Bindura (Nehanda Guardian-New Ziana) – UNICAF, an online international university is in the process of engaging the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service for permission to offer a certificate programme on agro-forestry management to inmates in Mashonaland Central prisons.
The certificate will be offered through distance learning under the title Protracted Rehabilitation through Agroforestry Certificate Training for Inmate Correctional Entrepreneurship ([PRACTICE) starting in 2024.
According to the university’s vice chancellor Professor Cuthbert Katsvanga, the certificate seeks to facilitate successful rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates into society and reduce the recurrences of felonious deeds by ex-convicts by improving their livelihoods.
Crime and recidivism are so prevalent among Zimbabwean ex-convicts. This is believed to be because of economic deprivation associated with unemployment, which in turn stems from lack of employment opportunities and low levels of education and occupational skills among ex-convicts.
Presenting his papers to the prisons advisory board over the weekend, Professor Katsvanga said education and job related training made it easier for ex-convicts to re-integrate back into society and sustain their lives upon release.
“Imparting agroforestry entrepreneurship knowledge to inmates will help them to be self sufficient at the time of release.
“Most prisoners have limited education and work experience, which makes it difficult for them to secure employment upon discharge,” Prof Katsvanga said.
The training project keeps the convicts occupied so that they will not engage in drug abuse activities on their release.
“Therefore, the project will both enhance the ex-convicts’ chances to secure employment by exposing them to work related experience and giving them a certificate to prove their knowledge and capacity of doing work,” he said.
Nehanda Guardian-New Ziana