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Women’s empowerment has become a critical and increasingly prominent issue in the Ghanaian society. The inclusion and active participation of women in all aspects of society are crucial for the overall progress and well-being of communities and nations.

To add meaning to the above proclamation, the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) with support from the Ford Foundation has taken steps to equip over 15 women activists in mining-affected communities in the northern part of the country with paralegal education to help them deal with issues relative to women’s rights in their communities.

The move was to provide basic legal knowledge and skills in the law to the activists for they to serve as focal and referral persons in their respective communities to provide cost-effective legal assistance to their community members.

The participants, including male activists, were taken through the minerals and mining laws of Ghana, rights of communities in terms of their engagement with the government for the release of area for mining, revenue streams as provided under the Mineral and Mining Act, determination of compensation, mining licenses among other important topics

A few months after the exercise, one of the beneficiaries of CEPIL’s Paralegal Training, Kuri Muniratu Yahaya, from Bulenga in the Upper West Region recounts how the training has had a positive impact on the way she conducts herself in her community.

Ms Yahaya noted, “Cepil has done a great job, it has made a great impact on me and my community as well. For the first time, I did not attend Cepil’s workshop, there were a lot of issues that were hindering in my mind but for now, I am enlightened and I am also able to enlighten the community members about happenings in the mining sector. ”

She added that. “At first we women used to have a lot of issues with human rights violations, child abuse, and the rest… but for now, we are able to solve it through Cepil’s intervention.

She confessed that until she took part in the paralegal training organized by CEPIL, she had zero knowledge of resettlement and issues of compensation but she now understands and is able to use the knowledge for advocacy.

“At first, we didn’t know about compensation and settlement issues but as a result of the paralegal training we received from Cepil. We have made our people understand that if you own a land and it is being taken over for mining activities you have a right for resettlement and compensation,” she stated.

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