You are here

Icons & Activists: 50 years of people making change

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of UNFPA and the 25th of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, this book showcases the "change makers" who have made substantial contributions to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and population and development more broadly. The purpose of this book is to give some sense of how much has been achieved through the efforts of so many - and perhaps to offer inspiration for the future. Two fantastic and inspirational individuals from Sierra Leone were part of the fifty icons and activists recognised for their substantial contributions in the book.

1 - Vicky the Poet from Sierra Leone was featured on page 173 under the category 'Young People Changing the World' with her entry stating:

‘To watch Vicky the Poet (aka Victoria Kanu) recite the Story of an African Child, or any of her more recent videos, is to be mesmerized by the preternatural poise and linguistic sophistication of this 11-year-old national icon and social media star. Her prodigious talents in poetry, theatre, dance and advocacy combine the strong oral traditions of West Africa with the archetypal power of a girl hero. Since she began working as a poet at age 6, she has appeared in almost every major forum in Sierra Leone, delivering passionate exhortations against child marriage, female genital mutilation, child labour and other social issues.’

 

2 - Midwife Margaret Mannah- Macarthy, former UNFPA Sierra Leone staff member who worked as the National Programme Specialist , Midwifery was also featured on page 76/77 under the category 'Making Motherhood Safe' with her entry stating the following:  

 

Throughout conflict, mudslide disasters and the Ebola crisis, midwife Margaret Mannah-Macarthy continued to deliver babies and save the lives of mothers in her native Sierra Leone. She has been instrumental in scaling up her profession in the country, pushing for the establishment of two additional training schools and increasing midwifery graduation rates more than sevenfold from 2010 to 2018. This has proved crucial in a country that had fewer than 100 midwives in 2010, leaving those who did practise overwhelmed when the Government made free health care available to pregnant women.