Meet TBCS Interns Part 1

Didan Sankoh, 25, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Yr III 

Didan (originally from Bo) is a third year student African History and Politics Student at the University of Sierra Leone Fourah Bay College (FBC). He is a 2003 graduate of Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, Bo.  Didan is a member of the Constitutional Review Committee of the Bo Ahmadiyya Old Students Association and the FBC Muslim Jamaat. Didan has attended several workshops and symposiums including Campaign Against Violent Events (CAVE) School Based Violence: How Can it be curbed, Fifty Fifty (50-50) Group’s Gender Based Violence: Of what importance is it to you, and Ostacles to Development in Developing Countries organized by the Ministry of Development and Economic Planning. “Corruption is not a phenomenon that is not peculiar to Sierra Leone, but has affected countries worldwide irrespective of whether they are developed or developing, large or small…While corruption exists to varying degrees worldwide, its adverse effects on a fragile economy like ours are perhaps more profound” 

 Alhassan Conteh, 22 DES Institute of Business & Management, Yr I 

Alhassan (originally from Port Loko) is a first year student of Business & Management. He comes from a family of ten children and has a twin brother. Alhassan is a 2006 graduate of the Sierra Leone Grammar School. He comes from a peaceful predominantly agrarian community called Kareneh in Lokomasama Chiefdom. “In my opinion, I would like to Sierra Leoneans to engage themselves in agriculture, education, and trade which will lead to rapid development and above all we should love one another, be corruption free, and work hard for positive outcomes.  

 Daniella Wilson, 19, Saint Joseph’s Secondary School, Final Year 

Daniella (originally from Freetown) is a final year student at Saint Joseph’s Secondary School. She is the youngest of all the interns. She was a senior prefect, student counselor and is Head of the Sierra Leone Girls Guide Association. In her essay, Daniella highlighted Child Exploitation as an issue of national concern in Sierra Leone. “Today one needs only to go out into the streets and watch little boys and girls chasing vehicles to sell packets of water or enter a mini bus only to see that the driver’s mate is a boy who is supposed to be in class 4 or 5. Market places are no exemption as they have the highest number of child laborers. At night, clubs and certain strategic streets in the city such as Lumbley Beach and Garrison Street have so many girls from the age of 12 working as prostitutes”. 

 Sahr Emmanuel Joseph, 24, Njala University, Yr II 

Sahr (originally from Kono) is a second year Economics student at Njala Univeristy. He graduated from Saint Edwards Secondary School in 2002 where he was the “Head Boy”. He was the Sierra Leone Youth Representative at the Pan African Leadership Training Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He won the Silver Medalist for the National Youth Award Scheme. He was a Peer Educator with Student Partnership Worldwide (SPW) Youth Empowerment Program and Planned Parenthood SL/UNICEF Breaking the Silence on HIV/AIDS. Sahr has won two out of three inter university competitions. In his essay Sahr discussed the problem of youth unemployment in Sierra Leone as an obstacle to national development. “The central authority [GoSL] has not adequately prepared for our increasing youth population. The worst part of it is that the youth are not well trained and therefore lack the necessary skills for the limited available jobs…to release stress, many youth turn to ghettos where they involve themselves in drug abuse, alcohol consumption, and consequently a life of crime”

 Abdul Jamal Tarawalie, 26, International Institute of Islamic Studies, Yr 1 

Abdul (originally from Lunsar) is a 26 year old first year Business Studies student at the International Institute of Islamic Studies in Freetown, SL.  He graduated from the Government Rokel Secondary School where he won the Best Prefect Award for Academic Year 2004/2005. Abdul sees unemployment as one of the biggest national issues threatening Sierra Leone’s economic, social, and political stability. In his internship application essay Abdul discusses slum conditions at the Big Wharf Community. “ This community has suffered from the adverse effects of poor drainage system which I believe are as a result of poor government policies on roads and housing. The gutters are so shallow and narrow that most of the time when there is rainfall; there is considerable overflow of water in the community. Also, the dumping of garbage in the gutters of that community contributes to the poor drainage system…as a result, cholera and malaria claim the live of many within the community, especially women and children”

  Abdul Konomanyi, 26, Fourah Bay College, BSSc Engineering ‘06 

Abdul (originally from Kono) is a recent graduate of Fourah Bay College with a degree in Engineering. He graduated from the Prince of Wales School with a Division I in the O’Levels. He is head of Koidu Indeginous Youth Organisation (KIYO), Club Majestic and was a member of FBC’s Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) Club. Abdul has a strong interest in Information Technology and sees computer education and training as necessary for Sierra Leone’s development. He hopes to one day establish businesses that would benefit the society by creating jobs and skill training. According to Abdul, “the development of our country has been hindered by several factors including bad governance and corruption, over-reliance of the citizenry on the government, inadequate infrastructure…”

Kadie Yata Kandeh, 28, Fourah Bay College, Insitute of Home Science, Yr III 

Kadie (originally from Moyamba) is a third year student of Nutrition & Dietetics at Fourah Bay College. She has a 4.5/5.0 grade point average. Kadie gives free but necessary nutrition advice to those in her community. In her essay Kadie discussed the relationship between food production and poverty in post conflict Sierra Leone. “Poverty in the rural areas is closely related or linked to agricultural production. Most households give farming as their main source of income. Although both men and women have important roles in the production of food there is considerable gender difference in the tasks undertaken. Men clear and plough the land, women weed and harvest. During and after the war more women have taken on the primary responsibility for food production because the men have either been killed or disabled or not returned to their villages. This has a detrimental impact on the women’s ability to carry out other domestic and child rearing responsibilities.”

Welcome to Sweet Sierra Leone

Sierra Visions Inc would like to express a big THANK YOU to GLOBAL VOICES ONLINE for selecting our THINK BUILD CHANGE SALONE INITIATIVE as one of the first RISING VOICES GRANTEES. Sierra Leone is at a crucial point in its history and we appreciate the opportunity to share all the efforts being made by nationals at home.

The THINK BUILD CHANGE SALONE INITIATIVE (TBCS) introduces youth in Sierra Leone to the tools and thoughts they need to be actors of Social change so that they may participate in Sierra Leone’s postwar rebuilding efforts. The Initiative provides young people with ICT training and paid internship positions with local non-profit organizations so that they may gain work experience and contribute to development projects. Interns will also travel to different parts of the country to conduct citizen media outreach workshops. Additionally their participation in this initiative will change the generally held belief that youth in Sierra Leone are idle and destructive.

 The Vision for the TBCS Citizen Media Outreach Project is that it will cover such issues as health, environment, democracy, post conflict reconstruction, women’s issues, Information technology, education, government accountability & transparency, community development, and much more but entirely from the perspective of young Sierra Leoneans who may otherwise not have an outlet to express their views and experiences.

With this project we aim to present a more holistic image of Sierra Leone to the International community that goes beyond blood diamonds, Charles Taylor, and amputees.