An organization dubbed Green World is engaging prisoners in various correctional facilities within the country in tree planting activities to help them have an economic activity once they are released.
The organization whose aim is to empower communities through Agri-business and environmental conservation also runs various rehabilitation programs for inmates in a number of prisons.
The General Secretary, Green World, Isaac Otieno who spoke at G.K Prison Homa Bay today during a tree planting ceremony to commemorate World Environment Day, said they chose to work in prisons to empower prisoners so that once they are released, they would have an occupation to sustain them as they turn the page.
“The organization decided to work in prisons so that we can engage inmates in a way that they can feel they are part of the society for the purpose of integration. We felt the need to empower them especially when they are released after completing their terms,” he said.
He added that the empowerment would be in a way that the trees planted by the prisoners would, at maturity be sold as poles to companies like Kenya Power and Lighting and other interested entities and the money accrued would be directed in the pockets of the prisoners.
“We are going to plant eucalyptus trees which three years from now will generate income after being sold as poles. The money would be directed to the pockets of the inmates so that after serving their terms, it will help them start their lives afresh,” Otieno noted.
So far, the organization is working with prisoners in Chuka prison in Meru, Taita Taveta prison, Kamiti Maximum Prison, Industrial area, Kendege in Kehancha and Kibos prisons.
The organization is planning to plant 1 million trees by December this year. 120,000 seedlings are projected to be planted in Homa Bay between today and tomorrow.
The prisoners will also benefit from poultry farming which is however yet to be rolled out by Green World. It will soon be rolled out in Homa Bay before starting in other prisons.
Nyandoro Josiah, County Director National Environment Management Authority who was also present during the event said the move was to rehabilitate environmental areas which have been degraded by human activities.
He said that trees are very important both socially and economically, adding that they can be sold for money, help in reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere through carbon sequestration and are also habitats for various organisms.