Creating a cadre of people with knowledge and skills for their persona, professional growth, and to become a benefit to their communities in preparation for Life after Imprisonment has been a key highlight in our work with Uganda Prisons Service. Under the Improving the Economic Resilience of West Nile Youth in the Face of Covid-19 action, training of prison inmates in entrepreneurship and life skills was organized from 12th to 23rd April, 2021 for 100 prison inmates (45F, 55M) from Arua Main, Arua Women, Nebbi prison and Paidha prison including 4 long timers as peer educators to other inmates. The trainings were held within the respective prison premises and conducted by the trained Prison Social Workers (PSW) under close supervision and monitoring by the Officers in Charge, the Regional Prisons Commander (RPC).
During the training, female inmates from Arua Women prison appreciated the discussions on self-analysis and creativity, which encouraged them to be self-reliant and hardworking. In addition, they also appreciated the topic on communication skills as they intend to apply it in their businesses as a good dialogue between the business owner and the customer is a means of increasing the number of customers. The young female inmates noted that they now have more confidence and courage and are able to engage in income generating activities to avoid returning to prison.
On 29th April, during the graduation of inmates, the RPC North West Region Mr. Natwaluma Henry, highlighted a delay in the court system and the need for continued efforts in the rehabilitation program for prison inmates. He encouraged inmates to use the time in prison to reflect and utilize such skills training programs to become ambassadors of change after their release and reintegrated into their communities. Other duty bearers present included DCDO Zombo district, Officers in Charge of Nebbi, Paidha and Zombo prison units.
‘As a fisherman, I spent most of the money I earned on drinking alcohol because of stress. I have now gained knowledge on better ways to deal with stress and how to save money. When I finish my sentence, I will focus on building a popcorn business’. Ezama Abibu, a 30-year-old graduate from the training on Life and Entrepreneurship skills at Arua Main Prison.