to fruition, using focus groups to establish the most common legal issues to educate on, and the best story lines to ensure the series remains gripping and entertaining, as well as educational. As Sonia Williams, Acting Director of AdvocAid points out: “We hope that our audience will recognise the situations as common occurrences, especially for women and girls. It is our hope that by dramatizing scenarios,...

Law in the Time of Ebola: Perspectives from Kono

By Chris Randall, law student at Berkley School of Law, who volunteered with AdvocAid in 2014 In a small, sunlit courtyard in Koidu Prison, prisoners Aminatta, Hawa, and Kadi* practice pronouncing and writing letters of the English language. These twice-weekly English lessons coordinated by AdvocAid (through their partner EducAid) help pass the time by taking their minds off their long period of remand in prison until their trials begin. It was in October 2013 that Aminatta was arrested and charged with her husband’s murder. She is accused of fatally stabbing him in a crowded marketplace as he pursued her while publicly provoking and harassing her. This was merely the final incident in a relationship with a long history of abuse and torment. Up until now in August 2014, Aminatta continues to await trial in the High Court of Kono District. Due to a shortage of Judges and resources, there is no permanent High Court in Kono. Rather, the court from Kenema (several hours away) moves to Kono on circuit four times a year. However, reportedly due to a shortage of funds, the High Court has not sat on circuit since December 2013. Now, Aminatta’s trial will be further delayed as fear of Ebola spreads outside the walls of Koidu Prison. Previously in Kono, it was not uncommon to hear outright denial that Ebola even existed. Yet, almost simultaneously with Ebola’s arrival, latex gloves and tanks of chlorine water became commonplace, in an effort to prevent an infection that had already arrived. Inside the walls of Koidu Prison, although their movement is restricted, Aminatta, Hawa, and Kadi are likely safe...

Female Prisoners in Kenema Pass Stage 1 Literacy

A short video of a graduation ceremony in Kenema Female Prison for women who passed their Stage 1 Literacy. AdvocAid runs literacy classes for women in prison across Sierra Leone with our fantastic partner, EducAid, an educational charity. The women are singing “Learning Is Better Than Silver or Gold”, very true! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UnJ8EC3Iso&feature=youtu.be]...

Marking World AIDS Day 2011

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....

Skills Based Training for Ex Prisoners: Jewellery Design

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...