A women’s rights group, the Mount Aureol Women’s Development Organization (MAWDO), has honoured a young Sierra Leonean based in the United Kingdom, Mr. Messeh Leone, as the most outstanding humanitarian and philanthropist of the organisation. Mr Messeh Leone was presented with a special award, in honour of his outstanding leadership abilities and remarkable contribution to the people of Sierra Leone.
The Chairperson of MAWDO, Mrs. Isatu Bai-Bai Sesay expressed gratitude to Mr. Messeh Leone for his good work in championing and empowering the youths including girls and women in Sierra Leone and other parts of the world. Mrs. Sesay who is the ward focal person for all the NGOs that operates in the community, working with GOAL-Sierra Leone, OXFAM, BBC Media Action, CDC and among others told the mammoth gathering that this is a young and energetic gentleman who is always ready to assist Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad especially girls and women, among other things.
MAWDO Secretary General Kadie Vincent said that they acknowledged the support given to them by Mr. Messeh Leone whom they described as a philanthropist of the organization. She expressed thanks and appreciation for the support provided by Mr Messeh Leone and other partners to MAWDO members. She encouraged to Mr Leone to continue the good effort he started to help the organisation to grow and help poor people work their way out of poverty. “Messeh you are really a benefactor,” she said.
The executive members of MAWDO however expressed dissatisfaction over the ongoing road construction of the Hill Side Bye Pass road in Freetown, pointing out that it has placed their school activities on hold. The MAWDO Educational Centre aims to promote adult education in the community. The group noted that the establishment of the school has created tremendous impact among women and young girls who don’t have the opportunity of attending school. MAWDO has been championing the rights and wellbeing of women and girls and supporting, lactating mothers and windows. The organization also advocates the right of girls to education, justice and equality for women.
“We are grateful to MAWDO for this wonderful initiative in the community. We are currently seeing the benefit of education and we thank God and MAWDO for this good work,” one of the beneficiaries told the mammoth gathering.
Chief Organising Secretary of MAWDO, Hawanatu Kargbo said that the organization needs support to run the school and other activities for the organisation. She called on Messeh Leone and other individuals/institutions to assist the organisation so that they could secure land and pay stipend to volunteer teachers at the school.
Mr Messeh Leone thanked and appreciated MAWDO for the award presented and encouraged the organisation to continue the good work. He noted concerns expressed by the women and assured them of his fullest support, and urged them to stay focused on their aims and objectives. Mr Messeh Leone said: ‘’I am very passionate about the cause of women and young people. The war, Ebola and recent environmental disasters took a lot. So it is very important that women and young people are supported and empowered. We need equal rights for women. We need affordable health care and education for women and young people. We have got to provide support to women and young people to be able to start business and participate in every sector. The government and NGOs must pay special attention to women and young people and support groups like MAWDO – for without a conducive environment for women and young people, our country will have a bleak future’’
At age 14, Mr Messeh Leone entered in to the world of activism and philanthropy. He helped establish, and was elected president of the Children’s Forum Network (CFN) known as the Children’s Parliament in Sierra Leone. He chaired children’s inputs to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He was a founding member of the UN Voice of Children Radio – with support from the United Nations. He was the leading campaigner who presented the child rights agenda to the President of Sierra Leone and advocated tirelessly for the enactment of the Child Rights Act. Mr Leone has been heavily active in promoting the rule of law and human rights both in Sierra Leone and internationally. He has been greatly involved in the work of the Commonwealth. For more than 15 years, Mr Messeh Leone has worked in international organisations and law contexts, contributing to the implementation of large scale projects across the world including countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Pacific, Caribbean and the Americas. As a result of his inspiring work, Messeh was the recipient of the Commonwealth’s International Award for Dynamic Leadership and Service. His work has been recognised by word leaders, and he was invited by the Queen of England to Buckingham Palace, together with Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and other distinguished individuals, in recognition of his contributions to humanity.