Bringing free legal service to the people’s door step… L.A.W.Y.E.R.S starts Mobile Legal Advice Clin
By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla
Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social justice (L.A.W.Y.E.R.S) has commenced a novel mobile legal advice clinic targeting women and girls living in rural communities in Sierra Leone.
On Saturday 21st April, 2018 the first mobile legal advice clinic arrived at the Tree Planting community at Leicester, Freetown. A cross-section of the community, including suckling mothers, middle-aged and elderly women, gathered at the Maranatha Primary School to benefit from the free legal service. Also in attendance was Malcolm Bangura, the Chairman of the Tree Planting Community.
Most of the women described themselves as unemployed or as petty traders with very little or no income. During the session a range of legal and social issues were discussed and advised upon, mostly matters affecting women and girls in the Tree Planting community. They included, among others, inheritance rights (including registration with NASSIT as the spouse of a government worker), customary marriage, registration of customary marriage, separation, maintenance, mediation, court procedures, access to micro-credit finance and family planning.
Like most rural communities in Sierra Leone, there’s high level of illiteracy and poverty in the Tree Planting community, rendering the people ignorant of their basic rights. Worse, most of the women are widows or single parents. The women welcome the mobile legal advice clinic and hope the lawyers regularly come to their aid.
“We are on the move and we are working hard to ensure that women and girls living in rural Sierra Leone are not isolated from the formal legal system and have access to top quality legal advice,” said Lois Anita Kawa, President of L.A.W.Y.E.R.S, adding that they would provide representation where necessary.
Other members of L.AW.Y.E.R.S who attended the mobile legal service clinic included Beryl Cummings (Vice President of L.A.W.Y.E.R.S), Simitie Lavaly (AWOL’s legal practitioner of the year 2017 and former President of L.A.W.Y.E.R.S), Rhoda Sufian-Kargbo Nuni (President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association and Former President of L.A.W.Y.E.R.S) and Ailarah Hamid (member).
Meanwhile, the next clinic is scheduled for Saturday the 5th of May 2018 at the same community.