Mentoring new leaders

29 July 2017


Children with mentors are more likely to be successful in school, lead change in their communities, and enter adulthood with opportunities for career choices. And yet, many children in Sierra Leone will finish university without ever having had a mentor or role model of any kind to look up to. In order to reshape this reality, OneFamilyPeople, Kids Advocacy Network hosted a leadership and career mentoring forum at the National Stadium Presidential Lounge with support from the International Child Development Initiative. 

Unleashing potentials

 June 17th, we connected 150 adolescent girls and boys, with and without disabilities, in the Western Area to mentors who will help them unleash their potential when it comes to leadership roles, higher education opportunities, and advancing their career development. We believe that every person has an innate talent. If they discover their talents and know what they are after, with guidance their chances of succeeding are higher.

We started the session with some inspiration. OneFamilyPeople Deputy Director, Hadiatou Diallo made a presentation on leadership and goal setting. Her Choice Goal Champions recited the poem, “I Am An Emotional Creature”, written by Eve Ensler. The Great Walpoleans gave a musical performance with a song titled, “Sierra Leoneans Come Back” — calling on Sierra Leoneans to unite and rebuild ‘Mama Sierra Leone’. We also screened an inspirational video about Lady S, before she proudly and confidently shared her story of triumph.

Mentors with impact

Adolescent girls and boys at the forum had the privilege of meeting and listening to inspiring young leaders. OneFamilyPeople and Kids Advocacy Network used survey questionnaires to select mentors through mutual matching. We invited mentors who have lived a life worthy of emulation and are making positive impacts in their communities.

Fearless gender activist: Naasu Fofanah

Former Gender Adviser to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Naasu Fofanah is an activist who is passionate about the safety, health and well-being of women and girls in Sierra Leone. She chaired the abortion bill in Parliament and obtained the President’s signature. She motivates children to choose education instead of marriage.

Having grown up in a broken home, Naasu faced many challenges including becoming pregnant at the age of 15 as a result of rape. Her mother could not afford to pay for her college fees, and so she was not able to go to university like all her friends. Still, she never lost hope that one day she would earn her university degree.

The girl who was not able to attend Fourah Bay College in Freetown eventually went to the UK and started over, putting the bits and pieces of her life together and becoming the change she wanted to see. Today she has served as the first female Gender Adviser to the President and she has pushed Sierra Leone’s agenda forward.

Passionate motivational singer: Salamatu Laggah a.k.a Lady S

An exceptional young leader who is passionate about music, Lady Smakes a living as a motivational singer. Although she grew up with the idea that she was helpless to change her situation or her life, now she’s living proof of the fact that this simply isn’t true. She’s using her talent to change perceptions and showing everyone that they can be whomever they want to be.

In addition to inspiring others through song, Lady S offers psychosocial counseling to girls with disabilities, teenage mothers, victims of child marriage and sexual abuse. She has removed the ‘dis’ from her ability. Follow this link to read the inspiring story of Lady S

Paralympic table tennis player: George Wyndham

Ranked third in Africa and the only Sierra Leonean to have won medals internationally, George Wyndham is a shining example of the remarkable things that persons with disabilities are accomplishing. He is passionate about disability empowerment through sport. He took part in the campaign for the domestication of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Sierra Leone. Beyond that, he has a powerful message about changing perceptions and he’s challenging young people to look at their disabilities differently. Follow this link to read the inspiring story of George.

Making dreams a reality

During the forum, each mentor used his or her real-life experience to inspire mentees to dream and make it a reality. The connections between mentors and mentees were established to set common goals focusing on college preparation, career development and creative expression. Mentees were encouraged to build trust in themselves. They were challenged to positively see themselves succeed, to lead, and to inspire others. 

The forum also called for government, donors and companies to increase their efforts to support leadership and career mentoring programs.



For further information on this program, or interested in providing support in any way, please contact us or follow us on Twitter,Facebook,LinkedIN.