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Study of witchcraft accusations earns first Small Grant award from Foundation

22 Jun

A unique field study of witchcraft accusations in Ghana will receive the first award in the new Small Grants program of Foundation Beyond Belief.

Witchcraft accusations constitute a serious threat to human rights and individual safety in several regions of Africa, none moreso than Northern Ghana. Over a thousand Ghanaian women are currently detained in “witch camps” after being accused of witchcraft and expelled from their villages. A study of these camps will be undertaken by Leo Igwe, one of the most prominent and acclaimed humanists in the African continent. 

“The consequences of witchcraft accusation are dire and diverse,” says Igwe. “Those accused of witchcraft are often subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by states and non-state agents. They are feared and treated as enemies to the society. Those alleged to be witches are attacked, exiled or lynched by mobs, forced to drink concoctions by local diviners or traditional medicine men and women, subjected to abusive treatment in the name of exorcism by pastors and other god-men and women, persecuted and jailed by the states. Some of those accused of witchcraft and survive the ordeal are then exiled from their homes are forced to live in camps or on the streets. Witchcraft accusation is at the root of egregious instances of human rights abuses and social problems across many regions of Africa. They fuel hatred, conflicts, and mistrust in families and communities across Africa.”

Foundation Beyond Belief is proud to support Leo Igwe’s important work with an initial grant of $2,000, funded from our Greatest Need/Small Grants option. Beginning in July, we will also host an ongoing donation portal through which individuals may continue to support this project.

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