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The Prison Education Network (PEN)

The Prison Education Network (PEN)  was created in May 2017 and officially began functioning on July 18, 2017.

It consolidated the experiences and cooperation of DVV International and partners in Armenia,  Eastern Partnership Countries (Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova) as well as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan in support of  broadening access to education for prison inmates.

The network is a voluntary association of organizations and individuals that  aims to advance  the right to education in penitentiary and post-penitentiary facilities and  promote  education as an effective means of reintegrating (ex-)prisoners/ inmates into society. The founders of the network are 13 organizations including 12 local non-governmental and state organizations and as well as DVV International) represented by branch offices in 7 countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine).

In the past few months the Network created an informational platform sharing the experiences of individual research projects and actions in each of the countries. Members of the Network have tried to organize common advocacy action to celebrate the International Prison Education day on the October 13, 2017. Two meetings have been hold to launch the Network and to outline further actions.

In June 2018,  PEN received a grant from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs to implement  a 7 months project  in Armenia and Eastern Partnership countries to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the common advocacy actions. Specific activities under the Project include:

  • A 4-day workshop to build partner CSO capacity to advocate for human rights, including right to education, for penitentiary inmates.
  • National level advocacy campaigns in each of the participating countries focusing on such aspects as  human dignity and the right to education and free development and utilizing creative formats and cultural performances to convey the message.
  • Production of a film on advocacy events and creation of a PEN website
  • A final event that will help summarize the Project, discuss lessons learnt and plan future steps.
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