ONGWEDIVA – Rehabilitation centres in the country no longer merely rehabilitate convicts but have established farming projects that sustain prison populations all over Namibia, rather than have inmates wait on the government to feed them.
The Namibian Correctional Services under Commissioner General Evaristus Shikongo has established various projects countrywide during his 17-year tenure to respond to the government’s call on the correctional services department to sustain itself. Shikongo will retire next year on January 30.
In bidding his colleagues farewell at the Oluno Rehabilitation Centre recently, he outlined some of the projects that were introduced under his watch since 1996.
One such project is at the Divundu Rehabilitation Centre in the Kavango Region, which correctional services took over from the Ministry of Agriculture Water, and Forestry in 1997.
The Divundu project first comprised 30 hectares but has grown to 100 irrigated hectares of farmland. The centre currently produces maize, fruit and vegetables for all the rehabilitation centres in the country. Moreover, the centre also harvests wheat that is used at the Divundu, Farm Scott, Oluno and Windhoek rehabilitation centres to bake bread for convicts.
At Farm Scott in Tsumeb, the department farms with sheep, goats and cattle. Since Tsumeb is a commercial area, the meat procured from the farm is also sold commercially to surrounding shops.
The Oluno, Elizabeth Nepemba and Divundu centres all have piggeries – however their meat is only sold locally and consumed by the inmates at the three rehabilitation centres.
Staff members as well as low risk inmates maintain these projects.
When New Era visited the piggery at Oluno several inmates were busy feeding the pigs and doing other work at the centre.
By Nuusita Ashipala