Frequently Asked Questions
General Specific


1What work does Clean Start do?
Clean Start bridges the gap between prison and the community by ensuring the women and the children leaving prison avoid the gaping trench in between as well as uphold, maintain and reinforce dignity of women and children impacted by the criminal justice system.
2What are Clean Start’s Objectives?
Clean Start achieves it vision of providing second chances to women and children leaving prison through the following high-level objectives:
Objective 1:Dignified reentry into society that provides less stigmatized and confident women with sound livelihood options and opportunities.
Objective 2:Contribute to the systemic change in the criminal justice system that is responsive to the well-being of women and their children.
Objective 3: Building an organization with strong and distinct governance and management structures secure and diverse resource base able to deliver on its strategic objectives.
3What is Clean Start Vision?
4What is Clean Start Mission?
5How can I support Clean Start?
Please visit our website on how to get involved or contact us via our social media pages or via email.
6Why does Clean Start work with women only?
Teresa, inspired by the women’s stories of rejection, stigma, lack of occupational opportunities and their painful reconciliation journey, was motivated to continue reaching out to other women and conduct prison visits. The increase of women expressing their loneliness, hardships, stigma, bias and discrimination across community meant that there is a need to consolidate learning, increase of outreach activities while striving to access opportunities and occupational options for the formerly imprisoned women. Women for women by women is guided by our 3 intertwined strategic objectives:
 Contribute to effecting systemic change within the Criminal Justice System that is responsive to the issues and needs of women and their children.
 To catalyze movement building on issues about incarceration of women.
 Service delivery to restore dignity, hope and facilitate successful reintegration for women.
7What are some of the challenges Clean Start faces:
 Societal stigma against formerly imprisoned women.
 Lack of implementation of the Bangkok Rules in prison and reintegration.
 Lack of political goodwill towards Alternative Dispute Resolution and non-custodial sentences for women.
 High unemployment rates in the country.
▪ Formerly imprisoned women are not categorized as a marginalized group.


1Who started Clean Start?
Clean Start is a Kenyan organization founded in January 2015 by Teresa Njoroge, to provide a second chance to women and children leaving prison.
2Why was Clean Start started?
Teresa Njoroge served time between 2009 - 2011 at the Langata Women Maximum Security Prison accompanied by her then one-year-old daughter. Her first-hand experience of prison, the desperate plight of the women and girls she met behind bars and the revolving door of crime and poverty she witnessed inspired her to devote her life to the equipping, empowering and preparation of imprisoned women for the precarious journey of reintegration into society.
3Why is Clean Start any different from other Organizations?
We are a women-centred organisation boldly aligned to our identity, creating healing, belonging, oneness and united in one voice for all our sisters!. We feel, hear and acknowledge our pain and this propels us to raise our voices and declare never again! We are open, unashamed and non-judgemental about our experiences and we adjust knowing nothing will be as before and we will strive to challenge cultures and perceptions of us. The lived experiences of our target group allows original innovation and dynamism. Our actions and communication shall convey understanding, acceptance, connectedness and love for all those we interact with and shall manifest in our tones and words!. And lastly transparency, openness and wholeness within the organisation ensuring we do right, speak the truth, hold each other accountable and walk the talk!.
4How does Clean Start assist the beneficiaries they work with?
We uphold, maintain and reinforce the dignity of women and children impacted by the criminal justice system by providing the following programs :
a) Circles of Healing: These are social peer-led circles open to Imprisoned and formerly imprisoned women that provide a healing space, coping pathways, building resilience, connection and reconciliation support that results in the effective transition and reintegration required for the psychological and mental well- being of the women.
b) Halfway Programming:This is the provision of a safe, soft-landing that includes identification and pursuit of community support mechanisms, trauma healing and coping mechanisms for newly released women in the first six months. It focuses on re-orientation and re-footing of the women leaving prison, to the society out of prison.
c) Tables of Support:CS facilitates FIW with life-skills, entrepreneurship/trade/craft training and linkage to business opportunities that enable women access economic opportunities. A Table of Support includes business training geared towards improving and stabilizing the women’s livelihood. Every woman is supported with a minimum of $150 to start a business.
d) Children of Imprisoned Mothers: CS safeguard the holistic well-being of children living in prison with their mothers through responsive care.
5What age are the children who accompany their mothers to prison?
The Kenya Prisons Service has allowed children under four years to accompany their mothers to prison, where they are accorded relatively proper care. This is provided under Section 30of the Prison’s Act; it states:
“..the infant child of a female prisoner may be received into prison with its mother and may be supplied with clothing and necessaries at public expense. Provided that such child shall only be permitted to remain in prison until it attains the age of four years or until arrangements for its proper care outside prison are concluded, whichever shall be the earlier.”
6What are some of the activities Clean Start does for the children living in prison with their mothers:
● Provide the children with the knowledge and information on their human rights and mitigation strategies when in conflict with the law.
● Safeguards the holistic well-being of children living in prison with their mothers through responsive care.
● Advocate for children’s rights in the criminal justice system.
7What are some of the activities Clean Start does for the children leaving prison after reaching four years:
● Advocate for children’s rights.
● Prepare the children for the outside world.
● Facilitate the reconciliation and support of the children and their family.
● Offer family support specifically to children of imprisoned women.
8What are some of Clean Start achievements and action steps:
● Having worked extensively with 4 prisons over the last 3 years, Clean Start has built trust with the institutions, resulting in an acute understanding about the challenges that Formerly Incarcerated Women face along with the issues from the perspective of the Criminal Justice System.
● 80 women and girls from Dagoretti Rehabilitation School, Kirigiti Rehabilitation School, Kamae Borstal Institution and Langata Women’s Maximum Prison have benefited from the Spear Program. The Spear Program is a six-week attitudinal and behaviour-change programme which empowers inmates and helps them realise their potential. This course has been customized for the Kenyan context by the Coaches at Clean Start and was serving three demographics in three correctional institutions: • Langata Women Maximum Security Prison (over 18-year-olds) • Dagoretti Girls’ Rehabilitation School (10-15-year-olds) and • Kamae Girls’ Borstal Institution (15-18-year-olds) 30 Spear women and girl trainees have since been transitioned upon release into:
1. Reintegration into family and community.
2. Education.
3. Vocational Training.
4. Entrepreneurship.
5. Employment.
● Clean Start Solutions trained 60 Kenya Prison Service Officers in key institutions in coaching & the Spear Program. The training helped the officers gain an understanding of the Spear Course methodology required to improve their work with women & girls. The Organization also trained 80 officers from the Kenya Prison Service in the ‘Equipping For Change’ training program (EFC). This training also included personnel from the children department, The Department of Children’s Services and The Department of Probation and After-Care Services. The Coaching Programmes for the women, girls and prison officers was only made possible through the support of Resurgo Trust, a UK Charity which had licensed use of its materials and supported us in the customization of the course for the Kenyan context.
● Clean Start also participated in the Kenya Civil Society Organizations (CSO) complementary report to the African Committee of Experts on the rights and welfare of the child (ACERWC) in response to the combined 2nd and 3rd periodic report of 2012-2017.
● The Day of the African Child was a significant highlight because CS organized and participated in the celebrations for the first time ever. The event received press coverage from The People Daily in an article that amplified stories on the plight of children in juvenile justice institutions. CS enrolled children from 3 Juvenile Justice institutions during the reporting back to the African Charter. The children voted for delegates to take the findings to the Committee of Experts where one of the children was elected to represent the others at the 34th ordinary session covering the period 2012-2017 in Addis Ababa.
Action Steps:
● Advocacy for implementation of the United Nations Bangkok Rules: The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (‘the Bangkok Rules’*) were adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2010 and fill a long-standing lack of standards providing for the specific characteristics and needs of women offenders and prisoners.
● A New Normal: Clean Start recognizes its unique ability to bring a new normal to an environment that has long presented our target population with challenges that have dragged them into the trenches of despair.
● Our utmost goal is a coalition of formerly imprisoned women that agitates for the rights of FIW, data collection and research into reintegration and safeguarding holistic well-being of children of imprisoned mothers.
● Clean Start Solutions will establish itself as a leader within the social justice and human rights sector representing the issues of women and children affected by the criminal justice system over the next ten years.
9What is the C.O.F.I.W?
This is a Coalition of Formerly Incarcerated Women, established to advocate for women and their children affected by the criminal justice system.
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