African Prisons Project

Coaching Skills and Train the Trainer training for Governors and Warders from African Prisons

African Prisons Project (APP) is a charity founded to improve the welfare, health and education of detainees in Africa. It works to restore dignity and hope to prisoners in Uganda and Kenya and in prisons across Africa to change the way that criminal justice issues are addressed and to empower prisoners to drive positive change.

Coaching for African Prisons Project

Jeffrey Wotherspoon and Emma Callow training Governors from African prisons in coaching skills.

In general, the conditions in African prisons are painfully poor. Many are severely overcrowded, lack sanitation and are unable to provide adequate nutrition. Access to books and education is limited or non-existent and medical facilities wholly inadequate. In Africa physical punishment and the death penalty are still widespread and for many people a prison sentence means hard labour. Police forces and prisons services are often underfunded and undertrained, and people might be imprisoned for being vagrants, debtors or criminal lunatics. The death penalty is given for witchcraft, mutiny, treason and cowardice and, in some countries, more than two thirds of prisoners have not been convicted of an offence.

In 2004 Alexander McLean, an 18 year old UK citizen volunteering in a hospital in Kampala, helped a group of prisoners in Uganda.  Alexander returned to the UK and founded the African Prisons Project to provide models for human rights, rehabilitative approach to imprisonment which can be replicated by financially limited prisons services. Alexander has received many awards including Ashoka Fellow, TIME Magazine 30 Prestigious People Under 30, TED Senior Fellow, V Inspired Legend Award, Beacon Prize for Young Philanthropy and Overall Winner, Real World Graduate of the Year and Charity Volunteer of the Year.

Through our work with the MOE Foundation we were asked to provide training in coaching skills for African Prison Governors and Warders who are seconded to the UK every year by APP to receive education in healthcare, law and various other skills that may help make prisoner’s lives better.


We provided a 3 day coaching course for the 2014 group of secondees, covering foundation coaching skills, plus a series of practical assignments to embed the learning.


After a response that the 2014 secondees considered the coach training to be the most valuable part of their learning, the 2015 secondees completed 3 days of skills plus 3 days of trainer training to enable them to teach the skills back in their prisons in Africa. We are looking forward to providing similar programmes every year.

The trainers we supply to deliver courses for the APP have graduated as coach trainers on our Trainers Pathway, through the free courses we deliver for the MOE Foundation These trainers receive a small payment from the APP for delivering the courses but apart from this, we do not charge APP for our services.


“It is with great pleasure that I bring you the best regards of all our returned cohorts of secondees, whom I’ve had the chance to meet with over the past weeks during my time in East Africa. Visiting their institutions and collecting their testimonies has once again highlighted the high value of the coaching trainings you have delivered: thank you for the precious contribution to our projects, I look forward to working with you on future Secondments. As I believe you know, all the officers collectively reported that the coaching training was an indisputable highlight of the Programme and that it really made a difference. This has only strengthened my viewpoint that your involvement in future Programmes should be absolutely confirmed and, as soon as we will have selected the final participants, I hope we can start planning for the next course together, so that it can have an even stronger impact on the secondees’ learning experience.” – Matteo Cassini, UK Learning Journey Officer, African Prisons Project

African Prisons Project works to bring dignity and hope to men, women and children in prison in Africa through healthcare, education, access to justice and community reintegration.
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