This blog has been contributed by Daniel Adyera, Undergraduate Laws graduate with the University of London. This is the second in his series of two blog posts. Why You Should Plan Your Journey With Excitement! -Part 1 concentrates on his struggles with juggling studies with other commitments
Please note views expressed on the following blog are those of the author and publication on the Undergraduate Laws blog does not constitute an endorsement.
Since then, I became bound to my new found love for my journey and enthusiasm to achieve my purpose, to become a useful lawyer in my society. I started making radical changes to my routine and became an ardent follower of ‘hard’ books. As an independent student I drafted a time table which I followed with discipline. I carefully followed the subject guides, text books, recommended readings, regularly visited the VLE and made personal notes that were useful during exams. I set annual themes and daily academic targets just like my high school head teacher always advised. In my first year, my theme was: In the pursuit of excellence. When exam results were released, I had passed all my registered modules. In my second year, my theme was: Re-engineering the pursuit of excellence. I registered for Jurisprudence, Tort, Land Law and Law of Trusts. Again, I passed all the modules. Finally, in my third year in 2014, my theme was: Realising lasting and consistent excellence I registered for Evidence, Civil and Criminal Procedure, European Union Law and International Protection of Human Rights. Again, I passed all my modules and was confirmed for graduation. Important to note is that my results improved annually. My second year results were better than my first years and my third year results were the best.
After finishing my studies, in November 2014, I volunteered as a law tutor with the African Prisons Project, a charity that provides access to legal education to inmates in Uganda and Kenya who are studying with the University of London. Somehow I felt that now my legal education would create a difference in someone’s life. Initially, I taught inmates in Uganda’s Luzira Maximum Security Prison before I went to Kenya, where I spent a full year (2015) teaching law in three different maximum security prisons (Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Naivasha Maximum Security Prison and Lang’ata Women’s Maximum Security Prison). The idea of teaching inmates law was to enable them become in-house advocates for not only themselves but also for fellow inmates. Through drafting successful court appeals and other documents, a number of inmates were set free. I met and made friends in Uganda and Kenya both within and outside prison walls whom I am still in touch today.
In 2016, I left Kenya to pursue my further study in South Korea. I then proceeded to The Netherlands and pursued a Master in Laws (LL.M) in Forensics, Criminology and Law. My choice of LL.M was inspired by my prison experience of working with inmates and hope to influence criminal policy and bring about criminal justice reforms. In 2018, I briefly worked in The Hague as an International Justice Associate with Africa Legal Aid, a member of the Coalition of the International Criminal Court before finally returning to Uganda. Upon my return, I taught law at two local universities before being appointed Acting Dean of the newly created College of Forensics, Crime and Investigative Sciences at one of the universities. I am also founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy, an independent think tank carrying out research, consultancy and advocacy on matters concerning criminal law, criminal justice and security. In November 2019, I graduated from a Youth4Policy programme, a policy research and advocacy fellowship under Konrad Adenanuer Stiftung. I authored a policy brief on ‘Criminal Radicalisation and Ethnic Extremism among South Sudanese refugees in Uganda’.
In October last year, I was invited by one of my former students in Kenya to attend their graduation ceremony. It was one of those few days I will always remember. Most of my former inmate students had won their court appeals and regained their freedom and were receiving their LL.B degree wards from one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world. I sat overwhelmed with joy. I felt I had laid a brick at the foundation of their academic journey. I am already collaborating with a few of them on some criminal justice projects. Now, I plan all my journeys with excitement.