Kumasi, 28 April 2018. The Kufuor Scholars Program has launched the Cell Not Hell project at the forecourt of the Kumasi Central Prisons. The project was initiated by fellows of the Scholars Program, the flagship program of the John A. Kufuor Foundation.

The initiative by the young scholars aims to upgrade the educational facilities within Ghana’s prisons to enhance their academic activities. It also seeks to advocate for better living and health conditions of inmates.

The project is premised on the belief that prison cells are not meant to be hell but a place for the reformation of inmates, hence, the name; Cell Not Hell. Conditions in prisons should make direct positive impact on inmates.

The visit to the prison follows an earlier one in March to conduct a needs assessment. The assessment revealed that the prison was in dire need of educational and learning materials. The KSP scholars decided to intervene by donating teaching and learning materials to ease the challenges that encumbered the education of the inmates.

The Kumasi Central Prison has operated both basic and second cycle schools for the past five years, and inmates have achieved tremendous successes. They have recorded a 100 percent pass rate in both BECE and WASSC, most of them with high aggregates of 06 and 08 in these two competitive examinations respectively.

The laudable achievements of inmates are in spite of the fact that they are allowed just about four 4 hours in school daily. Notwithstanding the high academic achievement, the prisoners lacked the necessary teaching and learning materials to enhance their education.

The main speaker and chairman of the occasion was the Ashanti Regional commander DDP Nelson Duut. In attendance were Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, CEO of the Foundation and special guest of honour; CSP Martin Anku Blame (O.I.C education), DSP Richard Bukari (P.R.O of Ashanti Regional Command) amongst other personnel of the command present. Staff and scholars from the Foundation, the media and invited guests were all present to grace the occasion.

CSP Martin Anku Blame (O.I.C education) gave the welcome address where he spoke about the history of the school, their achievements, setbacks and made appeals to society to support the running of the prison.

 

The chairman of the occasion, Regional commander DDP Nelson Duut was full of praise and gratitude to the Cell Not Hell team for their generosity. He urged the group not to relent in continuing to support the Prison Service. DDP Duut called on other civil society group to emulate the example of the KSP scholars.

The President of the Cell Not Hell, Ms. Elorm Bona -Mensah explained their objectives and threw light on the prospects of the initiative. She urged the youth of Ghana to be good citizens and not spectators to nation building as no effort was too small. She also called on the government to attend to the needs of the prison service and admonished all and sundry to support the good initiative of the Cell Not Hell project.

The Special Guest of Honor, Prof Baffour Agyeman-Duah expressed pride and excitement about the initiative by the Kufuor Scholars. “They are already showing leadership, just as the Foundation expects them to be,” he said. Referring to former President Kufuor’s vision for effective leadership to catalyze good governance and socioeconomic development, Prof. Agyeman-Duah advised young people to groom themselves “because leadership does not drop from the heavens; it is acquired. You should prepare for it.” He assured the prison officials that the Cell Not Hell will be a continuous project to be carried out by the Kufuor Scholars. He also encouraged the scholars to keep up the good works, assuring the Foundation’s readiness to provide all the necessary support.

Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah, C.E.O of JAK Foundation presents items to the Prison Services

After the donation was made, the scholars and invited guests were given a guided tour of the facility and got the opportunity to interact with some inmates. The tour was a sobering experience. Meeting people behind bars and seeing their living conditions, the scholars reflected on how best they could expand the initiative to become more useful to the Prison Service.