There are approximately 500 lawyers in Sierra Leone, for a population of 7.5 million. A low proportion of these lawyers are women. We believe that a stronger pool of female lawyers & paralegals would contribute to a more gender-responsive justice system. With your support, we will fund a scholarship scheme that helps women to overcome the financial barriers of attending law school & paralegal training. We will also create an internship scheme to expose law students to feminist lawyering.
Financial barriers limit the ability of women to study law or paralegal studies in Sierra Leone. For those who manage, they are often drawn to work in private law firms. There is limited training on feminist legal approaches for law students in curriculums. However, there is a critical need for legal representation for women and girls. Most women cannot afford lawyers, leading to pro-longed time in pre-trial detention, or paying bribes because they do not understand their rights.
Our scholarship scheme will support women to train as lawyers or paralegals, increasing the number of women working in the legal profession. Part of the scholarship scheme will require the candidates to "give back" once qualified by working with AdvocAid to provide free legal support to women and girls. We will also start an internship scheme for law students, fostering a feminist and human rights approach. This project will enable us to increase the number of women & girls who access justice.
We believe that a stronger pool of female lawyers and paralegals would contribute greatly to our overall vision of a more gender-responsive justice system. In our 15 years of operating, AdvocAid has provided legal support to over 15,000 women & girls and changed policies through advocacy or strategic litigation. This project will help us to continue this important justice work and help build the next generation of women lawyers and paralegals and a more feminist justice system!