Peer counseling is a very important area of capacity development especially in prison because client’s go through a wide range of psychological stress and are faced by stressing factors ranging from the lack of freedom, legal challenges, guilt, shame, lack of self-esteem, loss of loved one’s while in Prison and sometimes harsh prison conditions. Looking at the psychosocial challenges in highly populated Prisons, the environment has high levels of conflict within the Prisons between officers to Inmates and inmates to inmates.
The program focuses on the development of crisis intervention skills, helping to clarify problems, acquiring skills in personal development and learning about drugs, alcohol, sexual and reproductive health, crime and legal issues, behavior change, and the services which are available to prisoners who are experiencing difficulty. The peer counseling program offers opportunities for participants to learn by doing, acquire personal development skills, talk about their own issues, heal and be ready to help their peers. The peer counseling program and trainings also offers an opportunity for participants in particular sessions to share their knowledge.
The Objectives of the program are as follows:
- To train selected prisoners in using helping skills so that they help their peers address problems and cope with psycho social crisis in prison
- To equip the participants with appropriate communication and counseling skills
- To enable participants become more self-aware of their own attitudes, beliefs and values
- To discuss psycho social issues affecting prison inmates
- To provide a personal growth experience.
This year, we have had sessions at Langata Women Prison, Kitengela prison and will do the same in Naivasha and Manyani Prisons before the end of the year.