Product of Prison (POP) | Sarah Buchanan

15-08-2016 

This week we were given a presentation by Product of Prison during CMI training. The talk was highly engaging and very informative on the work that POP does across Uganda.

Product of Prison is a Dutch NGO operating in Uganda that provides skills to inmates in 7 prisons across Uganda. Their focus is on the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners back into society upon the completion of their sentence.

Prisoners usually have few to no prospects of finding employment after jail and so are much more likely to redrawn into the cycle of poverty and reoffending. Product of Prison aims to equip inmates with vocational skill and knowledge and behaviour training to stop this from happening. So far POP has been active for 6 years and helped 3600 prisoners to improve their lives upon returning to their communities. POP’s vision is that prisoners carry out their sentence in a service where their human rights are respected and are treated in a humane manner. All the while their time in detention should be used to acquire the necessary skills for reintegration and life outside of prison.

POP operates across Uganda in both Men and Women’s prisoners in Kampala, Gulu and Jinja. Their vocational training courses include:

  • Candle making workshop in Remand Prison, Kampala
  • Recycling art courses in Remand Prison, Kampala
  • A tailoring workshop in Gulu Women’s Prison (This program has a rehabilitation centre in Gulu town and products are sold in a local shop)
  • Hair Salon, Lira Town (It is often difficult to attract customers here as they cannot bring phones and there is still a negative stigma surrounding prisoners)
  • Paper Bead Jewellery Making, Jinja Men’s Prison
  • Glass Bead Club, Upper Prison Kampala

These courses are set up to provide the prisoners with business and craft skills that would enable them to set up their own small business upon leaving prison. They are also paid for each item that is sold in shops and through the NGO which gives them a little income to afford food and materials once back in their community.

Vocational skills are further enhanced by knowledge training sessions that occurs at all locations. These include career, reintegration and computer skills. Wellbeing and enhancement training is also provided at multiple locations, this includes yoga and break dance classes and an annual sports tournament to educate the prison guards in keeping the inmates active and healthy.

More information on POP can be found at the following links:

http://productofprison.org/

https://web.facebook.com/productofprison/

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