Prison Fellowship International currently operates within 15 countries throughout Francophone Africa. Rich in natural beauty and vibrant cultural diversity, this region is sadly also marked by ongoing social conflict exacerbated by divisive elections and ethnic tensions. Islam is quickly spreading throughout Francophone Africa, but evangelism – the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – is still largely welcomed and flourishing inside prison walls.
PFI’s national ministry partners in this region recognize the difficulties which face the prisoner as well as the family they leave behind. Literacy programs are prioritized, ensuring that prisoners are not stripped of their basic rights, and allowing them to develop marketable skills to use upon their release. Most importantly, literacy programs equip prisoners to better participate in discipleship courses and give them the ability to read and understand the Scriptures on their own. Prisoners’ spouses and families are also given the opportunity to participate in educational programs, in which they can learn money management and job skills.
These outreach and intervention programs are crucial for families and communities affected by crime. Staff and volunteers are working tirelessly on the frontlines, protecting vulnerable children from exploitation and neglect, abuses which occur at exponentially higher rates when a parent is sent to prison. These national ministry teams are empowering these families to thrive through microloans, skills training, and community connections through local churches. By combining educational opportunities and spiritual encouragement, prisoners and their families are given the tools to start fresh and build their lives upon the foundation of Jesus Christ.
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Today, with the help of the Lord and thanks to the strategy of partnership with national ministries, the PFI family has something to celebrate—something to be grateful for in terms of transformed lives, new hope for prisoners and their families, improvement in each national ministry’s capacity and efficiency, and more. I am looking forward to the fruitful years to come, and I am thankful for what God is going to do.
Spreading the Gospel
- National Ministries are sharing the Gospel in 312 prisons
- 54 prisons running The Prisoner’s Journey program
- More than 60,000 graduates
- More than 151,000 prisoners reached
- Two countries running the Children of Prisoners program (CPP)
- More than 1,100 children currently served through the program
- 13 National Ministries are running Angel Tree programs
- Reaching more than 4,200 children of prisoners annually
In Francophone Africa, more than 139,000 prisoners have been invited to participate in The Prisoner’s Journey program during promotional events, and more than 54,677 are course graduates. This success is due to our volunteers’ enthusiasm which was further developed during the training provided by program coordinators and executive directors.
The transformation in prisoners’ behavior is another ripple in the lake of the zeal that went into implementing TPJ. The testimonies of prison guards and prison directors is another ripple—evidence of the tremendous work that is happening inside.
Never forget that a prisoner is not born a prisoner, that grace is universal, and Jesus loves the prisoner. When violence rates are reduced in prisons and transformation happens in prisoners’ lives, it is beneficial to their families and the whole community. When children are sent to school, families are restored, and offenders are forgiven by victims; these are ripple effects of a National Ministry teams’ determination and love.
Ayéré Franck Baby, Associate Director, Francophone Africa