The Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) is a non-profit women’s advocacy group founded by Ethiopian women lawyers.
EWLA’s vision is to see a country where women are equal to men and articulates its mission as promoting the economic, political, social and legal rights of women and assist them to secure full protection of their rights under the Constitution of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and other international human rights conventions.
Women with no or limited financial capability to access legal services; mothers with the burden of taking care of children while having no money to buy bread, to provide roof over their head, to buy medicine, to send the children to school and to buy clothes; women who have been beaten, bitten, burnt, cut and degraded; girls who have been raped and sexually molested, wedded in childhood, abducted, beaten and burnt; women who have been denied of their property, their jobs and their means of income; children denied of parents, denied of support crucial for their upbringing, and denied of succession.
EWLA legal aid service is provided by 16 employees and 300 hundred volunteers with high commitment and expertise which capacities them to pinpoint the right solutions for cases handled by them. Those volunteers from disciplines other than law are intensively trained in law and serve as paralegals in areas where legal professionals are non-existent. The service the volunteers provide under the EWLA hub is priceless to the Association but it can also be expressed in monetary as well as time terms which come up to 30,000 hours of free service per year.
considering that justice will be jeopardized for women who cannot access justice sector organs due to lack of finance and information EWLA prepares all litigation papers (suits, responses, appeals, cross-appeals, affidavits) for the women to file at the court. This requires expertise in the legal field as well as other procedural and managerial skills. The types of remedies sought for the clients are various.
There have been instances where EWLA’s members or staff members go to administrative bodies when clearly stated laws are infringed. EWLA has maintained good relationship with the police and the public prosecutors in its working years.
EWLA assists women, particularly disadvantaged women, who are victims of gender-based violence free of charge. The service includes legal advice/counseling, writing court briefs (court charges and affidavits) as well as representing clients in courts.
Legal aid service is a crucial step in helping women and girls start to climb the steps to get access to legal response mechanisms and to demand their rights. Mothers and girls with pain of injustice come seeking legal aid and EWLA is the place where they get relief.
EWLA is dedicated to supporting women to exercise their political, social and economic rights. It continues to work on 3 major programs: Free Legal Aid Service, Public Education and Capacity Building as well as Legal Research and Advocacy. These help women in getting access to justice, raise awareness on women rights, GBV and legal reform at all levels throughout Ethiopia; For this reason, all of us affiliated with EWLA should take pride in what our Association has attained and the reputation that we have achieved within our country. But taking pride in whom we are and what we do does not mean that we can sit back and rest on our achievements. As an Association, we are continually evaluating and re-evaluating what we do, how we do, and why we do those things. In this regard, Call, write, e-mail, or stop by and give us your thoughts, help us make it work better. I hope you will take a few minutes to explore our website to get to know our Association better. We welcome your comments, questions, participation, and support in our journey to see a country where Women are Equal to Men.