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Prize giving for unique children's art competition in Kenya 

Nairobi, 3 December 2020 - Today marked the official opening and announcement of 10 winners of the 'Probation: A New Beginning’ Children’s Art Exhibition at the Kioko Mwitiki Art Gallery in Nairobi. 

The exhibition features 42 art works and description notes submitted by children, between 9 to 17 years, serving non-custodial correctional sanctions under the supervision of Kenya’s Probation and After Care Service (PACS), State Department for Correctional Services. 

Through this exhibition – a joint initiative of PACS, the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – the children are educating the public not only about their own experiences and hopes for the future but about how Probation Officers support their rehabilitation and illuminate a path to a new future. 

This creative project is funded by the European Union through the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD), a partnership co-implemented by UNODC that is strengthening the administration of justice and widening the use of alternatives to imprisonment. 

The Principal Secretary State Department for Correctional Services, Mrs Zeinab A. Hussein, CBS, in her remarks said that the art competition had been initiated during the COVID-19 school break which rendered most children idle. 

“The objective was to divert them from anti-social behavior while expressing their experiences on the justice system and services offered by probation and aftercare service. 

“Through this art competition I now appreciate the issues that confront and push Children to get into conflict with the law … I commit to ensure that my department will critically analyze all the issues expressed in artwork and to ensure that programmes and strategies are developed to address them. I will also ensure that this artwork becomes an annual activity to encourage children’s participation in offender management. 

The event incorporated the formal handover of 12 four-wheel drive vehicles to PACS. 

The European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Simon Mordue, said that 2020 had been a challenging year due to the pandemic but that handing over the vehicles and staging this unique art exhibition meant the year is ending on a high note. 

“The European Union is committed to ensuring professionalism in the supervision and rehabilitation of offenders of all ages. That is why we’re pleased our financial support through PLEAD is improving strategic planning and daily operations of the Probation and After Care Service. It’s my hope the 12 vehicles I handed over today will boost the mobility of probation officers as they deliver services in the community, contributing to improved efficiency in the administration of justice in Kenya. 

“I commend all 651 children who entered this art competition for sharing their creative talent and personal perspectives of the juvenile justice system. Through this exhibition, I’m inspired and better informed about what it means to be a young person on probation and urge others to go and see for themselves and learn from the children,” Ambassador Mordue said. 

The vehicles were procured in response to research and consultations conducted by UNODC since 2018 which identified a lack of suitable work vehicles as a key factor affecting service delivery by probation officers to the department’s clients who include children on probation. 

Also speaking at the event, the UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, Dr Amado Philip de Andrés, said the art exhibition had exceeded his expectations. 

“UNODC fully supports giving meaningful opportunities to young people who find themselves in conflict with the law so that a new beginning in life is possible, and that’s why we’re a proud partner not only in this impressive art project but in providing wide-ranging technical assistance to the department,” Dr de Andrés said. 

“We believe a major legacy of PLEAD will be a professionally trained and fully equipped workforce at the Probation and After Care Service and, through such public events as this art show, also greater visibility for the department’s mandate,” he added. 

A first of its kind featuring artwork by child offenders in Kenya, the exhibition will be open to the public for free viewing of the children’s art works, and will close on 17th December.  

Visitors to the Kioko Art Gallery are invited to vote for the People’s Choice Award that will be announced as the exhibition closes.

The 10 major prize winners


1st - Boy, 10, Kimumu Junior Probation Hostel > Eldoret. Artwork: My future (collage).

2nd - Boy, 9, Kimumu Junior Probation Hostel > Eldoret. Artwork: COVID-19 (painting).

3rd - Boy, 10, Shanzu Boys Probation Hostel > Mombasa. Artwork: My future (painting and collage).


1st - Boy, 13, Kimumu Junior Probation Hostel > Eldoret. Artwork: Seeds of Gold (collage).

2nd - Boy, 14, Shanzu Boys Probation Hostel > Mombasa. Artwork: Changes realized (coloured pencils drawing).

3rd - Boy, Boy, 12, Shanzu Boys Probation Hostel > Mombasa. Artwork: Lessons learnt (painting).


1st - Girl, 17, Nakuru Girls Probation Hostel. Artwork: Showers of Prosperity (painting with glitter). 

2nd (tie) - Boy, 17, Kangundo Probation Station. Artwork: A Dream of Corona (drawing).

2nd (tie) - Boy, 15, Ruiru Probation Station. Artwork: Say no to drugs (lead pencil drawing).

3rd - Boy, 15, Kangundo Probation Station. Artwork: A new beginning (coloured pencils drawing).

Media contacts

Probation and After Care Service - 0736 938 323 /

European Union - 0708 116 120 /

UN Office on Drugs and Crime –  Elayne Okaya 0724 322 230


Notes to Editors

What is probation? 

In the context of offender supervision, probation is an order made by a court of law requiring an offender to be under community supervision by a Probation Officer after being found guilty of an offence. It is also a means a means of rehabilitating offenders in the community as an alternative to imprisonment. 

About the Probation and After Care Service (PACS) 

PACS promotes and enhances the administration of justice, community safety and public protection through provision of social inquiry reports, supervision, rehabilitation and reintegration of non-custodial offenders, victim support and crime prevention.

PACS manages a sizeable population of offenders serving their sentences in the community. Rehabilitation of children takes cognizance of their evolving capacities including talent recognition and participation. Expressive art is one of the ways in which young offenders not only learn a skill but also gives them an avenue to express their experiences of the juvenile justice system.