Story of Mohamed Kamara – Youth Accountability Volunteer

An indigene of Rokonta village, Bombali Bashari Chiefdom, Bombali District. As a person living with a disability, Mohamed was despised by community people and some family members for his condition. In several instances, Mohamed was sidelined by his peers and elders in the community when opportunities to participate in community life.

Despite all of these drawbacks, he did not allow the mindset and attitude of people regarding his capacity to define him. In 2019, Mohamed competed against his peers to become a Youth Accountability Volunteer and ultimately stood out amongst all of them. He was later recruited and invited to participate in the delivery of the SABI programme.

Before participating in the two weeks’ foundational course, Mohamed like most of the other volunteers did not know how to conduct digital data collection, could not use community engagement tools, lacked the confidence to communicate in public, and could not write activity-based reports.

Youth Accountability Volunteers are supported through a range of capacity building programmes transforming them into competent change-makers in their respective communities. These include foundation and midterm training, monthly learning and sharing meetings, and line management meetings. All these supported Mohamed to build confidence for effective public communication, collect digital data, and use the SABI community engagement tools.

These skills were put to use during the coronavirus outbreak in Sierra Leone. Mohamed took a leadership role in raising awareness on COVID-19 and helped households develop actions relevant to stop the spread of the virus in their community.

His immediate plan is to enroll for a basic tutorial in computer software and later further his studies at a tertiary institution in Makeni. Mohamed aspires to become a Councilor for his community so that he can represent the interests of his constituents.

“I have been able to change the mindset of the people who once despised me because of my disability status. I was at the forefront of every activity conducted here in Rokonta and the 9 outreach communities. I would travel on motorbikes to communities even when they were far away. The passion and dedication with which I approached this helped me earn back my respect among my peers and elders of my community. Now other PWDs can feel safe because through me an element of the concept of SABI was lived out in Bombali Bashari Chiefdom” Mohamed Koroma