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Why Should Government of Sierra Leone Empower Positive Storytellers

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Why Should Government of Sierra Leone Empower Positive Storytellers

Sierra Leone: Today, we checked Google, the world most renowned search engine to see how we are performing, we were inspired to note that Face2Africa, Pulse Ghana, Vanguard News, Operanews, Nairaland, Face of Malawi and over 50 more other international news outlets have referenced our sources on their publications (all Sierra Leonean stories). This is what keep inspiring us at Salone Messenger – to tell positive and inspiring Sierra Leonean and African stories.

Salone Messenger on Google
Salone Messenger on Google

The media is a vital tool in shaping and influencing people’s perception and interpretation of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leoneans, and our stories. When one opens Google and tries to search ‘Sierra Leone,’ what you would mostly find are stories relating to poverty, war, and diseases, politics, which also reinforces other negative stereotypes. For some strange reason, Sierra Leone is known by many not for its beautiful landscape and beaches; amazing culture and tradition;, wonderful people; and great hospitality; but for its 11-year-old bloody civil war, the deadly Ebola virus disease that claimed the lives of hundreds of Sierra Leoneans and left hundreds of children orphaned, the harrowing and excruciating mudslide that occurred in 2017 and killed over 300 people in, and, of course, corruption, politics of vengeance and many distorting stories.This negative narrative, we believe, has been at the centre of Sierra Leone’s international spotlight, and it is unfair to this beautiful country called Sierra Leone people.

As said by Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” For this reason, Salone Messenger was established in a bid to change the course of our stories and how they are told negatively. As young and passionate storytellers who have spent years and still counting in rebranding our stories from negative to positive, we believe there is much more we can do to change the dark image of our country through storytelling. Since 2018, we have relentlessly and effortlessly written over 300 inspiring and positive Sierra Leonean stories by promoting and showcasing the bright and positive side of Sierra Leone and its people. These stories have positively impacted the lives of those young and vibrant Sierra Leoneans whom we have profiled and promoted on our platform for almost FREE! Their stories are being read by thousands of people not just in Sierra Leone but the whole of Africa and perhaps the world at large. Our website has over one hundred thousand visitors from over 100+ countries, most from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, etc. These aforementioned countries are the hub for investors whom may likely be inspired by the stories we published and maybe would one day make a move to invest in one of our profiled change-maker.

Salone Messenger team Festus Conteh and Abu bakarr Jalloh after an interview with a seamstress
Salone Messenger team Festus Conteh and Abu bakarr Jalloh after an interview with a seamstress

While we understand that past and present governments have been giving little or no attention to storytellers like us who are going through the length and breadth to spotlight Sierra Leone in a positive tone and manner, we also do understand that it has become a normal routine for governments in Sierra Leone to spend more time to draw negative social media political trends which have no positive impacts in rebranding Sierra Leone for the good, thus laying the ladder for the negative stories about Sierra Leone to climb higher on search engines than the positive stories.

We have allowed misinformation to thrive in Sierra Leone because we fail to give the required opportunities to those who are working day and night, relentlessly, to make sure there are good stories to read about Sierra Leone. Storytellers like Salone Messenger, The African Dream, Issadin K and a handful of other young Sierra Leoneans who are changing the narrative should be empowered and given the necessary resources (not just money) to make Sierra Leone famous not for the bad reasons but for the good reasons. Countries like Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa are exuberantly benefiting from the digital media space. This year, Facebook introduced new features that will grant Kenyans and content creators in general, an opportunity to earn more money. Sierra Leone was left out again! Why? Because we thread more on unnecessary banters, trollings, and negative stories when we have tons of good stories to push and tell to the world. When other African countries are being granted monetization opportunities by Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, Sierra Leone is always left out.

Our persistent political tantrums and banters on Facebook and other social media platforms are a reason for the government’s failure to empower positive storytellers. When we allow so much negativity to grow, the good side becomes buried. The solution to mend our broken hearts and strengthen our broken relationships as a United and better Sierra Leone, is positive storytelling. Stories have ways to make and destroy a certain race, tribe, region, and nation. The way we tell our stories, good or bad, will come back to haunt us. If we promote positive stories, peace and nation building is achievable; vice versa.

We want to implore this responsibility on the Government of Sierra Leone, International and Local Organizations to empower these individuals and organisations who are changing the narrative to be able to do more. When individuals and institutions like us are empowered, we will create opportunities for many young people and businesses who need storytelling to grow, and empower many young people to become positive storytellers like us instead of threading on negative stories that have destroyed the good image of our country. It is our belief that too much good overcomes the bad. Now more than ever, they should also consider people like us who without the needed resources continue to tell positive stories of young change-makers with the hope that we bridge the gap, grow their business and create networking for them. We don’t have to be of the same tribe, political parties, or come from the same region. At the end of the day, it is Sierra Leone and not Abu, Sorie, or Musa.

Founder of Salone Messenger Sallu Kamuskay with founder of We Yone Child Foundation Santigie Bayo Dumbuya during an interview Kamakwie
Founder of Salone Messenger Sallu Kamuskay with founder of We Yone Child Foundation Santigie Bayo Dumbuya during an interview Kamakwie

In the next couple of days, we will focus on giving alternatives on what government and oppositions and institutions should do to build a better and United Sierra Leone.

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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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