As March unfolds, the world dons the vibrant hues of celebration and advocacy, marking International Women’s Month—a time dedicated to honouring, empowering, and recognizing the indomitable spirit of women around the globe. In the heart of West Africa, Sierra Leone, too, embraces this momentous occasion by spotlighting its trailblazing women who, like the month itself, embody strength, leadership, and a relentless pursuit of equality. Join us on a journey through the inspiring stories of Sierra Leone’s rising stars, as we celebrate the extraordinary female leaders to watch in 2024.

Mariatu Esther Kabba

1. Mariatu Esther Kabba: A Champion for Women and Girls
Mariatu Esther Kabba is a seasoned radio trainer and a fervent advocate for women’s and girls’ empowerment. Over the past decade, she has played a pivotal role in transformative development communication projects, including the BBC 50/50 Equality and the BBC Media Action Girls’ Education and Empowerment (EAGER) Project. Mariatu’s exceptional work earned her the prestigious “Fifty Most Influential Sierra Leonean Women” Award in 2021.

Beyond her accolades, Mariatu is the founder and executive director of Strong Women, Strong Girls Sierra Leone, a nonprofit organization providing mentorship opportunities for underprivileged young women and girls in rural communities. Her global influence is evident through compelling speeches at esteemed events, showcasing her leadership skills and dedication to youth empowerment and women’s and girls’ rights on a global stage.

Kumba Emily Fanday

2. Kumba Emily Emmanuella Fanday: Entrepreneur Extraordinaire
At just 27 years old, Kumba Emily Emmanuella Fanday has already left an indelible mark as a female entrepreneur. With a background in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Customer Service, Marketing, Operations, and Product Management, Kumba is the founder of ConNet SL Limited (The Community), Food Fest, and Drink Fest. Her entrepreneurial journey has seen the widespread success of Food Fest, expanding from Sierra Leone to Gambia and Liberia, showcasing her expertise in creating festivals that resonate with young people and contribute to West Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape.

Isatu Joy Caulker

3. Isatu Joy Caulker: Transforming Lives through Healthy Living
Isatu Joy Caulker is not only an entrepreneur but also an inspirational speaker with a vision to empower women in Sierra Leone to be self-sufficient, self-sustainable, and physically, mentally, and spiritually fit. Through her companies, Healthy Meal Plans Kitchen and The Light Movement, Isatu aims to shift mindsets toward healthier living. Her mission to transform women into leaders and leaders into agents of change underscores her commitment to creating a positive impact on individuals and communities.

Hawa Yokie

4. Hawa Yokie: Catalyst for Technological Innovation
Hawa Yokie is a catalyst for technological innovation and youth empowerment in Sierra Leone. With a background at Plan International Sierra Leone and active involvement in initiatives like Girls Out Loud, Hawa is recognized nationally and internationally for her contributions. As the co-founder of the Kamara Yokie Innovation Center, Sierra Leone’s first youth-led innovation hub, she is dedicated to fostering technological advancement and providing opportunities for young Sierra Leoneans. Her impact extends globally, advocating for the convergence of technology, innovation, and youth development.

Haja Isatu Bah

5. Haja Isatu Bah: Environmental Advocate and Scholar
Haja Isatu Bah, a dynamic Sierra Leonean woman, is passionate about the environment and advocates across borders. With an International Baccalaureate (IB diploma) and a Davis scholarship, she is currently completing her masters at the London School of Economics. As the founder of Uman4uman, Haja addresses the issue of period poverty among young girls in Sierra Leone by providing sustainable and affordable reusable sanitary pads. Her social venture focuses on environmental sustainability, accessibility, and affordability, contributing to the well-being of young girls and the environment.

In celebrating these five inspiring female leaders, we recognize the importance of diversity and the significant contributions women make to Sierra Leone’s progress. Their stories remind us that empowering women is not just a one-day celebration but an ongoing commitment to fostering positive change and inclusivity. As we continue beyond International Women’s Day, let us support and amplify the voices of these remarkable women and others who are shaping the future of Sierra Leone.

Written by: arianadiaries

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