Prison Ministry Strategy
5 Pillars for Expanding
the FOMM Prison Outreach
and Community Ministry
“Ministries come and go, but FOMM has been a friend all the way through since 2010. They give 100% of what they promise” - Leader of a Malagasy program funded by FOMM
Table of Contents
“I am free!”
Prison Ministry Madagascar (PMM) is supported by Friends of Madagascar Mission which is based in Minnesota, USA. It is a program where the Christian faith and social justice intersect in a very real way. First, to set people free through the power of the gospel and secondly, to provide care and provisions for their needs while in prison and to advocate for their rights to fair and just treatment. Following their release from prison, we seek to equip and empower people to stand firm in their freedom as they re-integrate into society. The motto, “Standing Firm” expresses our desire to support people to thrive spiritually, relationally and vocationally after they are released from prison.
During my visits to prisons in Madagascar I am introduced to prisoners and asked to give a greeting. The prisoners become very attentive as my words are translated from English to Malagasy. When visiting the men’s prison in the city of Fianarantsoa, I entered a large, open air auditorium, with the men crouched down on their haunches. I saw a sea of heads with nearly 300 men gathered and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
I spoke to the men about freedom.
“You are probably not feeling free right now that you have been arrested and brought here. Some of you are waiting for your time before a judge, some of you have been sentenced and kept here to serve out your time. Whatever your condition, God through Jesus Christ has proclaimed you free!”
I told them about the promise of Jesus in John 8:36: “So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” I continued by saying, “Real freedom is not just being out of this prison, but being set free for a life of meaning, hope and purpose because Jesus Christ died for your sins - whether you are in prison or not.”
As I left that gymnasium, many prisoners leaned forward eagerly to shake my hand. One young man who spoke very good English said, “Yes, I am free through Jesus Christ!”
Those words ring through my mind whenever I think of the Prison Ministry. If it was only that one person who had gained freedom, the efforts would be worthwhile. I’m continually encouraged to see the positive impact of the prison ministry program that is supported by FOMM. God is doing great things through the ministry and so I am sticking with it, hoping to see it grow and expand because God is at the center of all that we are working to accomplish together!
We are always warmly welcomed to the prisons by the prison authorities and guards. The Madagascar Government Ministry of Justice which operates the prisons encourages FOMM to support the expansion of prison ministry programs. They do this because they see the improvement in attitude and hope in the behavior of the prisoners.
Additional projects we would like to support include:
- Funding a PhD scholarship in research into conditions in prisons in Madagascar; this research could be used to publish books, develop video documentaries, present papers at conferences and generally raise the profile of people’s needs in Madagascar
- Funding scholarships for people (women in particular) to complete their studies by returning to school, going to college or progressing on to university
- Establishing innovative educational programs, e.g. online learning portals to support literacy training and learning in a variety of ways for prisoners, their families and the general community
- Expanding FOMMs relationship with other organizations, churches and groups that share a similar vision. As “friends” of Madagascar, we seek to increase our relationship with other friends and strengthen our mutual goals through collaborative efforts.
What are our specific plans for supporting the expansion of PMM? This strategy document outlines the key areas we want to develop over the next five years and beyond. We would like to continue forging links between USA and Madagascar through education and awareness programs. For example, taking USA, Australian and other citizens to Madagascar to raise awareness of international issues including poverty relief, nutrition, women’s rights, children’s rights and development aid projects.
These projects may include short-term service in literacy training, e.g. train residents from Minnesota and other international locations to teach literacy, travel to Madagascar to do short-term projects such as teaching and poverty relief initiatives and provide environmental education in communities. In short, we would like to see those who visit Madagascar and have their eyes opened to the struggles of the people participate in advocacy when they return to USA and their own countries to encourage philanthropy that fosters capacity building of the Malagasy people.
Rev. David P. Lerseth (FOMM Vice President and Executive Director)
David is a Lutheran pastor who has served parishes in Rosholt, SD; Peoria (Bartonville), IL; as an assistant to Bishop L. David Brown of the Iowa District/ALC; Aberdeen, SD; and as Director of Global Mission Support for the ELCA, Chicago. Upon retirement he began Friends of Madagascar Mission in 2009 and serves the mission without remuneration. Since retirement, David has served as interim pastor at Ingleside, IL. and also at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bloomington, MN. He is a graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD; and Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He and his wife, Diane, reside in Victoria, MN. He enjoys landscape gardening, driving his restored 1929 Model A Ford, and doing charitable auctions as a professionally trained auctioneer.
Pastor Theodoric Rajaonary
Theodoric is a Pastor in a Parish called FLM Itaosy in Antananarivo. He and his wife Voaly are the founders of Prison Ministry Madagascar (PMM), which was established in 2004. PMM started with six volunteers who conducted outreach into three prisons. This has now expanded to 350 volunteers (pastors, catechists and shepherds) in 16 prisons. Theodoric leads Program II at PMM, which reaches into prisons outside of the Antananarivo Synod and conducts training for new volunteers from local churches. He has a degree in theology (2007) and holds a Master of Art of Religion (2018) as well as Bachelor’s diploma in Social Work (1997). In addition to leading PMM, Theodoric also works with Lutheran Deaf Center. Theodoric is married to Voaly, a theologian who teaches New Testament and Greek at the Lutheran Seminary in Antsirabe.
Voaly co-founded PMM with her husband Theodoric in 2004 with the aim of evangelising and serving prisoners. She is a theologian who teaches New Testament and Greek at the Antsirabe Seminary, one of the six Lutheran seminaries in Madagascar. Voaly works part- time at the seminary and also serves in the congregation with Theodoric, as a leader of a women’s group. Voaly serves as a shepherd (someone who is appointed and consecrated by the church to minister to those in spiritual need). She and Theodoric have three sons.
Denise is the Director of the Prison Ministry Madagascar (2018-2020) and coordinator of the financial oversight for programs supported by FOMM (2019-2020). Denise is qualified in leadership training, accounting and theology. Denise is active in church life and ministry She is Married to Moze and has four children (two sons and two daughters) and two grandchildren.
David is a Messianic Jew who came to faith in Jesus the Messiah at a young age. He is a trained teacher and works as an online learning specialist and educational strategy consultant in Melbourne, Australia where he lives with his wife and daughter. He is part of a local Anglican church community and has a heart for missions related to orphanages, education, poverty relief and capability development and has actively engaged in supporting programs and projects in these areas for more than 25 years. He is currently completing a research PhD in Education for which he developed software for improving the quality of learning design. David is a classical guitarist and plays in a community orchestra in Melbourne.
Madagascar Government Ministry of Justice
The official government ministry that manages all prisons in Madagascar.
Malagasy Lutheran Church (FLM)
The body to which FOMM relates in all of its programming.
Prison Ministry Madagascar Bureau
The official non-profit organization that manages and implements prison outreach programs.
Prison Ministry Madagascar
The Prison Ministry Program began in 2004 after Pastor Theodoric Rajaonary was falsely accused of a crime, imprisoned for a time and then acquitted through the support of his wife, congregation and friends. Following his imprisonment Pastor Theodoric, his wife and members of the congregation began visiting the prison. The pastor, as a result of knowing the needs and conditions of the prisoners from his incarceration, developed a ministry centered on worship, teaching, counselling, subsidizing food needs and a presence of Christian care and love. The program grew in the number of pastors, shepherds and friends visiting the prison each week. The number of prisons being visited is steadily increasing in number, with the only deterrent being the financial support needed to maintain a program in each prison.
The Prison Ministry Program began as a group of Christians from Hope Lutheran Church in Antananarivo, Madagascar, but was a separate organization from the congregation called the Prison Ministry Madagascar Bureau (PMM). The Bureau was struggling with having the financial resources to maintain the ministry in one prison. In 2010 an American missionary in Madagascar encouraged Friends of Madagascar Mission, located in Minnesota, to support this program. The relationship between the PMM and FOMM has continued to grow and develop into a strong relationship which includes financial support and a well-structured system of financial accountability, reporting and auditing.
In July of 2016, during a visit to Madagascar by the Rev. David P. Lerseth, president of Friends of Madagascar Mission, he raised the question with the Prison Ministry Madagascar Bureau about who owns this ministry. After a long discussion they determined that they needed to become an approved association by the Madagascar government. On January 29, 2018 the final documents were approved and the Prison Ministry Madagascar became an official association.
The Prison Ministry Madagascar owns the ministry and makes the decisions regarding the operation of the program. So what is the relationship between PMM and FOMM? FOMM does not own the program. FOMM provides financial support to maintain the program. FOMM meets with the PMM to discuss the program and makes suggestions about it, but the final decisions are always made by the PMM Bureau. They own the program!
Letter of appreciation, PMM
On behalf of Prison Ministry Madagascar (PMM), we are very thankful and appreciate the support from Friends of Madagascar Mission (FOMM) who send us regular funds every quarter to support our activities to serve prisoners in Madagascar. You are a faithful partner, because we started with three prisons in 2013 and now we are in fifteen prisons in Madagascar. We hope that you will continue to support our activities and to expand/ to reach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all prisons in Madagascar (82 prisons).
Statement by 22 evangelists in the Andriry Betroka Synod of Madagascar
“We are happy to address you dynamic, faithful and loving collaborators within FOMM. We are very grateful because we know that you love us and you continue to support us especially in this time of crisis”
Penitentiary Administration Specialized Educator: First Responsible for the Minor Section
Dear Rev David,
We, Penitentiary Administration First Responsible in Antananarivo Prison are pleased to give thanks to you FOMM Board and the Malagasy Lutheran Hope Church 67 for the great mission supporting the inmates in Antananarivo Prison.
We realize that your supports are so important especially during the season of the corona virus pandemic. Occasionally, you are the only one organization feeding the inmates.
We’re so glad cooperating with you. May Our God rich in grace reward what you have done and will do for the needy.
Jesus said in. Matthew 25: 40 “…Truly I said to you, in as much as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.”
We, Penitentiary Administration in Antanimora Prison appreciate and hope that our collaboration will continue.
Thank you so very much indeed.
FOMM has been involved in prison ministry in Madagascar since 2010 because of God’s call through the incarceration of Pastor Theodoric Rajaonary. Theodoric’s 10-month incarceration enabled him to realize that prisoners needed both spiritual help and humanitarian aid. When he was freed from prison, he gathered his friends and asked them to work together to serve prisoners. The Christian organization called Prison Ministry Madagascar was born, which has grown from strength to strength over the past ten years.
Prison Ministry Madagascar works within Lutheran Church and all of the members are from the Lutheran Church. When new outreaches in prisons are initiated, people from local churches are engaged to support prison outreach work. For example, twenty pastors and shepherds from the local Lutheran community were trained to initiate the new 2020 outreach to child prisoners in Ambatoratsy prison in Antalaha in the Northeastern region of Madagascar.
The role of Tobys and Shepherds in the Malagasy Church
- Tobys are community hubs developed by the Lutheran Church and reformed churches, where people are educated and where care is provided to elderly, mentally ill and others in need within the community.
- Employees of the Tobys live in the Toby (similar to a Church/community center), where the goal is to train people for Christian service).
- All leaders are part of a Toby and Shepherds are required to do social ministry, e.g. taking care mentally ill people.
Seminaries in Madagascar
- There are 8 regional Lutheran seminaries in Madagascar.
- Ministerial students graduate with a B.Th., after which they may engage in ministry. For example, Voaly Rajaonary (Pastor Theodoric’s wife) is qualified for this ministry and has completed a research thesis on prison ministry work. Voaly’s thesis encapsulates the vision of the prison ministry: “I gave some advice to church leaders in two areas: First, to persuade church leaders to not discriminate against ex-prisoners, to comfort them and not give up working with them, but to raise them again to be part of society as they are also God’s people and some of them want to change their lives. Secondly, to build and create a vocational training center and dormitory for those who are discriminated against by their family.”
Friends of Madagascar Mission: Board of Directors
President: Timothy P. Larson
Ordained a Lutheran pastor in 1980, Tim has served congregations in Thor, IA; Hampton, IA; Minneota, MN; Fond du Lac, WI, and Willmar, MN. He is a graduate of Concordia College, Moorhead, MN; and Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. Retiring from active parish ministry in 2018 Tim and his wife, Connie, live in Willmar, MN. He is an avid sportsman, enjoys golf and has been a PGA Championship Hole Marshal for the Professional Golf Association of America. Currently Tim works with a local custom harvester, combing wheat, canola, corn & soybeans in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.
Vice-President and Executive Director: David P. Lerseth
(See page 5)
Secretary: Catherine Marks
A stay-at-home parent who previously was in the Human Resources field for 18 years. She is a graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD. She and her husband, Ted, along with their two children reside in Eden Prairie, MN. In her spare time she enjoys working out, doing home projects and spending quality time with her family and friends!
Treasurer: Kirsten Schlicht
A Client Relations Manager with St. Croix Solutions, Minnetonka, MN. She has been in the technology field for the past 12 years. She is a graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD. She and her husband, Jeff and sons, reside in Jordan, MN. She enjoys running, cooking and reading in her spare time.
Loren Morschen is a registered architect and is currently a firm principal in Linner Morschen Architects based in Chaska, Minnesota. From 1993 through 1998 Loren and his family lived and worked in Madagascar designing and constructing hospitals and other mission related structures, primarily with the ELCA mission. Loren also keeps busy with his wife Stephanie and four children. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota.
A Lutheran Pastor who has served parishes in Oil City, PA; Chicago, IL; Volga, SD, and Watertown, SD. A graduate of Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD; and Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He and his wife, Roberta, reside in Hutchinson, MN. He enjoys reading books about contemporary trends in today’s culture and just about any theological issues; and cooking and baking.
Craig T. Norenberg
Currently serves as co-founder of Avant Private Communities, LLC, a real estate development company with an emphasis on market rate and senior housing. Craig also serves as a Director of Let’s Go Fishing (LGF), a 501.c.3 nonprofit headquartered in Willmar, MN, and Treasurer of Stellar Impact Foundation. Prior to joining these organizations, he co-founded two high tech startup companies in the twin cities, the latest of which is StealthMark, Inc. Prior to the startups, Craig spent his career in financial management for both Medtronic, Inc. and Control Data Corporation. Craig is married and lives with his wife, Eileen, in Brooklyn Center, MN. They have two adult daughters and five grandchildren.
A Lutheran pastor who together with his wife served as missionaries to Madagascar, and as pastor at Highview Christiania Lutheran Church, Farmington, and Trondhjem Lutheran Church, Lonsdale, MN, North Heights Lutheran Church, Roseville and Arden Hills, MN, and interim pastorates at four churches in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. He is a graduate of Augsburg College and Seminary, and Luther Seminary with MTh and DMin degrees. His hobby is writing articles and authoring books on victorious Christian living.
A Lutheran layman who worked as a missionary in Cameroon, Africa from 1990 - 1997, serving as a director of a publishing ministry. He has a BA in Math and a MBA in Finance from California State University, Los Angeles. His primary career was working in the space exploration program as a financial analyst with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He and his wife Penny now live in Florida in the winter and spend their summers in Minnesota. They have two grown daughters and have a goal of visiting all 50 state capitol buildings in the USA.
Madagascar Department of Prisons
The mission of the Madagascar Ministry of Justice is: "To ensure the rule of law and ensure that the administration of justice is trustworthy, inclusive and respectful of human rights."
The Ministry of Justice is responsible to:
- strengthen the anti-corruption system and sanctions for corruption in the judicial system
- improve the legal environment to ensure the speed and transparency of litigation through the reform of laws aimed at simplifying court proceedings
- speed up processing of pending cases in all jurisdictions
- promote respect for human rights and strengthen their protection
- humanize prison detention.
Friends of Madagascar Mission has exerted a significant impact in the lives of prisoners and other ministries in Madagascar over the past decade through spiritual support and humanitarian aid. This document summarizes the work of FOMM to date and provides considerable background information to inform readers of the strong foundation FOMM has laid over the past decade.
Strategy 2020 expresses dreams, hopes and challenges for the future. In this strategy document there are some programs that already exist but could be improved and expanded. Other programs are totally new and require development and implementation. Each project will require its own plan that outlines how it will be managed and resourced.
This strategy represents a massive expansion of the Prison Ministry both in breadth (expanding from 15 to 82 prisons) and depth (49 sub-points or goals listed under the 5 Pillars). If even part of it is implemented, it could revolutionise the function and role of prisons and prison life in Madagascar.
Who owns the prison ministry program? The program was initiated by Hope Lutheran Church in Antananarivo, where volunteers supported Pastor Theodoric through his incarceration. After Theodoric was released, there was an interest amongst support volunteers to continue supporting other prisoners. As a result, a governing board called the Prison Bureau was formally established and registered through the Police Department. The Prison Bureau, which is frequently referenced in this strategy document, has an infrastructure in place to provide oversight and to ensure accountability in the running of PMM.
Currently, FOMM supports active outreach programs in 15 out of 82 prisons (18 %), with vocational training programs in five prisons: Fianarantsoa, Antsirabe, Arivonimamo, Miarinarivo and Mahajanga. The training programs are set up in collaboration with the officer in charge of the prison who engages talented prisoners to lead training in handicrafts and organizes the purchase of resources and materials for training endeavors.
This strategy is underpinned by a vision to establish a five-fold increase in prison outreach and a twenty-fold increase in vocational training at an anticipated cost in excess of USD $250,000.00 per year. The uniqueness of this expanded vision is that it is based on a sustainable model that facilitates the establishment of enterprises to support the prison ministry. The aim of this approach is to build capacity and as a result decrease dependence on outside support over time until the prison ministry is fully self-sustaining through enterprises such as manufacturing, product sales and services. For example, Project 5 in this strategy has the goal of introducing welding training into prisons.
The PMM program supported by FOMM includes evangelism, provision of food, skills training and Bible-based literacy programs. The goal of this strategy is to increase the types of outreach activities with the goal of having an active role in 100% of prisons so that every prisoner who so chooses can have the opportunity to become equipped for reintegration into society as productive citizens, whether they are from urban or rural communities.
This document serves to clarify the 4 current pillars on which the current ministry of FOMM is based, which are: Evangelism, Nutrition, Vocational and Enterprise Training, and Educational Literacy and Advocacy. In addition, the strategy has been expanded to a 5th pillar: Post-Prison Life. The 5th pillar supports the engagement of former prisoners into society and if they wish, establish their own business enterprises through micro-loans and other enabling and empowering mechanisms. The Vocational Training and Enterprise pillar of this strategy has the goal of increasing the self-supporting capacity of former prisoners and of Prison Ministry Madagascar.
It is FOMM’s vision to support lower recidivism rates by fostering community support and providing tangible forms of guidance that encourage the productive re-engagement of former prisoners in their communities and society. This will continue to be done through the vision which is expressed in the “5 E’s”: Evangelism, Education, Enablement, Empowerment and Enterprise.
Galatians 5:1 teaches: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” The key points of this vision are expressed in “5 E’s”: Evangelism, Education, Enablement, Empowerment and Enterprise. The main aims and goals of the strategy are as follows:
- Establish sustainable evangelistic outreach programs to prisoners in all prisons (82) in Madagascar.
- Partner with local churches and community shepherds in the vicinity of each of the 82 prisons to train volunteer and evangelists, Bible study and prayer leaders, vocational trainers, literacy teachers and other support workers.
- Establish vocational training programs in every prison so every prisoner gains at least one marketable skill, as well as enterprise training, e.g. writing a Business Plan, which they can use to earn a living when they leave prison and return to society, whether in urban or rural communities.
- Coordinate with churches so that ex-prisoners become part of a community group that enables them to “stand firm” (Gal. 5:1) by reconnecting with churches and community and engaging in productive work.
- Provide micro-loans to ex-prisoners to support their establishment in self-managed enterprises in their home communities, based on conditions and reasonable repayment plans.
- Develop a sustainable training/enterprise model that can be replicated in all 82 prisons, with the aim of decreasing levels of support in relation to increasing income from former prisoners’ enterprise activities, with the goal of each prison outreach to become fully self-supporting through product manufacturing and sales in Madagascar and overseas.
- Establish training centers in the community, e.g. bakery, food production, yoghurt production kitchens and production farms near every prison where food can be produced for prisoners. Additional food can also be produced for sale to street vendors and others in the community as part of the self-sustainability model.
- Advocate for the rights of prisoners e.g. health and welfare issues arising in prison, legal help and representation (where possible).
- Advocate for prisoners returning home e.g. develop programs to train communities in how to welcome prisoners back and re-integrate them into church and society.
- Apply for funds from the US State Department and other sources, using this strategy document to support project grant applications.
- Goal of this pillar
- Sharing the gospel with prisoners in all 82 prisons in Madagascar.
- Complement evangelistic outreach with confirmation and catechism classes.
- Offer Bible-based literacy programs in all prisons using the Bible for discipleship training and as a learning resource.
- Additional information
- As prison outreach increases from the current 15 to the full set of 82 prisons a cloud based, database-driven reporting system will need to be set up for ease of data management and reporting.
- This can be as simple as a Google Sheets account but may require a professional reporting application in future.
- All reporting, policies, procedures, forms and guidelines will need to be formally documented and stored in an online document management system so processes can be replicated as increasing numbers of prisons are reached.
- Goal of this pillar
- To ensure that prisoners have additional food to support their nutritional and health needs.
- To support prisoners whose families do not provide them with additional food.
- To engage a qualified nutritionist to design the menu for supplementary food to ensure the diet has maximum nutrition as well as cost-effectiveness.
- Record and report on the provision of supplements and to whom as part of the overall reporting and monitoring strategy.
- Additional information
- The prison system assumes that the families of prisoners will supplement the prison diet which consists mostly of low-nutritional value cassava by bringing food to prisoners daily.
- Rice is provided regularly by PMM with additional protein added depending on availability and affordability.
- Support may be obtained from SALFA which has 9 hostels and clinics across Madagascar, with doctors and other medically trained staff to provide guidance on nutritional needs that are cost-effective and healthy.
- Records need to be kept on the prisoner feeding scheme, e.g. how many prisons are being reached, how prisoners are supplied with food, type of food provided, etc.
- FOMM is planning to investigate the possibility of setting up farms near prisons to grow food to supply to prisoners, e.g. vegetables, laying hens etc. and FOMM is planning to engage the Madagascar Department of Justice in discussions about this possibility.
- Goal of this pillar
- Implement a vocational training program in every prison which will be run by skilled Malagasy people.
- Provide training to every prisoner who would like to develop skills, e.g. on-site or off-site where permitted.
- Facilitate financial inclusion of former prisoners as they re-engage in society after leaving prison.
- Promote short-term visits by international volunteers who have key skills, e.g. organizing short-term training projects to take teams to Madagascar to run skills training projects for prisoners.
- Encourage businesses to set up production factories in Madagascar where locals and former prisoners can be employed.
- Extend current training vocational programs to increase range of training offered skills- (e.g. identify top 10 blue-collar in-demand professions in Madagascar and develop these into prison training programs/courses in the following areas:
- Cooking and Hospitality
- Sewing (seamstress/tailor)
- Mechanical training
- Welding training.
- All training programs to be underpinned by literacy and stewardship training.
- Develop a model where FOMM donations can be offset or supplemented by the enterprises of the prisoners after they leave prison, e.g. teaching of stewardship includes training prisoners to become increasingly self-supporting and also contribute funds to Madagascar Prison Ministry programs.
- Additional information
- Develop a brand and logo for products created by prisoners or former prisoners, e.g. Lemur products.
- Link to the micro-Loan pillar (Pillar 5), i.e. prisoners may apply and qualify for a micro-loan under certain conditions (e.g. attaining a marketable skill, developing a business plan and agreeing to pay back the loan at set terms).
- Provide drip irrigation training (see Project 1), i.e. prisoners can learn how to develop sustainable and productive food garden to implement when they return to their communities in order to develop self-sustaining food production and selling surplus produce in the local community. This training program is particularly relevant for prisoners returning to rural communities and could be run on community farms when they are set up.
- Develop a pilot training project in welding in prisons.
- FOMM to investigate setting up a commercial welding training school in Antananarivo to provide profits to PMM (see Project 5).
- Goals of this pillar
- Educational training and preparedness for a productive and contributory life after prison including increased literacy, numeracy and catechism training.
- Hiring lawyers to represent prisoners (where possible).
- Facilitating mentorship, trauma counselling and other forms of counselling for prisoners and for child prisoners in particular.
- Prisoner advocacy through engaging writers and media producers to research and develop media such as books and films on international development relevant to Madagascar.
- Provide education within communities about how to treat returning prisoners e.g. provide education to churches to become formally recognised as "former-prisoner friendly".
- Develop a training program with documentation for the “former-prisoner friendly” program, e.g. people can be trained to visit communities before prisoners are released and educate people of how to treat former prisoners.
- Arrange visits to former prisoners and communities to see how well integration is occurring and to provide additional support.
- Connect with universities and schools in Madagascar to collaborate on program and resource development for prisoners e.g. investigate how the new Lutheran University in Madagascar may be involved in this program.
- Establish university research scholarships in USA, Australia and Madagascar to eligible students to engage in international development studies in Madagascar, e.g. imprisonment, women’s rights, children’s rights, water conservation, effective farming methods, impact of global warming, economic empowerment in rural communities, financial inclusion of people in rural communities, resilience of communities in drought-stricken areas, etc.
- Additional information
- Provide enterprise training for former prisoners in how to set up a business in their community. Voaly Rajaonary to advise as she has completed a research thesis in this area.
- Set up mobile libraries to take books to villages “Books to Villages” project.
- Set up a Malagasy Women’s Education Fund for Nofiy I Androy school (supporting girls who wish to complete their education and progress to higher education).
- Continue encouraging singing, choral training and musical instrumental training.
- Set up online Moodle Learning Management System/portal for delivering learning resources:
- Store learning and ministry resources that can be downloaded/accessed by prison ministry leaders and workers across Madagascar
- Provide online training in areas of need e.g. health training
- Set up dedicated areas with resources needed by each prison.
- Offer online training courses in using the online portal.
- Find out if the Prison Bureau will allow online training to be implemented.
- Goal of this pillar
- Provide support and means of enablement, e.g. conditional micro-loans to prisoners leaving prison in order to support their start-up enterprise and re-engagement in the community, whether in urban or rural environments.
- Where prisoners return to villages in rural areas, provide support to develop cottage industries in manufacturing, farming techniques such as drip irrigation, etc.* (see Point 8 of this section).
- Establish the “Standing Firm” program with logo (fish and broken chain with verse from Galatians 5:1), which will include advocacy and training with Churches to welcome former prisoners back into the community.
- Enable financial education and inclusion by linking former prisoners to digital money transfer system (when this is available).
- Collaborate with banks to administer micro-loans, enable savings, obtain further loans and facilitate financial inclusion.
- Additional information
An adapted quote from a research article provides insight into the broader impact of skilled prisoners returning to life in rural communities:
Poverty is an old phenomenon and it requires a prolonged process to be averted from society. Numerous principles have been depicted in order to alleviate this social malignancy, although more than a billion of poverty-stricken people exist. Poverty reduction for rural people is possible with reviving the age-old cottage industries in villages. A group of rural artisans practising a similar trade can create a lot of opportunities for higher income and new possibilities may emerge. The cottage industry may be very familiar to villagers since in many cases these have been practised for generations. The only requirement is to assist villagers by the introduction of a conducive atmosphere and providing them the required mental and technical support to get out of the vicious poverty cycle. The cumulative effort of cooperative enterprises may decrease obstacles to success, with the resulting possibility of betterment of lifestyle of the rural artisans and villages in general (Bhattacharyya, 2014).
Ref adapted from Bhattacharyya, D. (2014). Alleviation of rural poverty by cottage industry clusters. Pratidhwani the Echo. A Peer-Reviewed Indexed International Journal of Humanities & Social Science.
- Who does the work of the 5 pillars?
- Local congregations will lead the outreach to each prison and may include:
- trained ministers
- shepherds who are based in local Tobys (community education, training and care centers) and who can support the prison outreach ministry.
- Who provides the funds and resources for the 5 pillars?
- FOMM with its network of donors in USA and internationally
- The PMM Bureau also provides some funds
- Local people who support PMM through donations
- Additional support from organizations, corporations, churches, individuals, trusts, etc. will be sought by FOMM
- Local enterprise development will be encouraged to provide skills to prisoners and evangelists so they may become financially self-sufficient and less dependent on external support i.e. using a “tent-making” model where both evangelisms and enterprise are combined.
- Who supervises this work?
- The Prison Bureau of PMM is responsible for the whole program and supervises evangelistic activities, food distribution, educational training and vocational programs in prisons
- As the ministry expands to more prisons it is envisioned that an Executive Director role will need to be created to manage the increased administrative and co-ordination workload related to this pillar.
- Who evaluates the work?
- Self-evaluation is conducted by key personnel based on specific questions asked by FOMM
- PMM has established a form for reporting back to FOMM on key aspects of programs which will be expanded to include reporting on all pillars
- FOMM has a committee for reviewing and evaluating programs
- Reports are provided to FOMM by PMM on evangelistic activities on the basis of "no reports, no money".
- What is the chain of command for coordination of the work?
- Prison Ministry Madagascar runs the program in Madagascar
- FOMM receives detailed reports on finances and programs on a quarterly basis.
- What is the relationship of this pillar's operations to the Prison Bureau, the Ministry of Justice in Madagascar and FOMM?
- FOMM has a good relationship with PMMs Prison Bureau and the Madagascar Government Ministry of Justice
- The Ministry of Justice has told the Bureau they want PMM to expand their ministry into more prisons
- Permission has been given to provide in-prison vocational/skills training.
- Present Strategy 2020 to stakeholders.
- Engage in discussion and feedback on Strategy 2020.
- Stakeholders will help shape and form proposals for implementation that align with their own policies, resourcing capabilities and time frames.
- Stakeholders will develop and articulate specific project plans with achievable time frames.
- Funding will be sourced from individual donors and funding bodies for project implementation
- The goal of all projects is to become self-sustaining.
- Projects will be implemented and managed by appointed personnel in Madagascar.
- Projects will be evaluated and reported on through their entire life-cycle according to the FOMM financial and management accountability standards
The following projects are examples of vocational training programs that are already implemented or could be implemented as part Pillar 3 (Vocational and Enterprise Training) and Pillar 5 (Post-Prison Life) of Strategy 2020.
The drip irrigation training project enables people to learn how to garden sustainably to provide food for themselves and family on limited land space
- This is an adopted program (by a FOMM architect who is also a Rotary member).
- Rotary is putting solar energy project together for hospital.
- Crops are drying up and people learn to set up drip irrigation system.
- 15 x 25 m of land can support a family.
- Two teaching locations for teaching drip irrigation techniques: 1. Ejeda Bible school (a solar pump is a current need); 2. Manasoa (the water source comes from highland spring-fields and pumps have been provided.
- Each location (Ejeda and Mansoa) has a drip irrigation project and hospitals are used as teaching places.
- After completing their training, trainees receive a free system valued at $25 that consists of 100m of pipe and a 5-gallon bucket and emitters.
- Trainees plant cactus around perimeter fence or use other fencing materials.
A full report on the drip irrigation project is available on the FOMM website.
The prison system in Madagascar is based upon the French judicial system which uses pre-trial detention. This means thousands of people continue to languish in Malagasy prisons without having been found guilty of any crime.
Pre-trial detention is routinely used in cases involving children, some of whom are held alongside adults in violation of Madagascar’s own laws, as well as regional and international law and standards which Madagascar is bound to. Children are often held against their best interests in inhumane conditions for non-violent or petty offences, subjecting them to a range of human rights violations.
In February 2019, Amnesty International was informed of the placement in pre-trial detention of two children, aged 6 and 10 years old, in the Maroantsetra prison. After spending one night in the children’s section, they spent a week in the prison director’s home. Under Malagasy law children under 13 cannot be subject to imprisonment.
Amnesty International reports: "The excessive use of pre-trial detention in Madagascar is unjust and abusive, and it has now reached crisis levels with up to 14,000 people held,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa. "Pre-trial detention is mostly used against poor people who cannot afford lawyers to get them out of prison. The Malagasy authorities cannot continue keeping thousands of people who have not been found guilty of any crime in jail.”
Pre-trial detainees in Madagascar are held in appalling conditions that pose a threat to their lives, and fall far short of international, regional and national human rights law and standards. This situation creates an environment where violations of a range of human rights have become commonplace, including: arbitrary detention; breaches of fair trial guarantees; and, violations of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This means detainees are forced to live in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, without adequate access to food or healthcare.
Pre-trial detention is mostly used against poor people who cannot afford lawyers to get them out of prison. The Malagasy authorities cannot continue keeping thousands of people who have not been found guilty of any crime in jail. Pre-trial detainees held in Madagascar’s prisons often have to wait months or years before their trial, even for minor offences such as chicken theft.
As of February 2019, the majority of detainees in Madagascar were in pre-trial detention. That includes 55% of men, 69% of women, 69% of boys and 72% of girls. Madagascar’s Constitution states that pre-trial detention should be an exceptional measure. However, it has become the standard.
- Goal of Project
- Advocacy for children’s rights and just treatment under the law
- Provide regular supplementary food to children to support their nutritional and health needs
- Provide training so that children leave prison with training in marketable skills, e.g. food production and selling (bread/soup/yoghurt), water delivery, etc.
- Children have the option to access a micro-loan to purchase resources to start their own business, e.g. a bicycle/ tote box with food-warmer/cooler boxes/trolley for water delivery
- Set up local farms near prisons which can serve as half-way houses for children to continue training after leaving prison and prepare for re-integration into society
- Set up tutoring centers near schools where children can obtain support in their studies and develop practical skills
- Children may stay at the farm or other training facility after leaving prison as they integrate back into society; mentorship and ongoing training will be provided as part of farms communities .
- Create Role of a Project Facilitator to set up the program
- The Project Facilitator (local or international) will be a 3-month role to initiate and set up the project in Madagascar
- The Project Facilitator will coordinate all aspects of the new Vocational Trainer role based on a documented position description and will include sourcing premises for food preparation for prisoners and extended vocational training
- The Project Facilitator will be based in a local church in Antalaha, or available to remain in Antalaha for the duration of the project set up
- The Project Facilitator will interview, recruit and train a Vocational Trainer in running the prison vocational training ministry with training in Work Health and Safety, safe food handling, baking, food production and distribution as well as enterprise skills
- The Project Facilitator will work with the Vocational Trainer to source premises for the bakery and food production kitchen, set up bakery with equipment, investigate possible sale of bread and other food products to street vendors and other marketing possibilities
- The Project Facilitator will obtain local business operating licenses (if required)
- The Project Facilitator will document and report on the entire set up process so it can be replicated for other prisons
- The Project Facilitator will work with relevant stakeholders to ensure all processes, procedures and reporting lines are established and correctly managed over the 3-month project set up phase.
- Create Vocational Trainer Role to run program (minimum of 12 months)
Part 1 of Vocational Trainer Role (2 years)
- The Vocational Trainer will be recruited by the Project Facilitator based on a written position description, is a paid role and will work under the leadership of the local church pastor
- The Vocational Trainer will initially work together with the Project Facilitator for 3 months to ensure the project is set up and running and then work independently
- The rationale for having a paid Vocational Trainer role is that the professional expectations and time commitment required for the role i.e. full-time commitment to developing the project
- The Vocational Trainer role will become self-funding by the end of the 2-year contract through food production and sales in the community
- A venue will be provided where a production kitchen outside the prison will be based for producing food for the daily needs of the children
- The Vocational Trainer will prepare food in bulk and deliver to all children in Ambatoratsy Prison (131 children) three times a day according to menu which has been designed by nutritionist to include the most nutritious ingredients available
- The Vocational Trainer will organize and coordinate the purchase and provision of supplies for food production e.g. rice, grains, beans, vegetables
- The Vocational Trainer will recruit and train volunteers from local churches to support the baking and food production process for the children
- The Vocational Trainer will ensure that training and necessary food handling licenses are obtained from local council (if applicable) and ensure required fee is paid
- The Vocational Trainer will work with a nutrition advisor and church volunteer teams to coordinate and train the children inside a prison facility to produce food products (bread, yoghurt, soup) based on recipes that are highly nutritious and include protein, vegetables, grains, etc.
- The Vocational Trainer will coordinate prison deliveries of food to children three times daily e.g. breakfast (porridge), lunch (soup and bread), dinner (rice/meat/grains)
- Design and document training program for children in food production skills in prison: bread, soup, rice, stew, yoghurt
- The Vocational Trainer will document all processes, procedures, recipes and methods which will be stored in an online portal for Madagascar-wide access
- The Vocational Trainer will liaise with the prison authorities to set up sanitary space in prison for food production training and storage of supplies.
Part 2 of Vocational Trainer Role
- The Vocational Trainer will produce additional food for sale in local community and distribution channels for the sale of products
- The Vocational Trainer will develop the processes for volunteers to sell food in local community
- The Vocational Trainer will work towards becoming financially self-sustainable through food production and sales so the prison food supply can become increasingy self-supporting.
- Who does the work of these roles?
- 3-month engagement of Trainer/Supervisor
- Minimum 24-month Vocational Trainer role.
- Additional information
Proposed job descriptions for roles to support outreach to Antalaha Ambatoratsy Children’s Prison. These proposed roles are subject to modification through FOMM/PMM discussions.
5a. Job Title: Antalaha Ambatoratsy Vocational Trainer
This role is suited to a Vocational Trainer who has the range of skills, training and entrenpreneurship required to fulfil all parts of the job description.
5c. Vocational Trainer Role Summary
Think, plan and act innovatively and resourcefully to fulfil the goals of the role with limited resources, secure supplies and resources to make a success of the role, establish distribution networks for the sales of food products, manage volunteers and document procedures and be responsible to submit the required reports of work done.
5d. Responsibilities and Duties of the Vocational Trainer
Teach in the vocational programs for the children inside prison e.g. food, preparation, business techniques, financial skills so that children can engage in full-time or part-time paid productive work after leaving prison. Also set up and manage a production kitchen outside prison to produce and provide the daily food needs of children.
5e. Day to Day Activities:
Keep records for reporting of each day’s work and submit weekly reports to MPM office.
5f. How Does this Work Fit into the Prison Ministry Program and FOMM Strategy
- The Prison Ministry Program is a holistic program across Madagascar’s prison system operated by the Ministry of Justice and with their permission
- The FOMM Prison Ministry Program strategy is made up of 5 Pillars that form the foundation of all outreach activities: Evangelism, Nutrition, Vocational Training, Education/Literacy/Advocacy and micro-loans
- All pillars work/coordinate together to provide redemption for the prisoners to a brighter future where they “stand firm” in their faith and in their new post-prison role in the community
- The Children’s Prison Vocational Trainer is an important position to complement spiritual care and nutritional needs to help the children develop hope for their future once they leave the prison.
5g. Qualifications and Skills of the Vocational Trainer
- Has business enterprise skills to develop a new food production business i.e. knows how to safely run a production kitchen and to develop distribution channels for food products in the local community
- Understand that the role needs to become increasingly self-supporting over the 2-year period
- A love and concern for children held in a prison
- Preferably a graduate from an FLM Bible School and approved by the FLM for ministry
- Willing to work under the leadership of a local church pastor and participate in local congregational life
- Skills and competency in one or more vocational training areas, e.g. cooking, food production and hospitality work
- Includes teaching about the Christian faith, literacy and other career skills as part of their vocational calling to teacher and train children
- Understands and applies Work Health and Safety regulations, sanitary working conditions, hygienic food storage and handling, etc.
- Can keep daily records and submit regular and timely reports on the work conducted in providing food for children as well as producing food for sale.
Welding training is a project under consideration as a vocational training skill for prisoners. The training company Seabery has developed a computerised augmented reality training system that is safe to use and takes approximately 50% less time to master welding skills than traditional training. The system provides professional training in carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium welding (GMAW, FCAW, GTAW and SMAW).
To set up a 1-year pilot program, the following steps would be involved:
- Employ a welding trainer in Antananarivo who will be trained by Seabery in the use of the augmented reality training units
- Purchase 4 augmented reality welding training units
- Obtain a trailer and vehicle for transporting the training units to prisons (the units may be built into a trailer as a mobile classroom)
- Obtain storage space for trailer and welding training units in Antananarivo
- Obtain permission to set up the training in one prison in Antananarivo
- Recruit 150 trainees into the pilot program for the first year, e.g. schedule 4 X 3-month training courses to train 35 trainees in each 3-month cycle
- Trainees each receive 75 hours of training over the 60-day course.
Cost proposal for 3-year delivery of welding program (360 trainees)
Cost (USD) Year 1
Cost (USD) Year 2
Cost (USD) Year 3
Augmented Reality units X 4
Total cost of 3-year program
Average cost per year for program
Cost per trainee in Year 1
USD 41 per hour
Cost per trainee in Year 2
USD 1.76 per hour
Cost per trainee in Year 3
USD 1.76 per hour
List of ministries, mission works in Madagascar, and relevant articles and papers:
- Friends of Madagascar Mission - Website
- Amnesty International Report – “Punished for Being Poor”
- BBC News Article – The Children in Prison for Stealing Vanilla
- Prison Fellowship Madagascar – Facebook Page
- Operation Mobilisation Madagascar
- I’m a Lutheran – Article on Meta Paubert and Link to Nofyoandroy Website
- Prisoners for Christ Outreach Ministries – 2018 Report_
- World Bank Report - Madagascar: $45 Million to Promote Financial Inclusion of Individuals and Small Enterprises
- Friends of Madagascar Mission (FOMM) is legally organized as a non-profit organization under the laws of the State of Minnesota, USA and was established on December 29, 2009.
- On December 11, 2010, FOMM’s application for tax exempt status in the USA was accepted. This means that FOMM is exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Annually FOMM must submit a financial report with the State of Minnesota and the USA Internal Revenue Service to maintain its non-profit tax exempt status.
- As a result FOMM also pays to have an annual audit of financial reports by a certified CPA company. This report is reported publically on FOMM’s web page to show our donors that we have met the government’s requirements to be transparent in reporting our income and expenses for a specific year.
- In addition FOMM hires an auditing firm in Madagascar to do an annual audit of all programs receiving funds from FOMM. The bookkeepers from all of the programs receiving funds have been trained in the “FOMM Financial Standards” and are required to send quarterly financial reports according to those standards to FOMM (A copy of the FOMM Financial Standards is available on request)
- Building trust with FOMM donors is important. In addition to the auditing of the financial records both in the USA and in Madagascar we also report to our donors what their donations are accomplishing programmatically. Letters, reports, photos, newsletters and annual reports are used to share the stories of the dollars at work in mission and ministry in Madagascar.
Evangelism is at the heart of the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Currently 41% of the country's population is Christian, 7% is Muslim and 52% is animists (natural religion, ancestors/spirits affect our daily life).
The evangelism program is under the leadership of the 25 synods of the Malagasy Lutheran Church. Currently FOMM assists with this program in 3 of the synods and has an invitation from 2 additional synods to assist them. The evangelists are paid $600.00 a year in salary, which is about double the average salary in Madagascar.
The evangelists are responsible for reaching out to areas where the people have not yet heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a ministry of witnessing, teaching and preaching. The evangelists work in remote regions where there are not many Christians. They need support in their work so each year FOMM pays for an Evangelist Training event to bring the evangelists together for mutual support, teaching sessions and reminds them of their commitment to represent the Gospel in their daily life and work. The cost for each evangelist to attend this event is $100, which includes travel, meals en route, an indemnity, lodging, food and program for three days of meetings.
The total cost for support of an evangelist is $700.00 per year. Sponsors include individuals, congregations and small groups. The sponsors receive quarterly reports of the work of their evangelist and once a year they receive a photo and a letter from their evangelist.
A recent story of a young man who will become an evangelist (included in the Spring FOMM Newsletter: “One day he and his friends, about 150 of them, were stealing cattle and suddenly helicopters arrived with soldiers to arrest these thieves. Jeremiah and some of his friends fled into a forest and then entered into a rock cave. The soldiers found them in the cave and threw a grenade at them. All of his friends were killed but he was not even wounded. In the midst of this chaos Jeremiah saw a man in a white robe standing before him, protecting him, but he could not see His face. Then he slept among his dead friends, and he pre-tended to be dead. When the soldiers left, he retreated and left the cave, but the souls of his friends who had died followed him. As a result, he became insane. His relatives took him to the witch doctor, but they could not heal him. Finally, his family took him to the Lutheran Church. After three months of teaching and care by the evangelists and pastors, and the casting out of demons, he was healed.” (As told by Pastor Jean Norbert Andriamihaja, evangelist coordinator for the Betroka Synod.)
This is a wonderful story of the work of the church and the evangelist in the Betroka Synod among the Bara people. He was baptized and changed his name to Jeremiah. Once a bandit, now a child of God! He is currently learning how to read and write so in September 2020 he and his wife will begin studying to be evangelists at the Mananovy Bible School (supported by FOMM). They will be effective communicators to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the bandits, because they understand all of the bandits’ secrets.
National Prison Ministry Bureau (“The Bureau”) of Prison Ministry Madagascar (PMM)
- Makes decisions for the management of the program.
- A national coordinator from the Bureau manages the daily program of the prison ministry and receives all reports.
- Responsible for the financial management of the program.
- Responsible for the training program, manuals and assigning trainers for each prison program.
FLM Synod’s Prison Ministry - Oversight Bureau
- Each synod has a Prison Ministry Advisory Bureau that receives reports from every Prison Ministry in their synod and files a single report to the National Prison Ministry Bureau semi-annually.
- The synod bureau is an advocate for prisoners returning home to receive them into the local congregations and use them as resource persons in the synod and local communities.
- Support the “Standing Firm” groups in their synod.
Local FLM Congregations - Relating to a Prison Ministry
- The local congregation carries out the daily ministry in a prison and coordinates the personnel, the materials needed and the schedules.
- Keeps financial and all activity reports and submits the reports monthly to the Synod Bureau who in return submits the reports to the National Prison Ministry Bureau.
- Supports the local “Standing Firm” prisoner support group in their community and provides oversight and leadership to maintain the group’s purpose.