Congratulations to our Students!
This week we’re excited to celebrate the exam results of our hard-working students from across East Africa.
“They are our best results ever, with 47 out of 49 exams passed [in Kenya] and the level of the passes is very strong. Well done to the team and students! This is certainly worth celebrating.” Alexander McLean - Founder
In Kenya 26 law students received their results from the University of London’s distance learning programme (UoL) across the subjects - from criminal to tort and property to public law. Kenya has two students who have completed their law degrees (LLB) and, once they have sat their last two modules in October, 12 more students will be completing the LLB this year.
“This was a very good performance, with Jurisprudence being the best performed subject. George Karaba, a prisoner studying in his final year at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, achieved 72% in Jurisprudence.” Brenda Ambani - Tutor, Kenya
Sheila Waruhiu, APP’s Country Director-Kenya met with Jimmy Mutawa, one of the students at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison - and after congratulating him he said “It is thanks to all our tutors. They have worked hard and we did not want to let them down.”
In Uganda, former death-row prisoner Pascal Kukuru passed all his exams. He became APP’s first student to receive a law degree from UoL in September 2017 and has been continuing his postgraduate studies to complete his Masters (LLM). Pascal remains in Luzira Upper Prison – Uganda’s only maximum security facility – and is due for release in 2019.
Another successful student at Luzira, John Bosco writes, “I got my results this morning, we have at long last made it. I am grateful for the relentless support for this long journey! Am so humbled that I lack words to express my pleasure! As of now, thanks for restoration of my hopes. I can now move with my head high as a lawyer and for those of you who have moved with me ever since the journey begun.”
Founder of APP, Alexander McLean shares his congratulations: “Our students have achieved an impressive set of exam results under challenging circumstances. This year’s results demonstrate the commitment of our students, their tutors and the rest of our team, enabling those who have the will to change to be given the opportunity to do so. We trust that this will also give them great confidence in their ability to access justice for themselves and those around them”
Achieving the Unexpected
African Prison Project currently supports almost 50 students through their Justice Changemaker Programme, in partnership with the UoL. The University’s distance learning programme has been the first step for thousands of practising lawyers around the world. Its most distinguished student - Nelson Mandela - studied from prison in South Africa and is an inspiration to us today.
“I am enthusiastic about studying law because I know that in the world we live in, it can be used as a tool for change and social transformation” Willy Mbadi, aspiring prison law student.
In many countries, prisons are under-resourced and overcrowded, with too many prisoners just awaiting trial. Kenya’s prison system officially holds 27,000 but actual figures are closer to 57,000. Many of the men and women who find themselves there are poor and uneducated, often illiterate - unable to read their own proceedings - and unable to afford the services of a lawyer. In many cases they will have to navigate the complex justice system alone.
''These are the changemakers who demonstrate that justice should no longer remain out of reach for these who need it most. They are achieving the unexpected and we’re reminded of the words attributed to Nelson Mandela - “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Alexander McLean
Our Justice Changemaker Programme
APP is committed to seeking access to justice for those who need it most. Through our Changemaker Programme we provide training, services and opportunities for prisoners and prisoner staff to grow in legal awareness, to learn how to support others, and to study as a lawyer. Prisoners and staff enrolled within our programme work under the supervision of practicing lawyers to provide free legal advice to others in the prison community. They make use of moot courts to practise their legal skills, giving them the confidence and experience they need, as well as learning how the court system works ensuring cases are well-documented and prepared for trial.
We also support prison staff with legal and human rights training, and provide secondment placements in the UK to observe and experience best practice within our own prison system.
Changemakers for Justice Reform
We believe that prisoners and prison staff can play an important role in justice reform, providing prisoners with awareness of their rights as well as advocating on their behalf. Although their circumstances are challenging, our students are committed to making the most of this opportunity. Many of them want to help those in their community who may find themselves in similar circumstances.
“Whilst our students’ resources are very limited, their determination, commitment and ambition enable them to do remarkable things.” Alexander McLean
APP believes in the dignity of every human life and in the benefit to all when a person is given an opportunity to turn their life towards a new purpose. Our commitment is to see these men and women, who have experienced the challenges of the justice system for themselves, become the ones who are empowered to ensure justice is accessible for all.