More than 800 women are living in various “witch camps” in Ghana, after being accused of practicing witchcraft. ActionAid Ghana country director Adwoa Kwateng-Kluvitse said the charges are made usually with no proof or trial. Her group is working to make life in the camps better for the women with the hope of changing attitudes, so the women can return safely to their home villages.
“We started working with these women on empowering them as seeing themselves as people who have rights and people who can demand rights,” said Kwateng-Kluvitse. Now the group has turned to capacity building to help the women reach out to their communities and “enable these women to be able to go home safely.”
According to Kwateng-Kluvitse, most of the women in the camps fled their homes in fear after being accused of witchcraft, although some were physically abused.
“I suppose one of the stories that affected me the most was a very old vulnerable woman who said to me that she was accused of having murdered a relative and her brother used the side of a machete to slap her,” she said.
Kwatengt-Kluvitse said the women who are accused of witchcraft are often older and widowed making them socially, politically and economically vulnerable.
ActionAid Ghana first started working in the camps nearly eight years ago, when they focused on improving basic living conditions.