“The mere thought of being released after sentence is so scary to ex-convicts that often times, some have pleaded to be left inside the prison. The Onesimus Project offers prisoners and ex-prisoners hope for a new start.”
The Onesimus Project is an 18-month pre/post-release mentoring programme (6 months pre/12 months post-release). It targets inmates who are close to the end of their sentences (about 6 months). The aims of this project are many but top among them are…
i. Reducing recidivism (A fancy word that means, “Repeating a criminal offence after one has been sanctioned for a previous crime.”)
ii. Promoting productivity and safe community.
These are achieved by…
i. Equipping these inmates with entrepreneurial and vocational skills. This ensures easier re-entry into society and reintegration into productive socio-economic and cultural lives.
ii. Addressing the spiritual condition, personality and emotional challenges of inmate students. The project also incorporates Christian spiritual formation curriculum with personality and emotional instructions, clinical counseling and therapy.
Prison Fellowship Nigeria runs it (The Onesimus Project) in partnership with Covenant University, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and the Nigeria Prison Service.
Note: SMEDAN is an agency of the Federal government committed to enhancing the growth of small scale enterprises.
How it works
Covenant University manages Psychoanalysis and clinical counseling. They do this under strict professional synergy with psychologists of the Nigeria Prison Service.
SMEDAN manages the business and entrepreneurial development component of the project. They bring in resource personnel on a weekly basis to serve with other facilitators provided by PF Nigeria in training the inmates over a 6 month period.
PF Nigeria manages the spiritual and vocational components of the “Onesimus Project”.
Admission of inmates into the programme is through a screening process. Thereafter, successful candidates go through the training.
On completion, each participating inmate student is assigned a mentor from one of PF member churches. The mentor works with the mentee for up to 12 months post-release. This is to aid rehabilitation and reintegration.
On discharge, each one of them is met at the prison gate by the mentor and officers of Prison Fellowship. We provide them transport and subsistence support. And when they eventually start up a business, we give them venture seed money.
How can you be part of this?
The Onesimus Project has run continuously for 5 years with 5 matriculations and 4 graduations.
We are proud to say “The Onesimus Project” has produced about 80 graduands (male and female). A good number of these graduands are already productively engaged outside the prisons with the useful life skills they acquired during their training.
Be a part of this…