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Reading: Why Should Government of Sierra Leone Empower Positive Content Creators
Reading: Why Should Government of Sierra Leone Empower Positive Content Creators

Why Should Government of Sierra Leone Empower Positive Content Creators

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Sallu Kamuskay
By Sallu Kamuskay 9 Min Read
9 Min Read
Why Should Government of Sierra Leone Empower Positive Content Creators
Why Should Government of Sierra Leone Empower Positive Content Creators

Few weeks after Sierra Leone’s President Julius announced his new cabinet which included appointing Miss Salima Mornorma Bah, as Sierra Leone’s Minister of Communication, Technology, and Innovation. I was curious to know what her new plans will be, most especially in the area of Technology. Over the years, few of us have spent years sharing positive stories about our country, showing the beauty and resilient of our young people, telling the world that Sierra Leone is not just about the war, blood diamond, corruption, and injustice, it is also about the young innovators, farmers, hard-working men and women. our focus has been showcasing this incredible work in our today’s world of social media (Technology). The reality over the years little or no attention has been given to us by Government.

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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 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.

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 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.