Our Work

Engaging traditional leaders as advocates of women’ rights

“The first time I heard about the [Legal Literacy Volunteers] LLVs was at a meeting with WiLDAF (…) so I asked for this program to be implemented within my district,” said Chief Opoku, one of the 46 community members trained as a Legal Literacy Volunteer within the Upper West Akim district in the Eastern region of Ghana.

“As a Chief, it [being a LLV] has made me stand tall amongst other leaders as there were some repressive policies and cruel practices that I’ve kicked against, like for instance (…) giving unfair judgements.”

The training of community chiefs as LLVs is part of the Access to Justice Program supported by Crossroads International and implemented by Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF Ghana). In Ghana, domestic violence legislation has been in place since 2007, but gender-based violence is under reported.

“As a Chief, it [being a LLV] has made me stand tall amongst other leaders as there were some repressive policies and cruel practices that I’ve kicked against, like for instance (…) giving unfair judgements.”

The program targets women at risk or who have experienced violence and is increasing women’s knowledge of their rights. Community volunteers are trained about the domestic violence legislation and other laws. These LLVs become community resources to help others. Key to the program’s success is the engagement of traditional and religious leaders who wield tremendous influence within the community and who, in many instances, are in charge of settling disputes.

“As LLVs, we have more knowledge about child’s rights, human rights, and access to justice,” said Chief Opoku. “Since I became a LLV, there has been in my community an increase in cases [of domestic violence] referred to the police and educational activities carried out.”

In 2016-2017, the Access to Justice Program reached more than 11,000 people.

“I challenge all traditional authorities to get involved in fighting domestic violence. Since every person came to this world through women, we should all have passion for them,” said the Chief. “I am extremely grateful to WiLDAF and Crossroads for bringing the Access to Justice Program to my district.”