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Meet “the best female Journalist” in Makeni using Motorbike to tell human interest stories.

 Edna Amie Ngegba is a Sierra Leonean Journalist born on 25th September 1992 in Sierra Rutile, the southern part of Sierra Leone. She works for Radio Maria Makeni as a presenter, editor, and producer. she uses her motorbike to tell human interest stories focusing on women and girls in Makeni.

Edna Amie Ngegba attended the United Brethren in Christ School UBC in Moriba Town, Sierra Rutile where she completed her primary school education. She later enrolled at the Impere Secondary School, Sierra Rutile where she did her JSS1, In 2007, she relocated to Makeni to further her education and attended the St. Joseph Secondary School where she completed her secondary and senior Secondary school education. She currently holds a high teacher certificate from the Northern polytechnic. She later acquired some training and certificate from BBC Media action and other institutions of journalism that paved her way to the world of journalism.

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Growing up in Sierra Rutile, she experienced a lot of discrimination, women were excluded in some important roles. She wanted to be a voice for these women and girls. She chooses the path of Journalism and advocacy to empower the voices of girls and women in the provinces. Her Christianity background led her way to work with Radio Maria.

In 2014, through the support of Emile Jengo, who was the then Production Manager and now station Manager.  Edna enrolled as a volunteer and trainee at Radio Maria. After a couple of months working as a volunteer, she could now comfortable present shows, go out for interviews, and advocate for women and girls through her popular program “woman tok” among many others.

In commemoration of the African child day 2016, Edna was given her first assignment as a reporter to cover her first interview of the commemoration of the African child’s day. Her first encounter with the first person she interviewed was the then paramount Chief. After the interview and when she presenter what she thought was her best shot to the station manager Mr. Jengo. He commended her for the effort but reminded her that in the world of journalism, you don’t say “yes sir” to people, no matter who the person is. This builds her confidence more and interest in the field of journalism. She later learns to edit and producing programs. Her next assignment was during the outbreak of Ebola in 2014. She used her voice to advocate for many women and girls.

Just after the sexual offenses act was passed, rape of minor was common in Makeni, Edna challenged and questioned many institutions whenever she attended a gender forum program. She was following a story that has to do with sexual penetration, she was refused by certain institutions for interviews because they knew Edna would trumpet the story until justice is served. She has influence with other radio stations in Makeni, Bo, and beyond and can connect her stories with them to ensure it is giving the needed attention to the point that the institutions will be pressured to do their work speedily. This prevented them from providing certain information to her most especially when they knew they will struggle along the way to get certain information. Later an alleged raped case happened involving a certain man of God who was alleged of penetrating an 8-year-old girl. She contacted the family support unit and was up and down to get the story she needed to the point that she fractured her leg. Airing the story brought a lot of questions and she was faced with a lot of confrontations that she shouldn’t have aired such a story. She told them that the people needed to know what was happening and her role was to get the story to the people.

Her program “woman talk” was an eye-opener for women and girls to learn about issues affecting them in Makeni. Issues like child rape, and breaking the silence on issues affection women. Among the issues she has championed, is the free health care, she could use her voice to go to the hospitals and have interviews with the doctors and nurses. From 2012 to date, she has been advocating for women and girls in Makeni through her programs.

 Edna Amie Ngegba has been nominated and received many awards for exemplary performance in the field of journalism. In 2019, she was awarded best “child-friendly journalist of the year 2019” by the Ambassadors of Education in collaboration with the Children Forum Network, s child led democratic organization

Here is an exclusive interview we had with her at her office in Makeni

Have you ever dream of becoming a journalist?

“My dream was never to become a journalist, in fact, growing while I was attending school. I went to the arts streams after taken my BECE exams. My dream was to become a lawyer. Because I couldn’t fulfill my dream of becoming a journalist but I knew I wanted to be a voice for children and girls, I then switch to journalism to ensure that I achieve the dream of giving voice to women and girls”

When did you start working here at the radio Maria and what would you say enable you to get the job?

“As I said earlier, around 2012 to 2013, I applied as a volunteer at the radio Maria, I approach the then production Manager, Emil Jengo and showed interest. For Radio Maria, one come as a volunteer to be part of the institution, so I came as a volunteer. By then, my role was just announced and later return back home. Because of my commitment, dedication, and consistency, I completed my training and later became a trainer”

What genre of journalism interests you?

 “I tell human interest stories focusing on women and girls”

What challenges are faced with female journalists in the newsroom?

“Can be challenging, for example, being a producer, I will send a reporter/s to go out for story/ies. The reporter will go and later bring a story/ies you did not request for, as a producer, you have to use your creativity to ensure that you do justice to the story but also ensure that all angle is covered. So sending out reporters sometimes can be challenging. Again, I could have made it public that I will be going live on a social media platform, only to sit, and then the light just goes off putting everything down. So I will have to go back to the public to apologize.”

Which local and or international journalist/s inspired you?

“When I young growing up in Sierra Rutile, even though my dream wasn’t to become a journalist, but I use to admire one Musa Kamara who was a local journalist is now the station manager for imperiling radio. He was the only journalist I use to admire back then when I relocated in Makeni, there was this guy called Hassan Foreh Kamara, anytime you twin your radio, you will listen to Juliana Coker. In fact, Juliana Caulker was the only female journalist in Makeni. This prompted me to go into a journalist. So I use to admire them so much. Mr. Stanley Bangura Jr and all. They were my greatest inspiration growing up”

As changes are inevitable and everyone is entitled to one, where would you want to be in the next five years? What is your aspiration?

“In the next five or ten years, I want Edna, myself touching the lives of hundreds and thousands of people here in Makeni. That Edna that lot of young people would want to emulate from. I want to be empowered and learn from other international journalists across the world.”

What message would you want to send to the young female journalists in Sierra Leone?

“Let me start with my colleague’s female journalist in Makeni, not that we don’t have female journalists in Makeni. But the question is, why is that the managers are suppressing them not to go out? Or is it that they just want to be an armchair journalist. I want to advise them that in this field, you sell yourself. As a female journalist, people count on the work you do. I am proud to tell you that if certain organizations are having programs and Edna is not there, they will not be happy. They will call and request my presence. Even if I tell them that I will send a reporter, they will still say “Edna we need your presence here”  this is because they believe In the things that I do. So as a journalist, you need to build trust in people. Yes, I know in this field we all need money to make our work easy, for example, I have a bike and I need to fuel it whenever I want to go out for a story. This doesn’t mean I should mortgage my integrity because I want money. As a journalist, work and let people admire you. Don’t tag money in the things you do.  As I said I came to Radio Maria and had been there for over five years and I didn’t receive a salary. But I do my work. Never allow your friendship to damage the work you do as a journalist”

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Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean 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. Sallu Kamuskay 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. 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 Kamuskay 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 Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay 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 Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. 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.

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