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.