Lang'ata Prison library

A new library at Lang’ata Women’s Prison

1st September 2016 | Blog

We have been proud to work in partnership with African Prisons Project (APP) for over seven years. APP works to improve access to healthcare, lifeskills, justice and leadership development opportunities for prisoners in Kenya and Uganda. We support its work by donating brand new books for use in the libraries they run in 14 prisons. These books range from picture books for children (of both prisoners and prison staff) to vocational and educational textbooks, as well as novels and biographies. A high proportion of the African prison population is uneducated meaning they lack skills for life after their release. We hope that these libraries, the books they house and activities they run will help to change this.

We were delighted to hear of the opening of a brand new library at Lang’ata Women’s Prison in Nairobi, Kenya, filled with brand new books, three quarters of which came from Book Aid International. Here, APP tells us more about the new library.


Lang'ata library in use


We were delighted to mark the Nelson Mandela International Day for freedom, justice and democracy with the opening of a brand new library at Lang’ata Women’s Prison in Nairobi. The first of its kind, this facility will provide more than six hundred women and children, as well as prison staff and their families, with access to a wealth of relevant educational materials and supported learning opportunities such as book clubs, debates and creative writing.


Lang'ata library opening


The Lang’ata Women’s and Children’s Library was officially opened by the Commissioner General of the Kenya Prison Service, Isaiah Osugo. Guests included national and international media houses, representatives from foreign embassies, national agencies and the judiciary, as well as individuals from the business world and private sector. There was an air of excitement and celebration as people arrived and received an enthusiastic welcome from prison staff, inmates and the APP team.


Lang'ata celebrations


Celebrations were marked with a variety of entertainment organised by inmates and staff, from traditional dances to spoken word performances and heartfelt speeches. There was a tremendous sense of pride from the Commissioner General as he stated that “…this is the best library facility that we have in the country.

These kinds of facilities are key to APP’s Life Skills Programme which also includes a Functional Adult Literacy course and vocational training, providing prisoners with the opportunity to enter employment post-release. The brand new facility, alongside the training of library assistants, will provide the Lang’ata prison community with a remarkable resource to support access to education.


Lang'ata library in use


The library will play an invaluable role in APP’s continued endeavour to see prisons as places of positive transformation and it is because of this that we want to say ‘thank you’ to all those who have supported our work to make this possible.


Book Aid International is proud to have contributed over 2,500 brand new books in the collection at Lang’ata Women’s and Children’s Library. This was only possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Together we can help prisoners in Africa shape their futures for the better.


A version of this article first appeared on the African Prisons Project website. Photos © Alamin Mutunga

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