Nafisika Trust

Nafisika Trust: Generating Endless Opportunities for Prisoners

Nairobi, KenyaNairobi, Kenya
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Nafisika Trust is a prison entrepreneurship initiative. By transforming Kenya’s prisons with a focus on shifting society’s perception of prisoners away from common negative prejudices and stereotypes, Vickie is reducing the rate of repeat offenders.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we leverage untapped potential and increase employability of youth offenders?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In the crowded informal settlements of Nairobi, where 60% of the city’s residents live, there is a lack of opportunities for youth to earn a living wage. Young people frequently find themselves pulled into crime which results in a flood of new inmates at an estimated rate of 100,000 prisoners per year. Up to 50 percent of these are estimated to be re-offenders.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Nafisika has developed the first prison entrepreneurship curriculum that is taught within prison walls. This is done for two months, three times a year, and increases the capacity of prisoners to create or access economic opportunities for themselves. Vickie taps a socially conscious community of teachers who provide literacy and computer skills education to prisoners, and engages interns who are students of psychology and counseling to provide mental health services for the prisoners. Through four main programs, i.e. Counselling, Education, Employment and Re-entry, she is able to tackle the root problems of unemployment, dysfunctional families and low education.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The entrepreneurship program is the biggest and most impactful initiative they run. At the end of the program, inmates graduate with a certificate in Business and Entrepreneurship from KCA University. An inmate released from Nairobi West Prison recently has gone on to put into practice what he learned in the entrepreneurship program. John [pseudonym] was a former security guard arrested for assault but exonerated three years later. John now runs his own clothing business in downtown Nairobi and offers writing services — he has been successful in these endeavors. He also volunteers his security skills at his local church in the face of terror threats in the country. When asked about the impact of the entrepreneurship program he had participated in while in prison, John stated that it helped him learn how to write a business plan and think through important steps in starting a business.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Since she started Nafisika in 2009, Vickie has concentrated her efforts in six prisons within and around Nairobi where she has tested and refined her ideas. The result of her work is that the curriculum has been adopted and fully integrated into prisons where she works. Some of the leading universities she has engaged have independently formed partnerships with the prisons to run internship programs and train prison staff. 60% of all the ex-inmates who have gone through her program have either gotten employed or started their own businesses upon their release.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

As she gears up to take her work to national scale, Vickie has identified six regions across the country that have a concentration of universities that she can leverage to access talent for prisons within the surrounding community. Ultimately, Vickie would like to see her work informing policy to guide the transformation of Kenya’s prison system towards one that is focused on reform, rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners. To this end, she looks to lead the creation of a consortium of organizations within the criminal justice system to advocate for policy reforms in the sector.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Vickie is looking to identify prisons with land that could be utilized for productive activity as part of the prisoners’ entrepreneurship training. The funds generated from such activities would partly fund the prisons operations while at the same time contributing to a fund from which ex-prisoners could access start-up capital to launch their businesses.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Multiple prisoner reentry programs exists such as the Crossroad Bible Institute reentry program. While these programs focus on core foundational skills and facilitate the reconciliation process, they lack a practical enabler that prevents re-entering the prison system. Civil society organizations typically put pressure on governments to improve the criminal justice system. Vickie starts first by addressing what she sees as the capacity gaps of the prison system to properly reform, rehabilitate and reintegrate prisoners.

Founding Story

When she was a 21 year old university student, Vickie decided to go to a prison in Kenya for the first time in her life to find out if she could volunteer to paint its walls. In a small dark room no more than 10 prisoners were in a class being instructed by another inmate. She would later learn that the class needed teachers as well, an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. She volunteered to teach the class basic literacy skills. One of the young men she taught told her that he had become smarter and because of her would not be caught by the police when he returned to his life of crime. These words broke Vickie’s heart and it was then that she decided to drop out of school and focus on transforming Kenya’s prison system.


The Nafisika Trust core team is made up of four passionate and committed individuals who push to promote change and change lives of inmates for a better and safer society.In addition there are four trustees, Eric Muyale, Linda Maruti, Josephine Okal, and Vikckie Wambura who strengthen Nafisika as an organization. The board of advisors also has four members, all of whom are experts in their fields and believe in Nafisika’s mission. It is comprised of Ashitiva Nelson (advocate), David Kairo (business consultant), Nassir Katurama (social entrepreneur), and Oscar Githua (forensic Psychologist). Nafisika thrives on a volunteer system. We attract a pool of young volunteers and professionals who in the past year alone have given 9,837 hours of service.
About You
About You
First Name
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About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Awards: What awards or honors has your solution received, if any?
Tell us about your partnerships
Challenges: What challenges might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
How does your idea help young people create bright futures and improve opportunities for meaningful and long-term careers?
Target Age Group(s): What age group(s) do(es) your solution target through it's programming?

Intervention Focus: Identify which of the following best explain key parts of your solution

Do you have separate programs or initiatives that target the following types of populations?

Impact - Reach: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

Number of People Directly Employed by Your Organization

Number of Volunteers

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers? Select a theme below that most applies to your work. If none of them do, no problem, you can skip this question.



There's something exciting cooking up! It's called social innovators mobilization project: a new campaign for a more sustainable approach of undertaking all our social innovation projects. A campaign for the many of us who desire a wider support base for our projects due to the reality that with each day we have people coming up with very good ideas to help the masses but at the same time these ideas never come to be realized since the organisational support for such an idea is lacking. One thing I have realized is the power of like-minded people working together as it is the backbone of most corporations. If you are currently unemployed consider your potential workplace, all the people starting from the CEO, at one point or another you went to the same classes with them and so though you went to school in different years, you are employed by your peers so why not begin early where instead of waiting for salaried employment you create the opportunity to generate wages for you and your peers?

Well, I'm hoping that by starting the conversation, we can find the solutions we need.

Will you join me or spread the word for others to join you and invite the rest of us?


Further details:
Most social innovators engage in projects aiming at social change but the problem is the mindset of thinking that the project you have is the main approach of effecting change. If social innovators could come together to form a kind of social network where like a well-run organisation then together we engage in each and every project with each individual having an opportunity to become a project manager then we can have well founded and established opportunities to effect change rather than the approach of individuals working on their individual project. We can work together and in the process learn from each other. So next time seek not to find people who can aid your cause but instead the people who you can aid their cause. So all you would need is to join a project and register your own under it this way we establish timelines within which your project will be undertaken. It is better to have your project undertaken after several years as you observe and learn from the project of others than to go at it alone, become frustrated and give up on the vision altogether.
This is inline with the actual definition of a social innovation:
A social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals.
Together we ensure sustainability of a project, the involvement of people with a similar mindset which will allow for the efficiency and effectiveness of the approach.
You can contact me on my personal email: [email protected]