Give Hope This Christmas

GET INVOLVED

Because Christmas is an especially difficult time to be separated from family, UP Zambia carries out special celebration with teens during this period. In 2018, we hope to celebrate with 550+ teens in eight facilities across Zambia, (Lusaka, Livingstone, Kazangula, Mazbuka, Kabwe, Kitwe and Ndola.) Help us make the holidays happy by donating the following items:

 

HYGIENE & LIVING

  • Soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, facecloths

  • New or second hand t shirts, trousers and slippers/flip flops

  • Bedding mattresses, mosquito nets, brooms & cleaners

FOOD

  • Cash donations or supplies for hot meals & fresh fruits

  • Cake, candy, biscuits, crisps, & bottled juice/soft drinks

EDUCATION & RECREATION

  • Books, text books, exercise books, pens, pencils

  • Board games & card games, chess, draughts sets

  • Footballs, volleyballs, basketballs, sports kits

  • Cash donation for trip fuel/accommodation/logistics

 BANK DETAILS

First National Bank (FNB) Zambia, Commercial Branch
Account Name: Undikumbukire Project Zambia Limited
Bank Account No: 62632186872
Swift: FIRNZMLX
Lusaka, Zambia

 

Please visit www.upzambia.org/donate or contact us at 0973090759

Lusaka PLEED Change Project – Monitoring & Evaluation Internship

Lusaka PLEED Change Project: Undikumbukire Project Zambia (UP Zambia) is partnering with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) as part of the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Enhanced Justice Delivery (PLEED) to carry out the Lusaka PLEED Change Project. This Change Project will operate legal desks within two correctional facilities within Lusaka, providing services to juveniles, men, and women, focusing on vulnerable populations. Phase 2 of the Change Project will run from October 2018 to January 2019.

Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Intern Description: The M&E Intern will assist the Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor to collect information and data on the casework being carried out by the Legal Desks across three correctional facilities. The internship is part time with the intern working a minimum of three days per week. The M&E Intern will report to the Monitoring & Evaluation Advisor.

Responsibilities:

-       Visiting the legal desks to assist with data collection

-       Compiling data generated by the legal desk using various data collection tools

-       Preparing data-based reports on the activities of the Legal Desks

-       Performing any other duties and services as may from time to time be communicated to you by the M&E Advisor or Executive Director

 

Qualifications:

-       Student or Graduate in statistics, economics, or related field

-       Available to work three days per week

-       Experience with Microsoft Excel

-       Experience working with data collection and data sets is a plus

Application:

Application period has ended.

Lusaka PLEED Change Project – Staff Attorney Job Description

Lusaka PLEED Change Project: Undikumbukire Project Zambia (UP Zambia) is partnering with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) as part of the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Enhanced Justice Delivery (PLEED) to carry out the Lusaka PLEED Change Project. This Change Project operates legal desks within three correctional facilities within Lusaka, providing services to juveniles, men, and women, focusing on vulnerable populations. Limited legal representation will be provided to clients from the legal desks. Phase 2 of the Change Project will run from October 2018 to January 2019.

Staff Attorney Description:  The Staff Attorney will be providing legal representation primarily for juvenile defendants in the courts of law. The Staff Attorney will work a minimum 30 hours per week, though attendance at all court dates is mandatory. The Staff Attorney will report to the Court Assistance Team Leader and the Project Manager. Compensation will be K7000 gross per month. Contract offered will be short-term from October 2018 to January 2019.

Responsibilities:

-       Attending and providing representation at all trials in the Lusaka Courts involving juveniles and attending to all court processes;

-       Drafting and reviewing legal documents;

-       Conducting research on areas of law which are relevant to the cases you are working on;

-       Providing bi-monthly progress reports to the Court Assistance Team Leader, Director of Legal Interventions and Project Manager; and

-       Performing such duties and providing such services as may from time to time be communicated to you by the Court Assistance Team Leader or Project Manager.

Qualifications:

-       Advocate of the High Court

-       Proven record of pro bono work

Application:

Application period has ended.

Lusaka PLEED Change Project – Legal/Migration Internships

Lusaka PLEED Change Project: Undikumbukire Project Zambia (UP Zambia) is partnering with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) as part of the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Enhanced Justice Delivery (PLEED) to carry out the Lusaka PLEED Change Project. This Change Project will operate legal desks within two correctional facilities within Lusaka, providing services to juveniles, men, and women, focusing on vulnerable populations. Phase 2 of the Change Project will run from October 2018 to January 2019.

Legal Intern Description: Legal Interns will be assigned to legal desk within a specific correctional facility focusing on a specific population. The internships are part time with the intern working a minimum of three days per week. The Legal Interns will report to the Team Leader over their assigned facility.

Migration Intern Description: Migration Interns will be assigned to legal desk within a specific correctional facility focusing on providing assistance to inmates who are in custody due to immigration issues. The internships are part time with the intern working a minimum of three days per week. The Migration Interns will report to the Team Leader over their assigned facility.

Responsibilities:

-       Providing legal advice and training to inmates from a legal desk to which you will be assigned in the correctional facilities;

-       Completing inmate intake forms and preparing and studiously implementing case plans for each case;

-       Making the necessary follow-ups in respect of legal cases;

-       Drafting legal documents for the cases handled by the legal desk;

-       Conducting research on areas of law which are relevant to the cases you or the legal interns your supervise are working on;

-       Engaging with stakeholders on key issues arising out the legal desks;

-       Ensuring that all case information is properly entered onto the physical file and online case management system;

-       Providing weekly progress reports to the Team Leader and ensuring that all documents drafted are reviewed by the Team Leader; and

-       Performing such acts and providing such services as may from time to time be communicated to you by the Team Leader or Executive Director

-       Interns assigned to the Juvenile Legal Desks will also be involved with contacting or locating the Juveniles’ guardians and ensuring that they attend court and understand the proceedings.

 

Qualifications:

-       Studied Law or Human Rights: Diploma Level Graduate or Bachelor Level Student or Graduate (This internship is not an attachment and therefore is not available to students at ZIALE or who have completed ZIALE)

-       Available to work three days per week

Application:

Application period has ended.

Thoughts on Kabwe Medium Prison: Fallon Seitz

Kabwe Medium Prison facility: an oasis south of the Sahara, where justice is relatively enjoyable. Compared to the congested—and downright inhumane—prisons of the city, Kabwe Medium was a model of responsible imprisonment. The children were very polite and took pride in keeping their quarters clean. They also took pride in playing chess, which was the ostensible reason for UP Zambia’s visit. Apparently, the juveniles play chess every night. Some had been at Kabwe Medium for four years, so they had become pretty good. The interns lost every time.

 

So the chess was a smashing success, and the prison conditions were reasonable: a bed for every kid, no contagious skin infections, a teacher who cared about mentoring his pupils, a garden the prisoners could actually eat from, and enough space to play football. Unfortunately, the interminable detainments were familiar. Some juveniles who couldn’t afford bail informed us that they had been on remand for over three years; they might receive a reform school sentence and not have their time-served recognized. But that’s not a strike against the prison facility, it’s a failure stemming from the backlogged judiciary.

 

America has a legal doctrine called eminent domain, where the government requires citizens to sell their property to the government at market value. This practice creates the space to build necessary roads and structures.

 

It seems Lusaka Central Prison could benefit from a small eminent domain expansion to provide more space for the prisoners and a bigger buffer between the community and the prisoners. As it stands today, the community is in the backyard, close enough for a prison guard to do business with the citizens. Lusaka Central Prison could also benefit from a larger garden. The Kabwe kids regularly nibbled the leafy greens, while the Lusaka kids have a strict diet of cornmeal.

 

Lastly, the Kabwe kids had a clear leader, their disciplined teacher. The kids didn’t litter or else they would hear an earful from their teacher. Good men need to step up and provide the juveniles of Zambia a father figure. Of course, when so many basic necessities are absent, it may seem impossible to impart good habits in a place so void of order.

 

As the Kabwe community choir was singing under a tree in the distance, I felt something that I hadn’t often felt when visiting other prisons—hope. When all of the basic needs are met the imagination can wander. In that regard, the rehabilitative potential of Kabwe Medium rivals the best prisons in the world. Spacious, green and humble.

Remember Me: Paul

In this new series, we explore many of the stories of the young people we serve. All too often, juveniles in the Zambian justice system are forgotten and left to face prison and legal proceedings alone. UP Zambia was created to ensure that these children's stories are heard and that they don't experience an uncertain future that they are unprepared to face. Thanks to UP Zambia, these are stories of hope.

Real Paul Screenshot.jpg

Paul went to a local restaurant to watch a soccer match when he was approached by an older man who asked him to take a little money to go and buy cell phone minutes. Paul did as he was asked but had a difficult time finding a seller. When he finally managed to purchase the minutes, the game was nearly over. When he returned the man became enraged and accused Paul of attempting to steal his money. The older man became physical and soon a fight broke out. When police arrived on the scene the man accused Paul of stealing 1000 kwacha (nearly $100) even though no money could be found during the search. It became apparent that the older man was simply angry with Paul after the fight and wanted him to suffer a harsher penalty. 

The police sided with the older man and arrested Paul. He pleaded not guilty to the charge of aggravated robbery and the case was adjourned for trial. Paul was held at Lusaka Central prison for more than 2 months awaiting court sessions. Although his parents were alerted right away, the charge of aggravated robbery is a non-bailable offense, meaning Paul was forced to stay in prison throughout the process. He was housed in the adult population in one of the most overcrowded facilities in Lusaka where it is not uncommon for more than 70 adult males to occupy one small sleeping space the size of a typical bedroom. Paul was denied proper healthcare, nutrition, and education during his incarceration and reported routine beatings by guards along with other harassment.

Eventually, the adult complainant attempted to withdraw the charges but was ignored by the court. At this point, UP Zambia was made aware of the situation and proceeded to aid Paul and his family in throwing out the case. Due to lack of witnesses and testimony by police, his court dates were continually delayed. Eventually, when the arresting officer again refused to appear in court, another officer attempted to give testimony but had not been present during the arrest and knew very little about the case. Although, it was readily apparent that Paul's case should be adjourned, the courts continued to delay judgement and he was held for several more weeks before being found not guilty. Paul was reunited with his family and has since dedicated himself to helping better the lives of juveniles in prison.

Unfortunately, Paul's story is far too common. Children and teens are regularly held without bail on charges with little evidence. Minors are more vulnerable to false allegations and corruption by police given scant resources and diminished ability to defend themselves within the justice system. Luckily, UP Zambia was able to bridge that gap for Paul and his family and helped give hope and support to him in prison.

You can hear more about Paul's experience in UP Zambia's latest video series where we explore how the failings of the juvenile justice system can disrupt young lives. Find other stories and videos by subscribing to UP Zambia's YouTube Channel!

Post by Carrie Russpatrick

Remember Me: Tyrone, Terrence, and Eric

In this new series, we explore many of the stories of the young people we serve. All too often, juveniles in the Zambian justice system are forgotten and left to face prison and legal proceedings alone. UP Zambia was created to ensure that these children's stories are heard and that they don't experience an uncertain future that they are unprepared to face. Thanks to UP Zambia, these are stories of hope.

Boys feet.jpg

Tyrone, Terrence, and Eric were three young teenagers living in Lusaka when they were approached one day by Drug Enforcement Officers who asked the boys to accompany them to the local police station to serve as witnesses in a criminal case. When they arrived at the station, however, they were surprised to learn they were under arrest on suspicion of possession of narcotics. Under false pretenses, they had been brought in, charged, and detained for a week at the police station, without the knowledge of their parents.

The UP Zambia legal interns met the children when they were taken to court in July 2017. The interns got as much information as they could on the whereabouts of the boys' families and proceeded to track down their parents and inform them of theirs children's impending trials. While the children waited for their day in court, they were held in Kamwala Remand Prison within the adult population. During that time, UP Zambia continued to support the boys and provided legal counsel in preparation for their trials. They helped the children understand the criminal trial process, prepared them for cross examination and aided in the development of their defenses. The UP Zambia team then appeared with the children in the courtroom which is a rare event in Zambia where many children face the justice system alone without legal representation or family support. In August 2017, all of the children were acquitted of their offence and released. Today, Eric is back in his hometown with his family and Tyrone and Terrence returned to one of the most prestigious technical schools in Zambia.

Zambian children like these are regularly detained by police without their parents' knowledge. This is not simply unjust to the juveniles themselves but leaves families in despair wondering what may have happened to their children. Often times families spend months and sometimes even years believing their child is missing. In a country where cell phone communication is not always available and homes are not always permanent, finding the families of these juveniles is a complicated and difficult task. Part of UP Zambia's legal work involves "family tracing" where interns and staff spend hours and days canvassing Zambia's poorest urban neighborhoods in order to find the families of children facing criminal proceedings. 

Tyrone, Terrence, and Eric are just a few of the many children whose young lives are put on hold due to failings in the juvenile justice system. UP Zambia is here to help those children and their families gain solace during difficult and sometimes prolonged legal proceedings. Look out for more stories in the coming weeks and subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can view our new One Day Freedom Video series featuring the work of our Justice for Juveniles internship program.

Volunteer Spotlight: Adam Dubbe

Welcome to the latest installment of UP Zambia’s Volunteer Spotlight Series which showcases the phenomenal volunteers that give of their time and energy to help bring freedom to Zambia's incarcerated youth. This series allows you to hear from volunteers from a wide-range of backgrounds describing their personal experience working with UP Zambia. Thanks so much to Adam Dubbe for the skills you brought to our organization and for your devotion and unique talent of connecting with the youth UP Zambia serves!

 Adam (second from the right) prepares for a science lesson with other UP Zambia staff and volunteers outside Kamwala Remand Prison.

Adam (second from the right) prepares for a science lesson with other UP Zambia staff and volunteers outside Kamwala Remand Prison.

Even before moving to Lusaka in 2015, one of my friends referred me to the Undikumbukire Project. Previously, I had done a little volunteer work in a prison but it definitely was not at the level of what I was going to do with UP Zambia. I practically had no knowledge about the justice system in Zambia; nevertheless, I had a passion to work with youth, so, UP Zambia sounded like a great way to get involved in something meaningful that benefits the local community.

Having a few years of teaching experience behind me, I figured I may as well continue teaching in the Kamwala Remand Prison during the weekly visits that UP Zambia carries out. Often the lessons would go along with whatever people decided to donate to the project, i.e. toothbrushes and toothpaste would lead to a personal hygiene lesson. Glowing star stickers? Astronomy lesson! As time went on the juveniles would request topics of their own choice, many of which being science or health lessons. Many of the juveniles demonstrate a keen interest in learning and continuing their education; however, it is very evident that the access to such materials is practically impossible within the prison.

 Adam with UP Zambia staff and volunteers outside Kamwala Remand Prison. That day, UP provided its regular educational/social/legal programs in addition to distributing 90 blankets to the juveniles housed there.

Adam with UP Zambia staff and volunteers outside Kamwala Remand Prison. That day, UP provided its regular educational/social/legal programs in addition to distributing 90 blankets to the juveniles housed there.

I would also join on trips to visit other prisons across Zambia to facilitate sporting events, like volley ball and football. On special days, such as Christmas and Zambian Independence Day the project worked with the juveniles in various prisons to make sure even their days would become memorable by celebrating and organizing games, food and performances. During my last few months with the project, I took part in a few radio episodes that were meant to educate the public about various issues with juveniles in prison and the justice system in Zambia. It was great being part of these radio programs, because I was able to hear so many different stories of people that had been confronted with the law or had family members who were facing legal challenges. I am not a lawyer, so to me a lot of legal issues were difficult to understand; nevertheless, I know that it is a flawed system that does not give sufficient support to those who are most vulnerable in our societies.

 Adam (far left) with UP Zambia volunteers delivering blankets and food donations for the babies and the juvenile girls in Kabwe Female Prison.

Adam (far left) with UP Zambia volunteers delivering blankets and food donations for the babies and the juvenile girls in Kabwe Female Prison.

Undoubtedly, one of my favorite things about the Undikumbukire Project is that it involves a very diverse group of people. Whether you are an artist, an academic or an athlete, the project will welcome you and any skill you may have. I cannot even begin to imagine all the lives that the project has impacted and changed for the better.

- Adam moved to Zambia in 2013 to work as an English teacher in a rural community in Serenje district and later shifted to Lusaka in 2015. Adam now resides in Taiwan continuing his passion in the field of education. 

Kelly Kapianga Recognized, Increases Visibility of Juvenile Justice Issues Abroad

 UP Zambia Director, Kelly Kapianga.

UP Zambia Director, Kelly Kapianga.

UP's Legal Director, Kelly Kapianga, is no stranger to the international spotlight. As a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, Kelly traveled to the US where he worked with the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, further enhancing UP Zambia's human rights capacity and our ability to bring innovative solutions to the Zambian justice system. As Kelly focused on broadening the global resources available to the project, he has continued to spread the word of UP Zambia's work and the plight of the juveniles in the Zambian justice system.

As a result, in May 2017, Kelly was selected as a Young Global Changer with the Think 20 Summit on Global Solutions (mandated by the German G20 Presidency). This program brought young visionaries from around the globe to Berlin in order to involve the views and ideas of the next generation into global problem-solving. (Learn more about this innovative program by following the link our publications page).

Following close on the heels of his trip to Berlin, Kelly was nominated as a Sakharov Fellow where he traveled again to Europe to participate and present in the 2nd edition of the Sakharov Fellowship in June 2017. He was one of 14 Human Rights Defenders trained on EU human rights policies and capacity building in Brussels and the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Democratization in Venice. 

Kelly was selected from more than 1100 applicants from all over the world who are active in a wide variety of human rights areas. The 2017 Sakharov Fellows represented 14 countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Cambodia, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey and Zambia. This broad representation provides a unique environment to learn new and innovative programs that are specific to individual cultures and contexts.

The two-week intensive training program aimed at expanding the Fellows' knowledge of the European Parliament human rights engagement, as well as develop their capacities and improve their work as human rights defenders. Fellows shared and spread the knowledge and experience acquired in their home countries. Thus, Kelly presented on his legal experience and UP Zambia's work to enhance the rights of juveniles. (To read more about the Sakharov Fellowship, follow the link our publications page)

This year, in addition to his selection as a Young Global Changer and a Sakharov Fellow, Kelly was a nominee and finalist for both the African Legal Awards (in the Associate/Assistant solicitor) and the International Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. 

These awards and forums, highlight the skills and passion of UP Zambia's staff and bring the challenges of Zambia's justice system into the global discussion of democracy, justice, and human rights. We are continuously proud of Kelly and the work he does on behalf of juveniles in Zambia and we are continually grateful to him for increasing UP Zambia's capacity and visibility on the global stage!

 2017 Sakharov Fellows (Kelly pictured back right)

2017 Sakharov Fellows (Kelly pictured back right)

Post by Carrie Russpatrick

Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Jones

Welcome to the latest installment of UP Zambia’s Volunteer Spotlight Series which showcases the phenomenal volunteers that give of their time and energy (often coming thousands of miles) to help bring freedom to Zambia's incarcerated youth. This series allows you to hear from volunteers from a wide-range of backgrounds describing their experience working with UP Zambia. Thanks so much to Chris Jones for the skills you brought to our organization and your commitment to the UP Zambia mission!

 Chris Jones joining our volunteer team for Saturday Visits at Kamwala Remand Correctional Facility. The day's activities included a quiz tournament with three rounds of questions that covered the topics of Geography, Zambia Facts, and Sports. 

Chris Jones joining our volunteer team for Saturday Visits at Kamwala Remand Correctional Facility. The day's activities included a quiz tournament with three rounds of questions that covered the topics of Geography, Zambia Facts, and Sports. 

Musings of an Englishman

I had a wonderful time in March 2017 working as a volunteer for Sarah Larios at UP Zambia. So - what’s a grey haired 62-year-old from Sheffield, England doing at the end of the rainy season in Lusaka?

I’m a retired chartered accountant, who spent his professional life in multi-national groups, and I wanted to help worthwhile organisations in the developing world. Four years ago, I found an agency in London – Accounting for International Development (AfID) – that matches accountants, who are willing to give their time, with NGOs who need help attracting / retaining funding from the likes of USAID, DFID etc. Through this agency, I’d previously been to Mombasa, Kenya where I helped an NGO that worked with girls caught in commercial sex work, and to Ho, Ghana where I worked with an NGO that empowered people with disability in the rural Volta region. In both cases, I was blown away by the passion within everyone driving these NGOs.

With permission from my wife to leave her again in the cold English winter, I embarked on another “jaunt” in sunny climes.  I approached AfID and received details of three NGOs who needed assistance. I chose UP Zambia not only because they were a start-up who needed help on their financial systems and governance but mainly because I felt that their work with juveniles caught in the legal system was worthwhile. I hadn’t really appreciated that March was the end of the Zambian rainy season!

I was slightly reticent about working in a rapidly growing city of 2½ million people as I felt I could be lost and it may be difficult to get to know Lusaka. The guide books were also not too glowing, but my first impression of Lusaka was that it was much more developed and more affluent than the cities I had visited in Kenya and Ghana. The main roads were better and there were more buildings of real substance. However, Lusaka is certainly a city of contrast: there is a huge difference between the few wealthy areas and many poorer areas.

Sara managed to find a guest house for me in the leafy suburb of Kabulonga - an area with embassies, professional offices and large houses abutting Lusaka’s best golf course. And, despite the guidebook’s warnings, Sara assured me that an old bloke would be fine walking at night – just be careful of open drains! A kilometer away across a small airfield was Kalingalinga and UP Zambia’s office. Kalingalinga is an area of high density, single-story housing and, off the main roads, untarmacked streets interspersed among rows of 1960s-style shops. There, furniture makers display their wicker settees and chairs, metalworkers display their gates and water tank towers and numerous people sell items such as plants and crushed stone.

Every day, I would walk to the office. It was three kilometers round the airfield and took 30 minutes (or longer if it had been raining and I had to avoid some fairly extensive puddles). As I began to be recognised – an Englishman in an old Tilley hat – people would acknowledge me and occasionally would fall into conversation. There was one enchanting lady who ran a roadside stall selling eggs, fruit, crisps etc. who was frequently singing. I’m in a choir in Sheffield and tried to teach her “African Prayer” – originally a protest song in South Africa and now part of their national anthem – but without much success.

 Chris and our volunteers traveled to Kabwe to visit and play football, chess, and music with the juveniles at Kabwe Medium Correctional Facility. 

Chris and our volunteers traveled to Kabwe to visit and play football, chess, and music with the juveniles at Kabwe Medium Correctional Facility. 

As it turns out, there was little need to worry about getting to know Lusaka. Sara could not have been more inclusive. She invited me to numerous activities with her friends including The African Under 20's football finals. One of Sara’s friends managed to get tickets for a group of us to go to the final: Zambia v Senegal. A lifelong football fanatic, I’ve never been in such a vibrant crowd with vuvuzelas blaring away and everyone high fiving and hugging when Zambia scored. The Senegal team openly engaged in witchcraft (illegal in Zambia) by throwing a symbol into the Zambia goalmouth just before a Senegal free kick. Queue bedlam – FIFA’s rules didn’t cover this! Fortunately, Zambia won.

In the office, I was working from 08:30 to 16:30 each day. After 16:30, the roads become jammed (Lusaka is expanding so rapidly that the road network struggles to cope). Even walking on the roadside can be challenging as the multitudinous mini buses simply disregard you and drive anywhere they wish!

UP Zambia started in earnest in July 2016 and my first task was to upgrade their accounting records and prepare accounts for 2016. Having done this my next task was to introduce financial systems and controls for the future and, specifically, to support a contract which UP Zambia had just won from the German Embassy for a new project, Justice for Juveniles, which provides legal support for all juveniles coming before the magistrates’ courts in Lusaka in 2017.

AfID’s philosophy is to send volunteers to identify issues, mentor NGOs and train local staff to be self-sufficient. This is exactly what Sara wanted at UPZ. In the last two weeks of March, having set-up the financial records and systems and agreed these with Sara, I helped Sara recruit and train Kawelwa Siwale a 20-year-old with book-keeping experience, to become UP Zambia’s part-time Administrator.

Aside from my financial duties, I was fortunate to accompany UP Zambia’s enthusiastic volunteers led by Sara and fellow director, Kelly Kapianga, on Saturday morning prison visits. As we walked to the gates of the prison, the sound of singing floated over the walls. The juveniles were gathered in their compound lustily singing religious songs. These visits are UP Zambia’s opportunity to encourage the youth with activities and ensure that each juvenile is provided legal support. One of my abiding memories is the sheer boredom of the 80 plus boys living in two bare rooms and a walled yard the size of half a tennis court. It is a constant challenge for Sara to think of suitable activities but that day she prepared a quiz. The boys were split into three teams and I was very impressed with the clear respect the boys had for Sara and the UP Zambia volunteers. Once the legal needs of the boys had been identified, they were completely focused on the quiz and worked closely together in their teams to get the right answers. Every Saturday morning back in England, I now think of Sara and her weekly visits to the Kamwala Remand Prison in Lusaka.

To round out my trip, I took time for some sightseeing before the long journey home. Everyone told me that no trip to Zambia is complete without visiting Livingstone and, following Sara’s guidance, I had a delightful long week-end in Livingstone visiting the Victoria Falls and going to Chobe National Park in Botswana.

 Chris and our volunteers delivering child-friendly food donations to babies in Kabwe Female Correctional Facility. These little ones first few years of life are spent with their mothers who are serving sentences. 

Chris and our volunteers delivering child-friendly food donations to babies in Kabwe Female Correctional Facility. These little ones first few years of life are spent with their mothers who are serving sentences. 

Looking back on my trip, several things stuck with me. Just as I had been in Kenya and Ghana, I was touched by the passion Sara, her fellow directors, and all the volunteers I met showed for their work. The individual stories for many of the juveniles are quite harrowing, some are manifestly unjust and there is no doubt in my mind that UP Zambia provides invaluable support to the juveniles in a system that is weighed against them. Without UP Zambia’s intervention, many would be treated unfairly and some swallowed up without trace.

UP Zambia cannot survive on “fresh air“ and it needs financial as well as focused volunteer support. I hope that my five weeks in Lusaka has helped UP Zambia and allowed them to take a step forward to enable them to be self-sufficient for the long-term. I also hope it can inspire others to give of their time and talents, whatever they may be, to help support this worthwhile organization.

Undukumbukire - I will remember them.

Story by Chris Jones

- Chris Jones is a retired chartered accountant from Sheffield in the United Kingdom. He spent much of his professional life working with multi-national groups and currently volunteers with Accounting for International Development (AfID) helping worthwhile organisations in the developing world better manage their financial and strategic goals.