“This had to be the most exciting day yet. It was all pomp and colour with everyone in their elegant dinnerwear ready to go for the ICPA Correctional Excellence Awards Ceremony. But no one was more enchanting than our very own Damaris (from RWI) who was donned in her traditional Maasai regalia. She was like the prom queen and people couldn’t get enough photos together with her!”
“The awards ceremony was to be held at the grandiose, magnificent, and outrageously humongous Palace of the Parliament. Just to give you some perspective, this historic building is the second largest administrative building in the world after the Pentagon in the United States and also the third biggest building in the world! It has quite some history about it but I won’t delve into that, just to say that our hosts made an apt choice in having the highlight of the ICPA conference held at this beautiful venue.
“The Correctional Excellence Awards honour outstanding contributions and performance in various fields of corrections. The KPS/RWI partnership had been nominated in the Management and Staff Training category, based on our work together on practical implementation of the international human rights standards for corrections.”
“As part of this, we were asked to submit information about the achievements that have happened under the partnership and in particular, all the independent work that has been done by the amazing KPS Human Rights Officers and their respective Officers in Charge across the country, following training on the Mandela Rules under the programme.
“Hundreds of independent actions have now been carried out by KPS officers, demonstrating that increased compliance with international standards doesn’t necessarily have to cost money, and that even small changes can make conditions in prisons better and staff empowered to do their work in a more professional manner.
“Knowing that we were up for the award, it was definitely a night to look forward to, although with a tinge of anxiety….which turned quickly to joy when we heard the ICPA Executive Director call out for KPS and RWI to come on stage and receive the award! It was such a proud moment for all the hard work that has been done in the partnership, and being recognised at such an international platform was really gratifying.”
“Of course the night couldn’t end without breaking a sweat to some song and dance courtesy of our hosts. And it was a well deserved moment. To all the KPS officers who are out there trying to make a difference…this award is for you! You should all be proud of this! To RWI, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU FOR WALKING THIS JOURNEY WITH US!!!!”
Dennis Mungo is an officer of the Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) who currently serves as coordinator of the Human Rights Office at KPS Headquarters, and is closely involved with the longstanding cooperation between KPS and RWI. This week he is blogging from the annual conference of the International Corrections and Prisons Association in Bucharest, which RWI is attending together with KPS to exchange experiences on practical implementation of the Mandela Rules and other human rights standards for corrections.