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 holds a Bachelors in Business Law and today is the Executive Director of: “ La Société de Recouvrement de Créances” in Ouagadougou and Deputy Director of a construction and public works company. Having been a victim of arbitrary detention and witnessing the deplorable sanitary conditions in the House of Corrections 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, poverty and lack of proper legal representation for are inextricably linked. The majority of incarcerated women do not have the money for 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” seeks to modernize the prisons and improve the living conditions for incarcerated women. Specifically, sanitary conditions through the construction of decent toilets and showers, nursery and kindergarten set up for children whose mothers are incarcerated as well as assistance 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.
Additionally the project seeks 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.