Amidst the chill and greying medley of the early morning, I led my team of staff from the Optiven Group Foundation to the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. Not that any of us were going behind bars for a wrong doing but to reach out as is the clarion call of the foundation, “Eyes on the Community”.
It is on this cold August 11, 2021 that we kicked off a unique partnership with Kenya’s Top Correctional Facility. The day came just a few hours ahead of the International Youth Day 2021, under the theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”. The observation highlights the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.
Am happy to note that since 2010 the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison has been in the frontline of innovation in agriculture with the piloting of the world famous pomato. The result of this success was a great collaboration between the prison authorities, the prisoners themselves and a key stakeholder in food security KARLO – Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.
The story makes me very proud of being a Kenyan and to see what innovation can do. https://www.fairplanet.org/story/kenyan-prisoners-fight-with-super-crop/ So with these and other milestones, heres wishing you all a Happy International Youth Day 2021.
For my team and myself it was a great opportunity to encourage and motivate over 150 prison officers at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. The reality is that prison officers play an essential role in correcting those among us that take a wrong turn while existing within our society.
Yet, and undesirably so, they are often overlooked by the larger society while serving their terms and for some even after leaving the gates of the prison to go back to the society they left behind. This is the second visit to prisons that the Optiven Foundation is making inroads towards partnership with prisons in the country.
For me personally, I must admit that it was indeed a humbling experience to have the chance opportunity to interact with and also inspire the officers. Together with the team we had a one-on-one interaction with the Officer in Charge, John Koech, during which time where we discussed both the immediate and future needs of this correctional facility.
As the Chairman of the Optiven Foundation, I am pleased with this new move and partnership with Youth in Prison Africa through its Director, Amos Mutemwa. The association is making impressive headways as far as a transformation and empowerment programs for youth in our correctional facilities is concerned.
George Wachiuri is a leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group.