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Stanbic Bank boost ICT vocational training for prison inmates in South Sudan

By Okech Francis

Inmates enrolled in Information Communication Technology vocational training at several prison facilities in South Sudan have received a boost in their learning with a donation of computers from Stanbic Bank South Sudan in partnership with the United Nations Development Program.

The twenty desktop computers come installed with a lifetime Microsoft license and a learning platform.

“The desktop computers are set to augment ICT vocational training in the Juba, Wau and Malakal central prisons, respectively, preparing the inmates for life beyond conviction,” the financial institution said in an emailed statement.

It said the donation aims to impart key digital skills to the inmates ranging from basic computer skills to advanced levels of artificial intelligence (AI) and coding as well as entrepreneurship programs.

“These computers will facilitate blended learning opportunities while also supporting existing Government programs such as VTCs to increase knowledge and in digital literacy that will benefit the whole country,” Stanbic Bank South Sudan Country Head, Andrew Murugu said during the handover ceremony at Juba Central Prison.

“This is an important milestone and is in line with Stanbic Bank’s – It Can Be – brand promise where we believe that everyone has a fair chance at a bright future if they are well equipped and prepared.”

The National Prisons Service runs a Vocational Training Centers (VTC) program with assistance from UNDP, established with support from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of General Education, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development.

Stanbic Bank described its support as “a big boost” to the program “which has been making huge strides in upskilling prisoners ready to integrate them back into society in South Sudan.”

The program runs in Juba, Wau, and Malakal central prisons where inmates and prison staff are provided with technical and livelihood skills training and opportunities to engage in economically useful activities.

The VTC program has already imparted 907 inmates, including 65 juveniles with practical skills in Agriculture, Mechanics, Plumbing, Carpentry, Tailoring, Electrical, Culinary, Computer Studies, Bakery, Hair Dressing, Building Constructions, Welding and Metal Fabrication.

197 prisons officers have also benefitted.

“Many of the inmate graduates who have been released after completing the program have either been absorbed in the job market, opted for self-employment, or been absorbed as trainers in the VTCs after undergoing the Training of Trainer’s course,” Stanbic said.

The online learning platform will enable inmates to access content and further develop their skills.

A cohort of 332 trainees is expected to graduate early this year at the Juba and Wau Training Centers while another 293 inmates and 48 officers are undergoing training in Juba, Wau and Malakal and will be graduating in the upcoming cohort, according to Stanbic.

The digital skills training they receive will foster South Sudan’s growing Digital Economy, which aims to foster innovation driven digital enterprise.

“We have leveraged the Agenda for 2030, which calls for new partnerships to further the objective of rehabilitation of prisoners, UNDP’s Dr. Samuel Doe said on behalf of the Resident Representative.

“Through this new initiative between UNDP and Stanbic Bank, we launch more support to advance entrepreneurship and leverage digital business solutions to address the reoffending challenge among young people and improve their social well-being by anchoring it in the existing partnership UNDP has with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.”

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