2021 AA2J Women’s Fellowship Competition Fellows!

We are pleased to announce that the following women legal defenders have been chosen to be a part of the first generation of our AA2J Women’s Network.  These 7 AA2J Fellows will join our Fellows in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to serve as the founding members of the AA2J Women’s Network, an online transnational network of women defense lawyers leading change within their respective justice systems.

Tanzania – Maria Matui, Zambia – Mwinji Siwale, Niger – Nafissatou Alfidja, Senegal – Ramatoulaye Ba, Kenya – Enricah Dulo, Tunisia – Hend El Feki, The Ivory Coast – Carine Oupoh

The Problem: Currently, more than 700,000 women are in prison around the world. Often too poor to afford a lawyer, women and girl detainees are particularly marginalized — vulnerable to rape and other forms of gender-based violence. At the same time, women lawyers remain a minority across Africa and confront harassment, the glass ceiling, and a basic lack of professional respect including from other justice sector actors.

Our Response: The African Access to Justice Women’s Network

International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is working to establish the African Access to Justice (AA2J) Women’s Network, a new transnational network of African women defense lawyers leading change within their respective justice systems including providing pro bono defense for indigent accused women and girls. Each Fellow will launch a local Network chapter linked to a pan-African network community of women legal defenders. 

Who We Are: Founded in 2000, IBJ is a nonprofit organization that provides vulnerable accused individuals early access to a lawyer in order to prevent investigative torture and ensure due process rights. In addition to years of work in Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe, IBJ has fostered justice defenders in Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. A global justice convener, IBJ has trained a community of 31,000 legal defenders across the world who have provided legal assistance to 404,000 accused. Our online training materials have been accessed 20+ million times in over 100 countries, and we have reached 36+ million people through rights awareness campaigns.

The African Access to Justice Women’s Network is generously supported by the Swedish Postcode Foundation.

Heading Photo by Anders Wallace