Accra, Ghana//-Dr Adama Kalokoh is a young Sierra Leonean-American woman who is working around the clock to empower the next generation of women, girls, orphans and other vulnerable groups in Sierra Leone, which is located in West Africa.
The founder of Impact Sierra Leone (https://impactsierraleone.org/), a leading NGO is particularly working hard to impact orphans, farmers, students, girl children, widows and other vulnerable populations in her home country of Sierra Leone.
When the news of Dr Kalokoh’s sterling work in Sierra Leone reached African Eye Report, the pan-African news portal contacted her for an interview which she gladly accepted.
She revealed: “Most of our projects are based in the Tonkollili District with a target focus on Yonibana and Mile 91. At this time we are providing monthly support to Peace Village Orphanage, Mile 91 with food, educational materials and teaching the My Body Is My Body (MBIMB) workshop which promotes Child safety all over the world”.
They hope to do MBIMB workshops all over Yonibana. They also have a huge farm in collaboration with Kampala Agriculture Farm in Foindu Village where they are directly supporting 22 farmers and their families with farming tools, seedlings, and other in kind donations. Their support is helping farmers to feed their families and reducing poverty, Dr Kalokoh said.
Additionally, her connection with Save The Young Girls Foundation began in June 2019 when she was connected with the founding director, Susan Marie Sesay.
Her love for empowering young girls drew her attention and interest to support them. Overtime, Dr Kalokoh was able to form a board of directors for them to assist in meeting the monthly basic needs for the young girls.
“Through my efforts, we have shipped clothes, shoes, school supplies and more over the last two years to Sierra Leone. We have also acquired sewing machines to help empower the girls through skills like sewing”.
In January 2021, her organization partnered with the Global Goodwill Ambassadors to host an Empowerment Party for the young girls to include dance performances, piñata, spoken word, My Body Is My Body child safety workshop, catered meal, birthday cake, special party gifts, and lots of pictures to share with the world. The Empowerment Party was a truly memorable day, she said.
Dr Kalokoh who lives in the U.S since her childhood was inspired by a combination of factors. To begin with her parents- James I.Conteh and Harriet M. Sesay who migrated to the U.S for a better life with their five children always instilled in them a deep sense of pride and appreciation for their Sierra Leonean heritage.
Although Dr Kalokoh’s love for Sierra Leone was not as strong in her early years, it was the death of her father in 1997 which triggered in her a strong love and desire to do great things for Sierra Leone.
In her words: “I felt a strong sense of duty to honour his memory by impacting and making a difference. After many years serving in many nonprofit groups, I decided in 2019 that it was time to leap out on my own so I can serve in a greater capacity, thus Impact Sierra Leone was born. As founder of this organization, I’ve been able to work with great people to serve orphans, farmers, students, women and young girls”.
Motivation behind Female Empowerment
As a young African American woman who is a descendent of Sierra Leone,
Dr Kalokoh always feels a strong urge to encourage the young girls, especially those in Sierra Leone.
Empowering women and young girls can change communities in a great way.
She has also recognized that in many parts of West Africa, women’s rights are overshadowed by cultural traditions.
Due to her experience of volunteerism, she has felt a great sense of responsibility and inspiration to become an Ambassador and Agent-of-change for young girls and women in Sierra Leone.
“Female Empowerment inspires a whole generation of female leaders, what we truly need to make Sierra Leone greater. I feel proud to be a voice and advocate for women and children in Sierra Leone.
I chose, as primary focus, to help support women and girls in rural areas because of their huge lack of resources and access to services”, the beautiful and affable
Dr Kalokoh, emphasised.
Her role as a descendant of Sierra Leone and a Global Goodwill Ambassador is a big reason for her passion in helping others and in international development.
She has always loved and valued being connected to Sierra Leone. This deep appreciation led her to finally visit Sierra Leone in 2003, followed by three consecutive visits.
Journey to Success
Dr Kalokoh recounted that the main key to her journey has been a strong belief in God, her passion, her purpose and her destiny.
The whole journey is connected to her Sierra Leonean roots for which she is extremely proud of. The journey has also connected her with great people who believe in her mission in reducing socioeconomic challenges in Sierra Leone through empowerment, education, and building strong partnerships with the Diaspora community.
“I believe in the value of great relationships so networking with the right people, developing great mentorship relationships has been a major key to my journey to success”, the philanthropist stated.
First generation of Sierra Leonean born in the U.S must give back
“My first visit to Sierra Leone was emotional as I saw a beautiful country that has suffered too many pains over the year”. After that visit, her life forever changed and her passion for international development was born.
Like many Sierra Leoneans living in America, they are privileged with having access to basic necessities that many all over the world greatly lack.
As descendants, they really serve as a bridge and connection between their United States culture and their African culture.
To this end, Dr Kalokoh advised the first generation of Sierra Leone born in the United States to love their culture enough by giving back to help improve the country.
“For those Sierra Leonean descendants, we must unite as one so we can restore it to its former glory. My hope is that my mission will inspire other descendants of Africa to embrace their culture and positively impact their home countries”, she added.
Dr Kalokoh who is also a Global Goodwill Ambassador said her future goals in International Development would be to connect with other empowered women to really impact the young girls in Sierra Leone.
She believes she has a voice and a passion to really make a difference in Sierra Leone and beyond.
Dr Kalokoh hopes to grow Impact Sierra Leone and establish a Female Empowerment programme that partners with schools for various initiatives such as menstrual empowerment, mentorship, and agriculture empowerment.
She particularly wanted to develop more programmes in the rural parts of Sierra Leone to help transform the lives of people living in those areas of the West African country.
Advice to young girls and Women
She advised young girls and women to seize every opportunity to better themselves and to give back to their communities.
“When you empower the young girls, you empower the entire community. Therefore, female empowerment is important for improving our communities”.
Dr Adama Kalokoh stands for strong empowerment of Sierra Leoneans, African women and children and for promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to rebuild our communities.
As a former active duty member of the U.S Air Force who honourably served for four years, she is a strong advocate for women and girls in Sierra Leone and across Africa.
Dr Kalokoh wishes to leave a legacy of positivity, kindness and service to humanity, stressing that she wants to be known worldwide as an African descendent who makes effort to empower her country through education and social services.
Education and Qualifications
Dr Kalokoh completed her undergraduate studies at the University of the District of Columbia majoring in Public Health in the United States. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Education.
Upon conclusion of her education, she began volunteerism work with Americorps from 2001 to 2003 as a Volunteer Director. The young Dr Kalokoh was inducted into the Americorps Promise Fellowship.
Her leadership led her to reach thousands of marginalized people at soup kitchens, shelters, and schools in the Washington DC area. But her passion for Sierra Leone became a driving force.
She has been honoured and received recognition in Sierra Leone and the U.S as the Yonibana Brand Ambassador.
Dr Kalokoh was nominated as the 2019 Global Goodwill Ambassador by the Female Empowerment Entrepreneur and Chief Patron of the Yonibana Student Association (YOSA) Event.
She was also among the Top 100 Recognized Human Rights Defenders in the United Nations 2019 Almanac.
Dr Kalokoh whose favorite quote is: “United We Stand and Together We Rise” is a fun loving person who is always at peace with humanity.
By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report