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Reading: Dr. Adama Kalokoh Honored with Presidential Award for Voluntary Service
Reading: Dr. Adama Kalokoh Honored with Presidential Award for Voluntary Service

Dr. Adama Kalokoh Honored with Presidential Award for Voluntary Service

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Sallu Kamuskay
By Sallu Kamuskay 8 Min Read
8 Min Read
Dr. Adama Kalokoh Honored with Presidential Award for Voluntary Service
Dr. Adama Kalokoh Honored with Presidential Award for Voluntary Service

Sierra Leone’s strong advocate for women and girls Dr. Adama Kalokoh has been honoured with Presidential Award for Voluntary Service. The award is an opportunity to honor the most outstanding volunteers and recognize the impact they make .

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is one such award that recognizes individuals who have completed more than 4,000 hours of community service

Adama Kalokoh is a strong advocate for women and girls in Sierra Leone. She is the CEO and Founder of impact Sierra Leone, an organization founded to reduce socioeconomic challenges in Sierra Leone through empowerment, education, and building strong partnerships with the Diaspora community.  Her passion for helping others and devotion to the service of humanity was crystalized after she made her first visit to Sierra Leone in 2003 and realized the tremendous need to help rebuild a fragile nation that still harbors the trappings of instability.

She was born Adama Conteh, in Washington DC. The USA, to the union of James I. Conteh and Harriett Memuna Sesay. Her parents both migrated to the United States in the late 1970s. The second of five (5) siblings, the Contehs were raised in a loving-Christian home environment. Her parents instilled in them, a deep sense of pride and appreciation for their Sierra Leonean heritage. Adama’s parents imbued in her the importance of being a proud African child that must never lose sight of her heritage. Mrs. Sesay taught young Adama to never allow herself to be defined by the whims of others and to always remember that “greatness lies within you;” which is the driving force of Adama’s inspiration.

She attended the Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington D.C. and graduated in 1996. After graduation, she enlisted in the United States Air Force. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of the District of Columbia majoring in Public Health.  She honorably served for four (4) years specializing in dietetics and nutrition and acquiring many other technical and life-skills training. She holds a Bachelor of Science – Health Education, University of the District of Columbia,

Upon conclusion of her education, Adama began volunteerism work with Americorps (2001 – 2003) as a Director. Her work proved very rewarding, as a result, she was inducted as a Fellow into the Americorps Promise Fellowship. She also served as Volunteer Program Coordinator for the HOPE Worldwide Mid-Atlantic non-profit organization between 2004-2005, and was again inducted as a Fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Fellowship. Her volunteer activities led her to reach thousands of marginalized people through the successful coordination of services to soup kitchens, shelters, and schools. She currently serves as the Director of Development for the Save The Young Girls Foundation Orphanage as well the US representative for several schools in Yonibana.

Due to her experience of volunteerism, she felt a great sense of responsibility, challenge, and inspiration to become an Ambassador and Agent-of-change for girls and women in Sierra Leone. Since then, Kalokoh has worked tirelessly to raise the consciousness of Americans and the Global Community to the plight of women and girls in Sierra Leone. At the same time, she is working to sensitize, uplift, and reinforce women in Sierra Leone to role model as “actors of change,” – a key ingredient that ensures social inclusion, gender equality and peacebuilding. This framework emphasized that engagement with Civil Society working on girls and women’s rights should inform country-level programs, regardless of the sector.  It advances the idea that women’s organizations should participate as equal stakeholders and accountability agents in local, national, legislative, and policy-making processes at all levels. Ms. Kalokoh has contributed meaningfully to the fields of Education and Health for girls and women in her ancestral village.

She has been honored and received recognition in Sierra Leone and the United States as the Yonibana Brand Ambassador, Female Empowerment Entrepreneur and Chief Patron of the Yonibana Student Association (YOSA) Award, nominated as a 2019 Global Good Will Ambassador and was also among the Top 100 Recognized Human Rights Defenders 2019 Almanac. In addition, her commanding personality has made her a natural for hosting a series of successful fund-raising events through collaboration with the community association and church organizations in the Washington DC Beltway between 2004 and 2019.

This deep appreciation of her cultural heritage led Kalokoh to finally visit Sierra Leone for the first time in 2003, followed by three consecutive visits. Her series of visits to the Motherland advanced her strong desire and interest in using her knowledge, skills, and influence to advocate for and empower less fortunate village girls in Sierra Leone. Kalokoh observed many of the disparities in the economy, education and health systems, and the vast amount of poverty within the country. As a result, upon her return to the states, Adama coordinated many fundraising efforts in the U.S to bring awareness and help solve some of the pressing issues in Sierra Leone. She chose, as a primary focus, to help support women and girls in rural areas because of their huge lack of resources and access to services. In 2010, Adama joined five other members to form an organization called Me Against Poverty, Inc. (MAP). Her role as Vice Chairman and Marketing Specialist had a huge impact on much of the group’s success. She coordinated many of the fundraising, marketing, and promotion events for the group. As a MAP member, her efforts contributed to (a) the construction of a library/resource center, (b) the awarding of 80 Scholarships for qualifying students, and (c) the distribution of backpacks and school supplies for the Yonibana Secondary School (YSS). Her efforts at YSS made her realize the importance of education as a critical ingredient for eradicating poverty within vulnerable communities

Ms. Kalokoh truly believes there is so much power in supporting Sierra Leone as a descendant. She hopes that her efforts will inspire other descendants of Africa to embrace their culture and positively impact their home country. Ms. Kalokoh currently is the Director for Impact Sierra Leone, Inc. which supports empowerment and education programs in Sierra Leone (www.impactsierraleone.org).

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Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean communication strategist, fixer, blogger, youth organiser, event manager, spokesperson, and public relations expert. His work has been regularly referenced and published by national and international media and public policy institutions. Sallu Kamuskay was a child during the brutal war in Sierra Leone. Growing up in the midst of conflict, Sallu witnessed unimaginable abuse of children and gross violations of human rights. The horrors he witnessed during the Civil War had a terrible impact on him at a very tender age. But despite the shock of the war, Sallu never lost hope. He started on a journey of recovery, studying, and working for a better future. At age 15, Sallu entered into the world of activism and advocacy. Sallu Kamuskay was the Vice President of the Young Leaders Organisation, a member of the National Youth Council. The Young Leaders is one of the oldest youth-led organisations in West Africa. The organisation was formed by a group of young leaders, and launched by the then Head of State/President of Sierra Leone. Sallu was part of the group of young leaders who participated in and contributed to the establishment of the National Youth Council. The Commonwealth supported the training for trainers programme with line ministries and youth stakeholders in which key, representatives of youth council, student union and civil society/private sector youth platforms were engaged and empowered in the effective engagement and inclusion of youth. Sallu is co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global multimedia and public relations firm based In Sierra Leone. Sallu has worked on various developmental and policy issues such as Poverty, Climate Change, Human rights, Child Rights, Education, Health, Gender Equality, Civic Engagement, Government policies, Information Communication Technology for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, and has also been contributing to various global events and advocacy campaigns. Sallu Kamuskay is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global Multimedia and Public Relations Firm based in Sierra Leone with the latest news and information, on top stories, business, politics, entertainment, and more. Sallu is working with a leading technology company in Africa, Techfrica, that has recently developed and launched a social media, messaging Supfrica with over 150,000 downloads on the Google play store in less than 4 days. He is the Adviser and Media coordinator for the App to give people the platform to connect and communicate to help shape their future with a very fast internet that allows users that live in deprived and hard-to-reach areas with poor internet facility to be able to communicate as it allows and stronger on 2 and 3 G network reception. Sallu has over 9 years of experience in youth engagement, inclusion, and coordination both at local and global levels, giving voice to young people and engaging young people to build a better world. He has served as coordinator for the Wave Alliance which brought together youth-led organisations who attended an international training in South Africa organized by the International Organization – Waves for Change. Sallu is working with the MLT, Waves For Change, and the Government to develop safe spaces for young people, with a view to contributing to the overall development goals of young people including health, as well as to community rebuilding. Sallu is currently the Programme Director for the Wave Alliance, which is a coalition of youth-led and community-based organisations that have successfully introduced evidence-based Surf Therapy programs to young people in communities, with a focus on mental health, peace building and sustainable development. Sallu is currently the focal point and face of Africa’s Faces Social media platform which is a global Social media platform that brings together people from across the world to share their moments, connect, share videos, and interact with friends giving more preference to excluded continents like Africa. Sallu Kamuskay has devoted his time to working for or contributing to a number of national and international organizations and companies, including the Techfrica Technology Company, United Nations, ECOWAS, European Union, Commonwealth Africa Initiatives. This work has led him to travel to a number of countries to contribute to global youth platforms. Sallu is the lead Coordinator for Peace Tour programme, an initiative supported by the European Union, Africa Union, ECOWAS focusing on uniting and empowering young people and local communities. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize. Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.