The peer-to-peer Mentor Project

An idea that came about during the Law Providers’ Conference earlier this year is now bearing fruit, reports Rabia Pasha
Naba Zehra Rizvi, Anam Qureshi, Mahrukh Shahid
Final year students Naba Zehra Rizvi, Anam Qureshi, Mahrukh Shahid

School of International Law (SIL) in Pakistan has launched a peer-to-peer Mentor Project, an initiative it has undertaken in collaboration with the African Prisons Project (APP). By way of this initiative, students at SIL will mentor students in the African prisons who are presently pursuing the University of London LLB (Hons) programme. Students from SIL will send study material in the form of notes and recorded video lectures to assist the students in the African prisons with respect to the subjects they are registered for. To make this interaction on a personal level, students at the African Prisons will be able to correspond with their mentors through a pen pal system. The process entails sending material on a monthly basis, with feedback coming in from the faculty and the students enrolled through the African Prisons Project. The idea came about after the interaction between the faculty and administration at SIL and APP during the Law Providers’ Conference at Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.

This initiative is being steered by three final year students at SIL: Anam Qureshi, Naba Zehra Rizvi and Mahrukh Shahid. The project would not have been possible without the cooperation of Sam Bryar and Alexander McLean at APP. Though still in its pilot phase, both teams are excited by the prospects from such a collaboration. It should greatly assist the students in the African prisons and in due time could turn into a wider network.

APP is an initiative to provide dignity and hope to men, women and children in prison. The organization provides support and education for prisoners across Africa. APP believes that all people, no matter their status or situation, deserve fairness and that great change can come from the most unlikely of sources. APP leads a number of projects on health and education, including the construction of libraries, promotion of human rights and our legal training programs active in Uganda and Kenya.

APP is involved in training prisoners from Kenya and Uganda on the law through the University of London International Programmes. The idea of training prisoners in law originated from the realization that many citizens never receive legal counsel before or even at their trial. Poverty prevents fair representation for many of those in prison. Our legal program is meant to strengthen the skills of prisoners who can directly assist hundreds of others as they seek appeals or new trials. It is a new and unique approach in dealing with a critical access to justice issue, while also providing skills to those who will one day be released, ensuring they have the tools to launch a career and contribute to the betterment of society.

  • SIL is a Registered Centre for the University of London International Programmes, offering tuition for the LLB and LLM.
  • Further information about the African Prisons Project is available on their website.