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Italy and ILO for empowerment of Mekelle inmates

By Flaminia Battistelli
Tigrai Online - June 26, 2013

Handing Over Ceremony


Mekelle, Ethiopia – In the presence of Ato Hadis Zenebe, Head of Security and Administration, representing His Excellency the Tigray Regional President, the ILO Director of Regional Office, Mr. George Okutho and the Director of Italian Development Cooperation (IDC) Office of Addis Ababa, Mr. Fabio Melloni, the handing over ceremony of the Project ‘EMPOWERMENT OF PEOPLE IN PRISON THROUGH SKILL AND INCLUSIVE FINANCE SUPPORT WITH SPECIAL FOCUS ON WOMEN PRISONERS’ will be held on Thursday, 27 June 2013, in the Mekelle Prison Compound.

Started in 2012, the project has been implemented by ILO in the past year, through a 650,000 Euro grant made available by the Italian Development Cooperation to foster women economic empowerment at Mekelle Prison and WISE (Organisation for Women in Self-Employment). The Italian intervention in support of Mekelle’s inmates came after previous similar experiences undertaken by IDC in other countries such as Lebanon and Afghanistan.

The underlying vision of the initiative is to create a prison which is aimed at the rehabilitation of inmates through an empowering and learning environment and where prisoners are conceived as citizen who will be helped to reintegrate themselves into the society and to be able to contribute to social and community wellbeing and development.

The project has focused on empowering all of the female inmates as well as a number of male prisoners through education, skills training, financial literacy and cooperative management, as well as  opportunities to access finance to engage in economically useful activities, with the collaboration of implementing partners, among which Dedebit Microfinance Institution (DECSI) played a key role by partnering in financial training as well as provision of financial services for savings, credit and insurance through its brank within the prison premises.  Where prison inmates were relying on support from family and friends, now inmates are making money transfers to family members to support them with school fees, living expenses and other support.  Hundereds also save significant sums from their earnings in a saving account with the DECSI branch within the prison. The initiative has enabled the development of 26 active cooperatives that have established successful businesses and empowering opportunities for prison inmates and released prisoners.

All the efforts made by the prison administration, with the support of the regional authorities, and the encouraging results achieved in changing inmates’ living conditions, place Makalle on the right track to become a successful model for Ethiopia and Africa.



The empowerment of people in prison through skill and inclusive finance support with special focus on women prisoners project

Date:      Thursday 27st  June  

Time:     09:45  - 14.30

Location: Mekelle Prison Compund, Mekelle

Media Arrangements:

For further details and information on the ceremony, contact:

Italian Development Cooperation (IDC)
Flaminia Battistelli
Mobile: +251(0)922824296
Email: f.battistelli@itacaddis.it
Aida Awel
Mobile: :+251(0)911209423
Email: aida@ilo.org

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