Margaret Waithera, the Officer-in-Charge of Kisii Women Prison, has appealed to the government and philanthropic organizations to establish empowerment programs for inmates at the facility. Waithera emphasized that such programs are essential for enabling female inmates to acquire skills and livelihood opportunities upon their release.

Addressing the importance of these initiatives, Waithera highlighted that a significant portion of the inmate population comprises young women aged between 18 and 35, serving short-term sentences for minor offenses. She stressed the urgency of equipping them with skills and knowledge to prevent recidivism, especially considering the economic challenges they face upon reintegration into society.

Waithera proposed the establishment of a bakery within the prison premises, allowing inmates to gain proficiency in pastry and baking skills. This, she believes, would enable them to start small-scale businesses upon release, producing bread, cakes, and scones with minimal resources.

Furthermore, Waithera called upon the Kisii Woman Representative’s office to collaborate with the prison in providing financial management training for the inmates and supporting their group activities. She emphasized the need for holistic support systems to facilitate successful reintegration into society.

The prison currently offers various programs, including beauty, weaving, tailoring, and formal education. Additionally, inmates are enrolled for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations annually, providing educational opportunities during their incarceration.

Acknowledging the efforts of partners and sponsors in celebrating and supporting the female inmates, Waithera welcomed Chess Kenya’s introduction of chess as a means of empowerment, discipline, and mental well-being improvement.

Saphinah Kenyando, the Chairperson of Chess for Schools Committee, explained that chess would offer inmates opportunities to compete in tournaments, earn certificates, and gain recognition. She encouraged the women to remain resilient, recognizing their importance as pillars of their families.

Justine Siocha, Office Manager from the Woman Representative’s office, urged the inmates to form groups and leverage support from the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) to further their initiatives.

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