Sierra Leone is a country from decades of civil war that claimed the lives of many children and young people. The need for peace, and ensuring that women and girls live in a peaceful country is essential in building a united Sierra Leone.

Agnes Baidnu Ngombu is Sierra Leone born in the 80s to two parents who happen to be teachers in Segbwema Town, Kailahun District. Her parents taught her to be kind, honest, and loving.

Like many children in Sierra Leone, she grew up in a society that experienced a long decade of civil war that left many Sierra Leoneans without families and places to call home.

She holds a diploma in Library Information and Communication Studies, a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Mass Communication and a Masters in Business Administration concentration in Human Resource Management from Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone and Strayer University, USA respectively.  She was later invited to join the Golden Key Honors Society, and also Society for Collegiate Leadership Achievement (SCLA)

 While growing up. She was a member of the Children’s Forum Network, an organization created to give voice to children in school and across the country. She was a member of the Catholic Youth Organization (C.Y.O), In 2004, she was selected with the youth chaplain to represent the Youths of Sierra Leone, at the General Assembly of FIMCAP (Federation of Catholic Parochial Youth Movements) in Barcelona, Spain where a lot of issues regarding young people were discussed. At a tender age, she started advocating for children and young people.

In an exclusive interview with us at Salone Messenger in our new series: ‘’IF I BECOME PRESIDENT’’ which is intended to flesh opinions of Sierra Leone’s young emerging leaders and those in the street of Freetown on the future of a United Sierra Leone, here is what she said will be the first thing he will do if he becomes the President of Sierra Leone, why and how?

What will be the first thing you will do when you become president?

A.B.N

SM Question

Why?

A.B.N

‘’Over the past years rape has become rampant in our society making women and girls live in fear for their lives. Women and girls have been raped while others were killed. One responsibility of a government is to protect the lives of their citizens and this includes women and children.’’

SM QUESTION

How?

A.B.N

‘’* Will engage the police and the court to have a dialogue with them to see the need of enforcing Justice to victims of rape and abuse. Will do this through training and engagement with the bodies responsible for this.

* The other step will be the introduction of Family Life Education (FLE) in schools to teach our young boys and girls family values, respect for others, how to be decent people in communities, the negative impact of rape and teenage pregnancies,  the trauma of rape to the victims. The reason why this is essential is that when you train kids when they are young, they will live with that education for the rest of their adult’s lives.

* I will also engage the religious leaders as they play a vital role in society, with them we have conferences, meetings and workshops explaining the impacts of rape to kids and women, and so they will include that in their sermons. It is no secret that people listen more to their religious leaders than anything, so it will be of great help if they are involved.

* The next target group will be youth organizations, there are different youth leaders who are very influential in their communities, so we will engage them through town hall meetings, workshops so they will go to their different communities to educate their peers. The reason why this is important is that young people listen and understand each other when they talk better than when adults talk to them.

* The other important group are the women themselves, we will meet heads of different women organizations ranging from churches, Mosques to mid-wives to traditional women leaders. We will have a dialogue with them through meetings, conferences and even one to one basis to discuss how rape is destroying our kids and what we need to do together to stop this.

* Healthcare workers will not be out of this as they have an essential role to play, we will fund the hospitals with medical equipment and also fund to pay others effectively and on time to treat victims appropriately.

* Counselling centres will be open to treating the traumatic patient to recovery.

* We will also involve traditional leaders to engage them so they will, in turn, engage their communities to campaign against rape and abuse.

*Rape will also be punishable by law and a sex offender registry will be opened and sent to all the communities.’’

* We will engage the media both electronic and traditional media to air and publish anti-rape programs so the whole country will be well informed.

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Sallu Kamuskay is an activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. He uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices to tell the Sierra Leonean stories and bring together passionate young Sierra Leoneans to embark on this journey of celebrating individuals, organizations, and expose injustices in the country. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts in the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. He is currently the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone safe space geared towards making communities where vulnerable children live safe and peaceful by providing safe space, caring adults, and fun activities for children living in vulnerable communities across the beachess.

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