The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) was established under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. It is the national organization for the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights and administrative justice in Ghana. CHRAJ has hundreds of offices throughout the country that work to protect the rights and freedoms of Ghanaians by handling reports filed with the Commission and investigating alleged violations of human rights and abuse of power. CHRAJ is also responsible for public education on human rights and anti-corruption throughout the country and the Commission also prepares investigative reports on human rights issues throughout the country such as reports on conditions in prisons, the juvenile detention system, and conditions in witch camps in the Northern part of Ghana.
I began working for CHRAJ at the Western Regional office in Takoradi, where I was to assist in the investigations and mediations of human rights cases. I was also asked to conduct a comprehensive report on child prostitution within the region and establish a program to rehabilitate child prostitutes. I was asked to design the program, gather data, begin a fundraising campaign. I was begin work and help establish a program that would truly assist children forced into prostitution. To my dismay, however, I did not assist in any investigations or mediations at the office in Takoradi. Although I am aware of the cultural differences that can affect the work environment, the work atmosphere I encountered in Takoradi can not solely be explained by culture. I rarely saw my co-workers engage in work or carry out the mandate of the Commission and there was no assistance in the research of child prostitution or in the establishment of the fund.
After working in this environment for two weeks and attempting to speak with my supervisors about their expectations, as well as mine, I decided that it would be better if I would transfer to another office of the Commission that needed my help. It was a very difficult to make the decision to transfer. I did not want to abandon my committment to the Commission nor disappoint the law school in any way by transfering, however I thought it would be in the best interest of the Commission and myself if I would transfer. I wanted to assist the Commission in its daily functions as much as possible and conduct quality research and this was more of a possibility if I transferred. So after three weeks in Takoradi I transferred to Cape Coast and began working at the Central Regional office of CHRAJ.
I have been working at the new office for a few days and love it. I have already assisted in three mediations and have discussed the research on child prostitution with my supervisor and he is providing me with all the resources available to conduct this research. I am excited about the new possibilites at the office and for the first time since I have arrived in Ghana I feel that I can truly make a difference.