News from Alexander McLean

3 July 2012

Alexander McLean has attended the TEDGlobal Conference which was held in Edinburgh, you can read the blog about how his, and other TED fellows talks were received, here:

TED Blog – Cheers, Tears and Standing Ovations at the TED Fellows Talks:

[Posted by Monica on behalf of Alexander McLean]

Other posts by Alexander McLean

News from Alexander McLean

February 12, 2014

As we look to 2014 we look forward to a year of continuing to identify, develop and equip leaders in prisons communities. We are in the process of planning with universities which master’s degree scholarships we will offer to senior prison officers from around Africa, how many more law students we can support and which secondments we can offer to experienced African prisons staff to spend time in prisons in the UK.

Through supporting these men and women we have already seen tremendous change take place in prisons communities. In 2013 two more of the students we sponsor to study law with the University of London had their death sentences overturned. We’ve seen a law student we sponsored go from being a prisoner to a practicing advocate. Our first cohort of secondees, who came from Kenya to spend time in prisons in London in October, November and December returned to their country full of ideas they would like to implement. Our existing masters students, from the Kenyan and Nigerian prisons services, are performing well. We look forward to building on the foundation we laid for this work in 2013.

In Uganda we look forward to shortly opening the education centre we have been establishing at Gulu Prisons. This quarter we also look forward to beginning work on construction of bio gas toilets – to provide improved sanitation and cooking gas (reducing the need for wood which is costly and its overuse can contribute to deforestation) in Karamoja. Our work to train prisoners and prisons staff as literacy, human rights and health peer educators continues.

We remember those in prison in South Sudan. In 2013 we conducted significant discussions with the prisons service in that country and hope to work with them to develop leadership in the prison service of the world’s youngest country. In times of conflict prisoners are especially vulnerable and we hope you will join us in remembering them at this time.

St Teresa of Avila wrote:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
As we begin 2014 my prayer is that this year we will bring dignity and hope to more people in prisons in Africa than ever before, and in turn, see them use their gifts and skills to develop their communities and nations. Thank you for being with us to date, I hope you will continue to journey with us.

Alexander Mclean
Founder and Director General

Education Programme Update
APP Uganda has set out to carry on the Life Skills and library activities at Kasangati prison to test out the ‘remand Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) model’. The inaugural module was about violence and anger management. During the classes the inmates were asked to share their past experiences and act out a short dramas linking to the skills learnt. 18 prisoners in total participated in the drama exercise.

APP are continuing to enable prisoners to build their skills through Library activities that include, article writing and debates. On January 24th 2014, APP handed over yet another Library to Uganda Prisons service and at the same time giving out certificates to 22 prisoners and Prison Officers in Gulu who were trained as library assistants.

News from Alexander McLean

February 3, 2014

Alexander McLean features at The Times newspaper:

News from Alexander McLean

December 19, 2013

On behalf of everyone at APP, may I thank you for all the support which you have given over the past year to the work of the African Prisons Project. The support which we receive from donors, volunteers, patrons, funders and providers of pro bono assistance is crucial in enabling APP to give practical help and hope to prisoners in Africa.

Throughout 2013, your continued support has helped us to make a real difference to the lives of many inmates and prison officers in Africa.

Thanks to you, APP has been able to make great progress in our access to justice work. Throughout 2013, APP, with the support of the University of London, has continued its scholarship programme and provided 5 inmates, 2 ex-inmates and 2 prison staff with the opportunity to undertake a Diploma in the Common Law or LLB Degree in Uganda and Kenya. Despite the exceedingly challenging context; working in dark, overcrowded, noisy and squalid conditions as well as suffering illness, APP scholars have exceeded themselves in rising to meet those challenges with success. Death sentences have been overturned, as of the last month three of our students have had their death sentences overturned, education has been shared with peers and an in-prison justice centre has been established by one scholar. As we move into 2014, we will be supporting 8 inmates and 1 prison staff in Kenya with legal scholarships.

“Having spent several Christmas days as a hostage in solitary confinement I understand how difficult this time of year can be for many prisoners. Nothing can compensate for the loss of freedom experienced by those who are incarcerated and for their children it can be be very hard. By supporting this project you will at least be helping to bring some joy into the lives of those for whom life can seem very bleak indeed.” – Terry Waite CBE

2013 has also seen the launch of the Leadership Development Programme. We have welcomed the arrival of two international scholars, from Nigeria and Kenya to study a Masters degree in the UK for a year as well as the development and delivery of the professional fellowship programme for two senior Kenyan prison officers in conjunction with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. We look forward to expanding the programme in 2014 and welcoming more colleagues from across Africa.

With your support, we have conducted:
7 Library Assistant trainings at 6 prisons and one primary school in Uganda,
A total of 53 inmates and 9 prisons staff completed their training as a Library Assistant.
A total of approximately 8,000 inmates and prison staff made use of APP library facilities in 2013.
In partnership with Book Aid International and the Besom, APP has also managed a library construction project at Gulu Central Prison in Northern Uganda. APP looks forward to the official opening of the library, which will have a total of 4,500 books, 20 APP trained Library Assistants and a Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) programme, in January 2014.

Throughout 2013, APP continued to support the HIV positive inmates on Death Row in Luzira with nutritional support. There are currently 45 inmates in the ‘post-test club’ receiving monthly food supplements. In 2014 APP wants to do more. We aim to support the healthcare needs of inmates through training prisons officers as basic healthcare service providers to prisoners and the wider prison community. Come 2014, APP will also be implementing a pilot sanitation project at Namalu prison, in Karamoja district. The project, which is the installation of a bio gas toilet system, will reach over 700 inmates and prison staff. Not only will this mean a safer and more dignified prison environment, it will also mean a more sustainable source of energy in the prison, as inmates can cook using bio gas as opposed to expensive fire wood.
With its very limited resources APP is making a real impact in the areas of health, education and access to justice for African prisoners. In 2014, we want to do more.

News from Alexander McLean

September 9, 2013

African Prisons Project Extends Its Reach: Twenty Prisons in Eight Districts
African Prisons Project started life as a solitary, incidental idea that eventually became a reality first in one prison and then another both in Uganda and beyond.
When I joined the organisation last year, we were present in about ten prisons mainly centred around Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
In the course of the year, through hard graft and the goodwill and commitment of staff, volunteers, trustees, partners and, importantly, our funders, we have taken apart our working practices, examined ourselves internally, re-set our goals and objectives and finally arrived at an invigorated organisation with a different outlook and method of operation.
That is not all that has changed about us in the course of the year. Indeed, it is probably as a result of this rebirth that we are now no longer just in a handful of prisons centred around one or two districts. Today APP Uganda is an entity with a presence within twenty prisons across eight districts of Uganda, from the Central Region to the North and looking for expansion to the East and the West in the next year.
In 2013 we have completed the transformation from being a solitary idea to coming one step closer to being an entity with a solitary purpose: the provision of dignity and hope to men, women and children across Uganda and beyond.

Prayer request from Alexander McLean

August 2, 2013

This month has seen APP enter eight more prisons in Apac and Oyam Districts where we also rolled-out our Access to Justice and Healthcare Programmes. Please join me now in celebrating APP being in twenty prisons within five districts of Uganda!

Learn more about African Prison Project:

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