Showing posts from April, 2013

Sierra Leone | Diasporan leads Second Wind of Change

Amadu Massally was born in Sierra Leone during an era when the wind of change was blowing through the African continent and the growth of national consciousness was a political fact. An American-educated accountant, Amadu worked in the United States for more than two decades. In 2004, when the U.S. government set up its Millennium Challenge Corporation,  Amadu was one of the first Sierra Leoneans abroad to see opportunities for his low-income home land.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. The MCC is changing the conversation on how best to deliver U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results.

In December 2012, the government of Sierra Leone announced their selection for MCC compact funding. Countries are either awarded funding for a five-year program, known as a compact, or given a smaller amount for a shorter program, known as a threshold.

Sierra Leone | It's Saturday and Always Ten O’Clock Somewhere

It's Saturday and always Ten o'clock somewhere. For Sierra Leoneans on Facebook like Aroun Rashid Deen, Sia Matturi Josiah, Eva O'rielly-Jones (and yours truly) memories of Gipu Felix-George on the old Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) will never fade.

Saturday Shindig every week at 10:00 am? We set our clocks by him!” Arnold Aubee recalled.

Gipu's fans remember a broadcasting trailblazer— the nation's most accomplished, bar none. I doubt many would disagree. Saturday Shindig, Sierra Leone's popular top of the global music chart's show, was on air for almost two decades. Sewa News is honored to bring you an interview with one of the nation's broadcasting icons on our Independence Day.

Sewa News: You were one of the best-known personalities in Sierra Leone in the 1970-80s. How did you break into broadcasting?

Gipu Felix-George Snr: I had two breaks. Firstly, John Akar,  then director of the SLBS [Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service], visited my scho…

Independence Day with Sierra Leone Writers Series


Sierra Leone | INTERVIEW


Sierra Leone | In Pursuit of the American Dream

2015 will be a landmark year for Nenneh Tajudeen. A New Jersey-based case manager and part-time child therapist,  she  is looking forward to becoming a university professor. Nenneh moved to America from Sierra Leone at sixteen.
Sewa News: What was it like moving to America in the 1980s?

Nenneh Tajudeen: As a new immigrant in 1986, all I knew was getting an education. I  enrolled at Hunter College [of the City University of New York] in 1988 while learning English as a second language and basic math.  It took years to complete remedial courses but I was finally able to graduate in 1995. I became a public relations officer with the Africa Umoja (Swahili for Unity) club formed by African students at Hunter. During my senior year, I was president of the African club where I learned dealing with [people] was not an easy thing. I ignored so many not-so-good comments from all races and put much effort in concentrating to graduate. I repeated some courses but that was fine with me and made me…

Sierra Leone | Rethinking Teenage Pregnancy

“Teenage Pregnancy Balloons in Sierra Leone” blared a newspaper headline this week, reporting concerns raised at a summit organized by the African Youth Conference against Hunger in Freetown. In one village in eastern Sierra Leone, a 14-year-old mother who has three children spoke about the organization she'd set up to empower other teenage moms in her region. But the social entrepreneur is not alone in her drive to help.

Peagie Foday, née Woobay, 42, also hails from the east. This March, Peagie and husband, Emmanuel, launched the Peagie Woobay Scholarship Award Fund for the Sierra Leonean girl child

 "The organization will offer free tuition throughout secondary school," Peagie told Sewa News from their home in Sweden. "I will also fight to put in place all teenage mothers need to succeed."

Peagie has ambitious plans for daycare centers, vocational skills training, and talk shows in schools.

"It's not easy for a girl child but if they happen to fa…

International Mother Earth Day | Mama Salone

"International Mother Earth Day is a chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature at a time when our planet is under threat from climate change, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and other man-made problems. When we threaten the planet, we undermine our only home – and our future survival. On this International Day, let us renew our pledges to honor and respect Mother Earth."--Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 
Pictures and scenes of Mama Salone from around the Web

Inventor launches Tool to help Communities in Sierra Leone Solve One Problem At a Time

Founded on Monday, 6th April 1925 as the first Science institution in West Africa, the school named for the Prince of Wales has produced some of the best and brightest over generations. Sadly, funding from the government of Sierra Leone hasn't kept up.  Plans are reportedly underway for local architectural and engineering firms to do a study on the rescue and rehabilitation of the school's seafront on the city's “injured coast” and a study on the renovation of the storied school.

Rod King, who hails from Freetown, attended the all-boys public secondary school where he was a head boy (valedictorian) in 1976. After completing high school, he attended Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone, where he graduated in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He worked for five years as a civil engineer at Techsult & Co. Ltd, a civil engineering consultancy in the capital, before leaving the country to complete his master’s and doctorate degrees at th…

Sierra Leone | Language and Culture without Borders

Carol Sallymatu Bangura got a shout out from the  GWB (Green, White and Blue) Commission on International Women's Day. But GWB, a leading event planner for the District of Columbia's metropolitan west African community, wasn't just celebrating Bangura's past accomplishments that won her the 2012 "Humanitarian Award." This year's recognition was more about the great strides Bangura has made since.
Schools Without Borders, Inc., the non-profit educational support organization she founded for African and Caribbean children in Philadelphia, has helped diverse students in the program improve their scores in state proficiency standards and assessments. SWB has also helped adults in GED preparation and in raising their literacy levels. Early in 2013, the Philadelphia-based SWB center started a new academic language program; just in time for International Mother Language Day. To mark the occasion, Bangura  also went to the nation's capital to discuss cultural…

Sierra Leone | At the Frontline of Global Health

Aroon Fona is an advocacy writer. In his weekend commentary on Rescue Line Sierra Leone, founded by Sulaymasis Yankay Sankoh, Fona shared his perspective on malaria and looked back to an eminent Sierra Leonean medical doctor and herbalist for some lessons learned.

"25th April is World Malaria Day," Fona observes. However, in Sierra Leone, it's really "funeral day" for those who've lost [or] are losing their lives to a disease he says is "preventable and curable."

According to World Health Organization data published in 2011, malaria related deaths [made up] eighteen percent of the total death count in Sierra Leone, he explained. “The children are most vulnerable.”

Fona also thinks that had Sierra Leone built on the efforts of trailblazing Dr. Cole and the west African nation encouraged its long pipeline of students and medical personnel to continue Cole's research, the number of lives lost to malaria would have been zero by now.

"The dise…

Sierra Leone | Food, Glorious Food!

April is Earth Month and Sewa News thought there was no better way to celebrate than with a wholesome spread from the new eco-savvy Homeshed Kitchens launched by Sierra Leonean transplant Jeanette Warne.

Warne loves creating delicious and surprising menus that overwhelm your senses--with food that hasn't been overly processed or tampered with. In Warne's world, gourmet is just a meal prepared with fresh ingredients requiring  little else to highlight its character and taste. Sewa News Stream caught up with the intrepid food goddess and business owner online.

Sewa News: Have you launched a bakery, patisserie, or restaurant?

Jeanette Warne: None of the above!  Homeshed Kitchens provides bakery, patisserie, catering and event services to  its clients.  We are partnered with several Maryland businesses and wineries to sell our signature pastry goods and breads. Our main concern is to foster the flow of food from the area where it is produced to the place where it is consumed, incl…

Sierra Leone | Living in Gangsta’s Paradise


Tapping the Power of the Sierra Leonean Diaspora


Remembering the Gendema Invasion 22 Years On

The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002) began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. The resulting civil war lasted nearly 11 years, enveloped the country, and left more than 50,000 dead.