Malawi Prison Service says the introduction of various vocational skills is reducing the number of habitual offenders in prisons nationwide.
The Prison Service’s commissioner responsible for administration Dezio Makumba said this on Friday at Zomba Central Prison when the Germany Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband (DVV) International launched the Adult Learning and Education in Prisons programme in conjunction with the Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (Chreaa).
He said: “The only challenge is that only 13 percent of inmates attain vocational skills. Therefore, we pray for more support so that more inmates are trained to be independent and productive after their release from jail.”
On his part, Chreaa executive director Victor Mhango told the inmates that the skills are centred on creating business opportunities for community integration.
“When released from jail either through completion of sentences or pardon, may you invest in these skills for the country to have productive citizens that contribute to socioeconomic development,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, DVV International regional director (southern Africa) David Harrington said education is to the prisoners ability to access basic needs of life.
He said: “We fight poverty through education and also support development.”
Harrington, however, acknowledged that the skills alone may not solve the inmates problems but can help them to improve their livelihoods by providing them with better opportunities.
The programme, under which skills such as barbering, carpentry, tailoring, communication and conflict resolution are taught, targets inmates aged 18 and above to equip them with hard and soft skills that will support their lives after prison.