The Sierra Leone Embassy in collaboration with its Diaspora affiliates have openly recognized the exemplary services of two Sierra Leoneans and a Non Profit, and awarded them with a “Sierra Leone Diaspora Community Leadership Award”, Sierra Leone Diaspora Entrepreneur Leadership Award and Sierra Leone Diaspora NGO (Non Profit) Leadership Award during the fifty fifth (55th) year independence anniversary celebration held on April 27th 2016 in Maryland USA.
At a solemn ceremony blended with culture, emotional state, and was also characterized by weeping, observances and reflections, MS. Suna Nallo, an executive Director of the National Organization of Sierra Leoneans in North America (NOSLINA), who is also a commissioner for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s Commission on Africa and a liaison between African residents in the State of Maryland and the Governor’s office received the prestigious “Sierra Leone Diaspora Community Leadership Award”: Dr. Brima Diallo Chairman of the Sierra Leone Ebola Task Force USA received the respected “Sierra Leone Diaspora Community Leadership Award” while Mr. Steven Smith Executive Director “Airlink” an International Non Profit and a rapid response humanitarian relief organization that links airlines with pre-qualified nonprofits received the High-status “Sierra Leone Diaspora NGO (Non Profit) Leadership Award”.
According to an Awards Committee chaired by Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens, Ms. Nallo was a member of the Ebola Task force USA and served as the liaison between Air Links and other philanthropists who made donation to the country and also over saw the shipment of nearly all Health kits and equipment from the United States to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Brima Diallo Chairman Sierra Leone Ebola Task Force USA led a group of Sierra Leoneans organized as a lean horizontal model structure essentially to effectively harmonize its elements productively and efficiently.
According to Ambassador Stevens, It was meant to link the task force with EOC and MOHS and IDP’S as an interlocutor of the diaspora and its constituent groups to effectively manage and coordinate diaspora resources to support the fight to contain the Ebola crisis.
Ambassador Stevens said the Embassy and the task force worked diligently to identify and secure the interest of the Country.
According to him, Airlink.INC is a rapid response humanitarian relief organization that links airlines with pre-qualified non profits.
At Present, Airlink’s network consists of more than thirty five Commercial and charter airlines and sixty international non-profits.
Presenting the Awards, “We decided to appreciate you because of your efforts, energy, time, resources and most importantly the passion and commitment you attached to your response to Sierra Leone at a time the Country needed you most”.
Responding, Ms. Nallo appreciated God and said her service was for her Country. Visibly weeping, she recalled seeing a Sierra Leonean Ebola infected lady on the television not only explaining her ordeal relating to the way she contacted it, but also appealing for help, while at the same time expressing hope for recovery: and that period coincided with a meeting organized by the Embassy for the formation of a Task force.
She appreciated Ambassador Bockari Stevens and staff of the Embassy for working as a collective to achieve what they could.
According to Dr. Brima Diallo, the Embassy and the task force worked diligently to identify and secure the interest of two champions: the spine and face needed to attract the funding needed for immediate containment of the Ebola crisis in the Country and sub region in partnership with IDP’S
Responding on behalf of Airlink, Mr. Steven Smith Executive Director described the effort as challenging that warranted tremendous efforts coupled with dedication, hard work and collectivism.
He paid tribute to the Paul Allen Foundation which contributed Three Million Dollars ($3 million) grant to Airlink as part of its anti - Ebola campaign which saw more than One hundred (100 detached shipments).
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Chairman of the occasion Mr. Daniel Koroma of the Sierra Leone Independence Anniversary Committee welcomed Sierra Leoneans and distinguished guests and said “this year’s anniversary celebration will replicate that of Freetown in a “Low key.” He praised President Ernest Bai Koroma for his exemplary leadership in combatting Ebola and congratulated all Sierra Leoneans for the day.
According to the Master of Ceremony Mr. David Buakei Vandy, Sierra Leone is fifty five years old and should be celebrated. He admonished compatriots to detached politics from commemorating the independence anniversary of Sierra Leone and said every Sierra Leonean indigene must be proud to celebrate his/her Country.
At the start of the event, a traditional and cultural performance by “Goboi” a traditional mask devil pioneered by Mr. Victor Tarmoh and Mr. Brima Moi-Foray of TEGLOMA danced to the pleasure and admiration of guests who had never seen it in action.
A symposium on Health, Education and Investment formed the highlight of the day.
Other distinguished personalities include officials of the embassy including Ambassador Alhaji Ibrahim Conteh Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs. Isatu Sillah Minister Counsellor and Head of Chancery ably assisted by Mr. Edward Kawa 1st secretary and Mr. Pasco Temple Information Attache.