Project focus

Ethiopia: The Mekelle Prison Project - Creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for women and youth

This ILO project, funded by Italy, aims to create sustainable livelihood opportunities for women and youth, reducing crime and poverty through cooperatives and skills development and introducing in-prison financial services.

Building prisons alone does not help reduce crime or rehabilitate and improve the lives of prisoners, the majority of whom are often young men and women: 80 per cent of inmates at Mekelle Prison are young men and women convicted of petty crimes and serving sentences of up to six years.

Through this project prisoners are provided with education, skills training and opportunities to access finance and engage in economically useful activities. This has resulted in the creation of 31 active cooperatives that run successful businesses providing decent work for prison inmates and released prisoners.