Healthcare …

The training of 16 Prison Peer Educators (PPEs) from prisons in Oyam and Apac ignited a fire of change and lifestyle transformation in the prison communities in these two districts, creating significant impact in less than two months. The PPEs were trained to use the J-IC model to hold health awareness sessions in prisons amongst fellow inmates

Lillian  (in center) conducting a J-IC session on sanitation
Lillian (in center) conducting a J-IC session on sanitation

The Join-in-Circuit (JiC) training model, designed by the German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation (GiZ) utilises pictorial illustrations to educate participants on a wide range of subjects.  The training that took place between 21st and 24th March 2016, covered health related topics including; Sanitation (Clean water, clean me, healthy me), HIV ways of transmission, Sexually Transmitted Illnesses (STIs), Contraception and Positive Living, as well as lifestyle subjects including Anger management, Parenthood and Domestic Violence.

6 weeks after the training, reports from prison authorities, prisoners and the PPEs resonated the same thing-J-IC sessions have inspired change in the prison community! The PPEs have become pioneers of change in their prison communities and are being recognised as influential leaders. Lillian Chebet, one of the PPEs was very timid and quiet during the first training session, hesitant to say anything. It is an inspiration to the trainers to watch her evolve into an influential educator for her peers. “Previously, I did not think I could stand before a big number of people and speak with confidence about health. The J-IC training gave me the golden opportunity to conduct sessions for my inmates. My confidence has continually grown since I started holding these sessions in the women’s prison in Oyam.”

Ms Harriet Alum. PVHT Oyam Prison
Ms Harriet Alum. PVHT Oyam Prison

Ms Alum Harriet is a Prison Officer and trained Prison Village Health Team member in Oyam Prison. She was in charge of escorting the trainees to the J-IC training venue and she had the chance to watch the prisoners learn and grow confident in conducting the sessions amongst their peers.

Here is what she had to say about the impact of the sessions when we spoke with her in early May, about 5 weeks following the training.

“The J-IC method is very informative and educative because it applies to a wide range of topics which reflects the reality in the community. It also involves the use of pictures which makes the sessions interactive and interesting.

Since we started sensitizing the inmates using the J-IC method, we have realised tremendous changes in Oyam Prison community, for example; in the women’s section, they used to cook in an untidy and dirty place but since we had the session on hygiene and sanitation, the prisoners have resolved to clean the cooking area before they start cooking every meal. Additionally, soap has been introduced near the toilet such that whoever leaves the toilet washes her hands before touching anything else and this was not the case before the introduction of the J-IC sessions in the prison.

The prisoners’ health has also generally improved in both the male and female sections. Before we started having J-IC sessions, there were frequent outbreaks of hygiene and sanitation related illnesses like diarrhoea which affected many prisoners in the male section but after the hygiene and sanitation sessions were conducted, these illnesses have reduced, which implies that the inmates are taking the message delivered very seriously.

The sessions on living positively have really eased our work as PVHTs because the prisoners are now coming out willingly to disclose their HIV status to us so we can assist them access their medication.”