Being a PSELF Fellow made me a national hero

By Achola Mourice Otieno

The soft-spoken Mourice Achola has been recognised by the National Heroes Council, a State Corporation that formulates and implements policy relating to national heroes. For Mr Achola, an officer at the Correctional Services department based in Busia Main Prison, this was beyond his wildest dreams.

In the course of his duties, Mr Achola noticed that prisoners who had hearing and speech impairment were getting a raw deal.

 “Their needs were not getting addressed because of the communication barrier,” he says.

Keen to help, he enrolled for a sign language course at the Kenya Institute for Special Education under the sponsorship of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities and became the only sign language interpreter at the station.

He was appointed the Disability and Inclusion Officer at the station by the officer in charge who is also his mentor, Assistant Commissioner of Prisons Omondi Adero, OGW.

“I felt communicating with them was the first step to helping them get social justice,” he says. 

He wrote to the National Council for Persons with Disability to increase the sponsorship of prison officers to study sign language, and they agreed.

Due to this initiative, Mr Achola was honoured by President William Ruto as a National Hero under the Human Rights category on 20th October during last year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kericho County.

Mr Achola believes being a Fellow at the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship Programme played a big role in winning the award.

While nominations for the awards are done by departments and individuals, Mr Achola nominated himself and cited his current training at the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship Programme and was surprised when he was awarded.

“I strongly believe being a Fellow at the programme raised my profile,” he says confidently.

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