Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
I have dedicated my life to African Prisons Project from a young age. There may be those that consider this limits the depth of experience I can bring to the organisation. However, I am constantly exploring how I can broaden my professional and social networks with a view to enriching the quality of the work and bring new perspectives. In 2006 I was the youngest Magistrate to be appointed in the Midlands; I have extensive experience in criminal and civil matters, including participation in initiatives in Sierra Leone to recommend reform of the country’s prison service. I also have a deep understanding of the British legal system and the way it is implemented in the countries in which APP works.
Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?
APP is able to deliver cost-effective, high quality services by leveraging support from organisations, stakeholders and funders. Law firms, including Clifford Chance, Jones Day, Hogan Lovells, Allen and Overy and Coulson Harney have contributed valuable pro-bono support. The Association of Commonwealth Universities support groups of criminal justice personnel to participate in APP’s Secondment Programme. The University of London has reduced student fees for APP and recently suggested we explore the possibility of joint working to draft new law modules. Book Aid International supplies books to APP libraries, including the legal texts required by our students. APP’s Patrons act as advisors and mentors and include Lord Paul Boateng, Dame Linda Dobbs QC and Lord Ramsbotham. We work in volatile, sometimes hostile environments and good relationships with prison personnel at all levels is key to the project’s success. Prison staff may not always share our vision, which could potentially impact negatively on what we seek to achieve. We mitigate this by creating an inclusive environment wherever we work, encouraging staff to engage with us and demonstrating that the outcomes can impact positively on the whole prison. Prisoners dedicated to study are less prone to disruptive behaviour through frustration, anger and boredom. Projects to improve prison infrastructure, such as the establishment of a Biogas toilet system at Namulu prison and a bore hole to supply clean water at Loro Prison also improved the lives of prison staff and their families – many of whom live in conditions little better than the prisoners they guard. A significant number are actively supportive and engaged in promoting APP’s work, acting as ambassadors to take the work forward.