GFA Foundation Takes Football To Prisons

Kurt Okraku (R) in a handshake with Prisons boss


In its bid to put inmates’ lives back on track, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) Foundation has launched the Ghana Prisons Project.

The Ghana Prisons Project is an initiative that seeks to use the power of football to promote the well-being, welfare, reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration of inmates of Ghana’s prisons into society.

At the launch at the Senior Boys Correctional Centre (Borstal Institute) for Juveniles, GFA President Kurt Edwin Simeon-Okraku delivered love and hope to the young souls and Prison officers at the centre.

The first phase of the partnership will see the GFA Foundation facilitating coaching, refereeing and mentorship training programmes for inmates and officers in six (6) prison facilities.

The Senior Correctional Centre (Borstal), Akuse Male Prison, Winneba Local Prison, Nsawam Medium Male Prison, Sunyani Central Male Prison and Sunyani Central Female Prison will benefit from the historic initiative which also includes the distribution of football logistics funded by the GFA Foundation.

The GFA boss underlined the three major pillars of focus on the far-reaching partnership between the two organisations.

He said, “The first pillar is in the form of the football items and logistics which we will shortly unveil and present to the prison facilities. The two other equally important pillars are coaching, refereeing and mentorship training programmes for inmates and officers as well as advocacy workshops to sensitise the public and the citizenry on the negative impact of discrimination and stigmatisation of prisons and prisoners.

“Emulating one of the principles of football where you lose a match and you try another day, we believe in giving these inmates a second chance to put their lives back on track.”

He added, “I would like to urge all inmates in beneficiary prison facilities to take full advantage of this initiative to improve their well-being, speed up their reformation process and make their reintegration into society a smooth and permanent one so they do not become repeat offenders and go back to prison.”

The Director-General of Prisons, Isaac Kofi Egyir, commended the sterling leadership of President Simeon-Okraku for the visionary initiative, which aims to enhance the well-being of both officers and inmates.

“This initiative represents a new chapter for the Ghana Football Association and Prisons Service. It bring a message of optimism to those who often feel despair and isolated. Through this collaboration, the GFA Foundation – Ghana Prisons Project will offer training courses in coaching, match officiating (refereeing), mentorship and opportunities for inmates to engage in football activities organised by the GFA,” he pointed out.

He said, “The inclusion of football in our correctional programmes is designed to enhance the overall effectiveness of inmates’ rehabilitation. The sport promotes fitness, reduces stress, improves mental health, instills discipline, encourages teamwork and supports social reintegration. These programmes will serve as a cornerstone for the successful reintegration of prisoners, equipping them with essential skills and confidence for the future.”

By Kofi Owusu Aduonum