By Steve Chirombo – Mana.
About 30 inmates at Chikwawa Prison have graduated after attending training under Life skills for Behaviour Change Programme championed by a local Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Youth Coalition for the Consolidation of Democracy (YCD).
YCD is currently implementing a K63 million three years pilot programme in Chikwawa and other two districts to transform inmates into productive members of the society once they are released from Prison.
YCD observed that one of the factors contributing to crime in the country was lack of life skills to negotiate alternative activities to crimes amongst the youth.
“We decided to come up with a special programme called Life skills for Behaviour Change,” YCD Director Francis Folley said Sunday, adding that the programme would help the inmates to get integrated into their respective societies once they are out of prison.
The Director added that YCD consulted the inmates before deciding on what to offer them as a take home package.
“As one of the rehabilitative strategy, we asked the inmates to come up with some personal goals they want to do after their jail sentences,” he said, adding that, “YCD will provide startup capital to inmates who will be released from prison to achieve their goals in life.
One of the graduates, Justin Namphwayi commended the YCD for engaging him and other inmates in the Life skills for Behaviour Change Programme saying the training means a lot to him.
“This certificate is my great achievement as I aware that being in prison isn’t the end of life but a new beginning,” he added, while appreciating the transformative component of the programme which he said would drive him to do more entrepreneurial activities once released from prison in 2023.
Chikwawa Prison Officer In-Charge, Francis Kwapata expressed hope that YCD’s intervention would help to reduce escapees among inmates from prison.
“Most people are transformed, they accept and know why they are here unlike in the past when we had so much denial among most inmates and this resulted in registering more escapees,” he stated.
Chikwawa District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO), Rosemary Mahata commended YCD for its interventions which have seen young people transformed while in Prison.
“There could be a number of factors that enable the young people to land in prisons that include poverty, not providing enough information in managing one’s life such as the life skills,” she added.