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Reading: Meet Hamza Koroma: Author and Advocate for Alternative Development in Sierra Leone
Reading: Meet Hamza Koroma: Author and Advocate for Alternative Development in Sierra Leone

Meet Hamza Koroma: Author and Advocate for Alternative Development in Sierra Leone

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Sallu Kamuskay
By Sallu Kamuskay 592 Views 12 Min Read
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Book author: Born on the 29th of July 1992, at Koeyor Village, Gbenseh Chiefdom, Kono District.  Hamza Koroma is a researcher, advocate, Rotaractor, and writer. He recently published the book ‘Alternative development’ that seeks towards analyzing the problems of Sierra Leone and how best the Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Societies, and individuals can work with the message in helping to solve these problems.

Born in Sierra Leone during the long decade civil war, Hamza Koroma relocated to The Gambia as a refugee with his family where he furthered his primary, secondary, senior secondary, and part of his university education. Raised in a humble and Islamic home in Serre Kunda, Gambia, to parents both of whom were teachers with five siblings including his twin partner. He grew up learning and practicing Gambia culture. Like many foreigners, Hamza and his family encountered a lot of challenges ranging from discrimination and stigmatization by some Gambians.

In the Gambia, Hamza Koroma attended the St. Theresa’s and Pipeline Comprehensive School where he completed his primary education, he later moved to the Ndow’s Junior Secondary School and later Nusrat Senior Secondary School where he completed his junior and Senior Secondary School education. Upon conclusion, he enrolled at the Gambia IPAM institute where he studied Mass communication. He later enrolled at the Fourah Bay College in 2013 where studied Diploma in Peace and Conflict Resolution and currently holds a degree in Political Science.

At Salone Messenger, we had an exclusive interview with him a few months after he published his recent book Alternative development

 

What inspired you to write the book?

Hamza Koroma Answer

‘’My book was highly inspired by my mother and the stories she would tell me every night.

She claims that Sierra Leone is a great country if only we had the right leaders. She will continue by telling us stories of Legends, great warriors, great works of Sierra Leoneans.

When I returned to Sierra Leone Wednesday, August 2013, Sharp 12 with the Gambian Bird. I found out that country was the most beautiful. Seeing the mountains stacked right above melted my heart. I immediately called my father and told him about the Wonderful Hills and mountains. I was amazed seeing everyone speaking “Krio” (Local Language) for the first time. Even though my tongue was Foreign but I still tried to adapt to the tongue; especially the ‘Rrrrr”. Everyone takes notice of my tongue and accent and that made me special. Everyone was willing to listen to me. Everyone was nice.

Another reason that inspired me to write a book Yayah Jammeh’s autocratic rule.

Growing up in an autocratic government was challenging as no one could speak against the government. No one was safe to speak, not even in your living rooms but when I returned to Sierra Leone; I saw how people were deliberating and talking about Politics and this got me thrilled. Even the man with the wheelbarrow knows politics. For the first time, I heard a chat about Politics so loud that the man next to me started explaining about the political system of Sierra Leone and how our leaders have failed us in so many years.

By then; Ernest Bai Koroma was in his second term and the man next to me explained with Vigour and insulted in the end. I was afraid and warned him that he could be arrested for such utterance

But he laughed and said, “Boy, we are in a democracy, here we speak our mind because it was a right that was given to us by our past president Ahmed Tijan Kabba”.

Political discussion continued as I furthered my studies in the Political Science Department, Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone).’’

Tell us about your book (Alternative development)?

Hamza Answer

‘’After what I witnessed in my country, I believe that I can create an impact and transform the thoughts of Sierra Leoneans. Anybody can create an impact, size matters not, “if size mattered, the elephant could have been the king of the jungle.”

My book is a work tailored towards analyzing the problems of Sierra Leone and how best the Government, Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Societies, and individuals can work with the message in helping to solve these problems.

The pathway to success in Sierra Leone is the book designed specially to not only point out the importance of Alternative Development but also to point out holes that need to be refilled in order to ensure the better life for all Sierra Leoneans.

This includes Politics, the type of Educational System, The Role of Youths, Decentralization, The Economy, Entertainment (Music, Movie, and Sports), Tourism, Poor Human Relations, Gender Empowerment, and Corruption.

Issues facing the above sectors would be discussed and solutions will be provided on how to tackle these prevailing problems.

The book has also been described as a comprehensive set of Alternative Development ranging from Politics to Entertainment and other related sectors which has a great role to play in the country but has been ignored for one reason or the other.

Alternative Development and The Pathway to Success in Sierra Leone Volume was made exclusively for Policy Options and Agenda for Future Research.

There is, of course, a huge literature on development, penned from within divergent social theoretical and ideological frameworks. Suffice to say that there are what may be described as, “thin” conceptions of development, and on the other hand “thick” conceptions of development, what is also referred to as Orthodox Development (thin) and Alternative Development (thick).

“Thin” conceptions of development are essentially economics and tend to reduce the idea of development to economic growth and enhanced economic performance as measured by various indicators. Development reduced to economic growth gives rise to goals, policies, institutional arrangements, and actions that focus primarily on promoting growth and reducing obstacles to growth.   

In contrast, “thick” conceptions of development extend beyond a concern with economic growth to embrace issues of a wider economic nature as well as social, cultural, and political issues. At their most extensive, the concern of goals, policies, institutional arrangements, and actions are with structural economic change which widens ownership and eliminates or reduces income inequality, unemployment, and poverty.’’

What else do you do now that the Corona pandemic is on?

Hamza Answer

‘’Well, Currently I’m working on two books “100 things about Sierra Leone and The Unannounced Guest”.

1OO Things you should know about Sierra Leone is exclusively made out of research and it is made not only for educational purposes but to also attract tourists and investors as well in Sierra Leone. The book is composed of both written and oral history that has confirmed to be true by so many related experts in these fields. I spend my time visiting important sites and end up conducting with people in charge of those particular sites.

The book talks about the originality of Sierra Leone and its shocking and breath took information it has stored for so long. Sierra Leone has one of the richest, if not the richest in West Africa; while the colonial masters took advantage of that and our politicians made sure that there was nothing left to write about home.

Sierra Leone has been seen in the international community for so long as a devastated post-war country that battles with series of epidemic and political issues. However, Sierra Leone should not be viewed in such a way because this book is going to expose some of the rich culture and tradition of Sierra Leone which is going to leave you astonished and mind blown. Sierra Leone has been described as the lion mountain, clothed with lovely people that smile all the time irrespective of their plight and problems. It is not a novelty that Sierra Leone has one of the nicest people in the world and the highest Average IQ in Africa as some people would say. Sierra Leoneans are beautiful people with a rich history and this is going to be discussed in this book as we have 100 beautiful discoveries in this book that will blow your mind and bring you to our sweet motherland we call ‘Mama Salone’.

100 things about Sierra Leone will teach you about things teachers have never taught their students at schools, about stories their grandfather has never told them, about trends and facilities that they never thought existed in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is not only blessed with minerals but it is also blessed with a rich history.

Unannounced guests will be talking about Covid-19 with its Horrors.

It will point the light at the current youth violence that is going on in Sierra Leone and the situation of people in their Quarantine homes.’’

What would be your message to students and young people in general?

Hamza Answer

 ‘’My message to young people is always clear. They need to bear the spirit of patriotism. This they’ll do by asking questions and taking the lead in development either by proffering solutions to a given problem or contributing to national development by giving out beautiful and meaningful suggestions on debates and other platforms. Thank you’’

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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.