Khadi OUEDRAOGO SY, BURKINA FASO
“Equality between men and women is a utopia if you have no means. This is the case for most women in detention since a majority of them have no income or are dependent on their spouses”
Ms. Khadi Ouedraogo Sy has a Bachelors in Business Law and is today the Executive Director of: “ La Société de Recouvrement de Créances” in Ouagadougou and Deputy Director of a construction and public works company. Having herself been a victim of arbitrary detention and witnessing the deplorable sanitary conditions in the House of Corrects of Ouagadougou, the idea came to her to humanize prison conditions by improving toilet facilities, providing better food, and improving access to medicine. These actions, together with legal assistance, are the focus of her project.
The challenge: In Burkina Faso, the central issue linked to the lack of proper legal representation for detainees is poverty. The majority of incarcerated women do not have the money to ask for a lawyer or legal representation. Moreover, poverty also leads to a worsening of detention conditions and leads to an endless fight to have food, access to a doctor and to survive.
Project: Women and African Prisons
Khadi’s project “ Women and African Prisons” has two components. The first component is to modernize the prisons and thus improve the living conditions for incarcerated women. Specifically, sanitary conditions will be improved through the construction of decent toilets and showers, a nursery and kindergarten will be set up for children whose mothers are in prison and prisoners will be assisted with better access to food and medicine. To facilitate detainees’ economic reintegration into society, a small shop will be set up where goods handcrafted by detained mothers will be sold.
The second component is to provide legal assistance through a network of volunteer lawyers and to create a monitoring unit and a watching room at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Ouagadougou. In this way, detained women who would otherwise not have access to a lawyer will be provided with legal counsel and advice. The ultimate objective is to create lasting bridges between lawyers, the prosecutor’s office and prisoners.