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Puntland Women Lawyers Association

Puntland Women Lawyers Association is an organisation that had visible impact in communities in Puntland region in the aspect of legal services and access to justice for women which changed the status quo. Through PUWLA, Puntland women seek legal aid for cases of abuse, neglect, rape, and other crimes. It is often said that Somali culture stigmatizes women who go to court to file a complaint about a male perpetrator be it her husband, brother, cousin, or even a stranger despite the fact that it is a right on Islamic law and Somali constitution. In this culture, the woman is supposed to go through her clan membership which requires following a hierarchy by first going to her male relative or traditional elder who in turn would reach out to the traditional elder of the male perpetrator. But this changed with PUWLA free services because women are seeking the protection of the law. This is a seed of human energy which grew from the community itself to flourish into becoming an organization that provides free legal aid services to women in order to advance women`s legal rights and access to justice in Puntland. The movement started when female graduates from the Faculty of Law of one of the local universities decided to combine their human energy to provide services to the community using their legal skills and as a result they established an initiative to provide free legal services to the community.