Through our work, we have built a strong community of listeners across Sierra Leone. We celebrate key women’s rights advocates in our communities every year during the international 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence campaign.
We are proud to present below the 30 grassroots leaders selected for our “Community Influencer” award. Ten were selected from each of the three regions where we work. Each provided strong support as we worked to eliminate sexual and gender based violence in Sierra Leone. Certificates were presented at ceremonies held in December 2021, supported in part by our media partner Africell.
Musu Bockarie is a youth and very much interested in our podcasts. She helps us in her school to gather people when we are playing our podcasts. She is the female youth chair and part of the community police. She is very supportive of our work. She noted during the ceremony that the certificate was like a blessing to her – she wasn’t expecting special recognition. This award has inspired her to do more!
Isata Daboh is an activist and works as a community police officer at the Blama FSU which is one of our community service organization (CSO) partners. Isata has being working with us on advancing justice for women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence. She has a strong interest in our work and noted during the ceremony that our award was “like heaven to her.” She would now like to do more than what she was doing previously.
Juan Benya is the paramount chief’s wife of Small Bo chiefdom in Kenema. Juan is a very strong activist for women and children, working to advance the well-being of all those in her community. She is also a teacher at Blama Saint Joseph Secondary School where she handles gender-based violence cases with great care. This is the first time her efforts have been recognized and it motivates her to continue to stand up for women and children in her community.
Chief Amara Sonjo Vangahun is the Chief of Hangha Town and kindly gave us his barry that we used in our jingle that plays at the beginning of our podcasts in Kenema. He often plays it for his colleagues and enjoys talking about it. MMW appreciates this musical addition to our podcasts as well as his helpfulness to our overall operations. He makes good use of the information we provide as his work has a strong focus on women and children’s rights. He was very appreciative of our award.
Lansana Feika is a young listener of our MMW podcasts – he is very interested in our work and helps with outreach to expand our listener base. He believes that through engagement with our podcasts he has learned a great deal and has learned how to become a valued and respected community member. He helps us to gather people to listen to our podcasts, and has been a very good volunteer and contributor, including recently reporting a case of sexual violence to authorities.
Chief Fayah Brima is the Chief at Jurmu Kafebu whose door is always open to women and to our field staff. He is a regular listener of our podcasts and he shares them widely. He is a highly supportive community leader and friend to MMW. When it comes to women’s rights, he is very pleased with the work that MMW is doing in his community. He said during our award ceremony that he appreciates the gift very much and will continue to actively promote MMW among his constituents and colleagues.
Pa Alimamy Conteh is the Section Chief of Gbante Chiefdom. He has been a strong and consistent supporter of MMW. He informs his community about the laws and penalties relating to violence against women and advocates for increased sex and civic education. He is a leader in his community and uses his connections to support government and social services in handling of perpetrators of violence against women.
Mathew Tholley is the Director of the Polio Person’s Development Association (PoPDA). He and his wife have been blessed with two lovely boys. He is a consistent and strong champion of women and girl’s empowerment issues in the polio camp where he works to promote the welfare and wellbeing of all of the physically challenged persons within the PoPDA.
Edna Ngegba is a teacher and a journalist. Edna uses her professional platforms to speak for women and girls on issues affecting them. She collaborates with many other partners who are also passionate about advocating for women and girls. She hosts a radio program in her area focused on women and girls and gives many of her listeners the opportunity to speak on the airwaves for themselves.
Madam Juliana Y. Conteh was once a Councilor and is currently a teacher at the Binkolo Community. Madam Juliana believes the way to end violence is to educate them on their rights, and to create empowerment opportunities for women in politics, she works hard as an advocate in her community to tackle these issues. To do this, we must strengthen the educational system, and especially pay more attention to girls from poorer families.
Alimatu T. Kamara is an entrepreneur, hairdresser and chairlady. Mrs. Alimatu is viewed by many women and girls in her community as a hardworking mentor and role model in her political involvement. She strongly advises others to accept leadership positions, to work to be independent and to keep learning. She has formed a club to educate women about business, their rights and responsibilities in their homes and society, and encourage political engagement.
Ramatu Kargbo is a trader, chairlady and a widow with five children from Rogbom community. She is very hardworking, and a strong advocate, including on issues relevant to the women and girls in her community. She is a strong role model who believes women and girls are contributors to nation building. An important aspect of her advocacy work is towards ending gender based violence against women and girls.
Ya Nadawa Koroma is from Mankeneh Mathanah village. She is a farmer and also a petty trader with five children. She assists the Town Crier in gathering women to listen to MMW podcasts, advocates effectively on the rights of women, counsels young women on the importance of girls’ education, the disadvantages of early marriage, and gender-based violence. She loves her community very much and believes the many podcasts from the MMW staff have been an important, positive influence since they were first introduced.
Aminata Gbla is an entrepreneur, agriculturist and chairlady in Mamamkie, where women have not had a female representative until she took her leadership role. She said that it was due to her hearing our podcasts that she decided to be the chairlady. This took a certain amount of boldness but even without an education she advocates for women and girls. During her acceptance speech she said, “We will only stop cases of SGBV in our community if we start reporting these cases. As a leader in this community, I will do all I can to make sure that these cases are reported and dealt with properly. With this award I will double my efforts on this critical issue.”
Mariatu M. Turay is a trader and chairlady at Mabureh community. She is very passionate about supporting women’s rights and advocating on their behalf on matters that affect them physically, emotionally, and economically. She has been supporting women and girls to help them to be more self-reliant and less dependent. She is divorced with two children.
Chief Santigie Kapen Koroma is from Patebana Masimbo village. He is a highly regarded ceremonial chief for the surrounding villages and doubles as the Chairman for the primary school in Patebana Masimbo. He was once a youth leader in his village, where he handled conflicts between men and women. He is a leader with no tolerance for violence against women, and celebrates using MMW messages on domestic violence. He is a strong supporter of MMW staff and the podcasts they produce and distribute.
Iris Findley is a teacher at the Forum for African Women Educationalists. She has been a loyal listener of MMW and uses them to educate girls in both her school and community. She has been serving as a community watch representative and is ready to raise alarm on any violence taking place. When she received our award, she expressed her appreciation noting that it has motivated her. Her work comes with significant personal risk; she was attacked by the father of six girls whom she counseled against FGM for health reasons.
ABDUL KARIM YILLAH is the proprietor of the CRYEAN Vocational Center at Macdonald village that empowers young women with skills. He plays MMW podcasts to his students. When receiving our award he said, “I express my heartfelt delight to have received this prize. I hope to continue fighting against sexual and gender-based violence and women’s empowerment. This accomplishment is a significant milestone in my life and the CRYEAN Vocational Center.”
ABIBATU KAMARA-Boro Community. She is chairlady of the Petty Trader Women Association of Boro Community 55. She is a loyal and enthusiastic listener of MMW podcasts. She has interest in the empowerment of women and has been very supportive of the work of MMW. She helps to gather women to listen to the podcasts whenever our field workers visit her community.
BRIMA YUSIF KAMARA is a Councilor in the Cole Town Community which is one of MMW’s main areas of outreach. He is a teacher who believes in the empowerment of both genders and has played a major role in helping to popularize the work of MMW, especially among young people. He always gives time to MMW’s activities and suggests ways in which we can reach out to more stakeholders in the district.
ALIMAMY N. KAMARA is the Proprietor of the Nelsal Academy at Banga Farm Community. He has been very supportive in the promotion of MMW by making his school available to field workers to play the podcasts and to hold discussions around the topics raised. His school sent adolescent girls to be educated on Sexuality Education. The school owns a loud speaker which he makes available to the team.
AMINATA MANSARAY is a trader and one of MMW’s most avid listeners since we first established a partnership with “Girls in STEM”. Through our reporting in our podcasts she has gained a strong interest in the fight against violence against women and girls in her community in Lumpa village. She refers women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence for support and advice from our field workers.
MOHAMED KALOKOH is a tailor and a regular listener of MMW podcasts in Morabie Community. He allows our field workers to play the podcasts at his tailor’s shop and is always ready to receive the podcasts on his phone which he plays for his children and also shares with other people.
AMINATA MANSARAY used to be a Lead Mother for ACF, an NGO focusing on pregnant and lactating mothers in the Newtown Village. Through her work at ACF she became popular as an advocate for the protection of women and girls from violence. Our podcasts have inspired her to continue this role, as well as sharing our podcasts among her community.
FATMATA KARGBO is the chairlady of Massantigie. She has been one of the long- time listeners and supporters of MMW since it was established at the village. She has been very active among the men of the village advocating about the work of MMW and reporting relevant issues about the developments within the Community.
MOHAMED O. KANU is the Headman of Massantigie. Since he took over leadership he has been very supportive to MMW’s work. He helped restructure the team of field workers at the village and organized the donation of a portion of land in the village to ensure effective dissemination of our broadcasts. He is always available to help MMW when requested.