Meet Sia Nyama Koroma: Africa’s First Lady of the Year

| December 28, 2011

Voted By Afrikan Goddess Online
By Adeola Fadumiye (December 16, 2011)

Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Sia Nyama Koroma, is a woman of passion, empathy, knowledge and conviction. The people of Sierra Leone affectionately refer to her as “Mother of the Nation,” for both her motherly and leadership roles. Her powerful voice for mothers and children in Sierra Leone, in Africa and around the world has earned her recognition as Africa’s First Lady of the Year by Afrikan Goddess in the first of what will be a weekly series featuring Africa’s first ladies.

Mrs. Koroma was born in the Kono District of Eastern Sierra Leone, and educated both in Sierra Leone and The United Kingdom. Her education and professional background as a biochemist and psychiatric nurse prepared her to advocate for maternal health and against infant/child mortality. She is described as a woman of substance and humility despite her many achievements which included working as the Chief Chemist at the Sierra Leone Petroleum Refinery.

Described as one of Africa’s most educated first ladies, her education and her role as Sierra Leone’s “Mother of the Nation” has given her the platform to promote health for mothers and children and to support the poor and vulnerable. In response to statistics that says 1 in 8 women are likely to die during childbirth in Sierra Leone and, also, equipped with the knowledge that nearly all of these deaths can be prevented with basic medical care, Mrs Koroma launched two initiatives: Women Initiative for Safer Health (WISH) and First Lady’s Attitudinal and Behavioral Change in Schools (FLAXIS). WISH is designed to improve the health and overall outcomes of pregnant women, nursing mothers and their children.

FLAXIS, on the other hand, focuses on the youth and young adults. It was organized in response to the Sierra Leonean president’s call for attitudinal and behavioral change with regards to the Sierra Leonean mindset. It is a call all African nations will be wise to heed, because it speaks to the heart of every nation, its future leaders. FLAXIS acknowledges that children are the future of every nation. According to first lady Sia Nyama Koroma, “failing to give them the very best today is a risk that leads to the failure of any nation.” Through FLAXIS, Sierra Leone’s youth have access to their elected officials, community staff, and decision makers through youth discussion forums where ideas and opinions are expressed and listened to. FLAXIS also offers scholarships to underprivileged children.  

Mrs. Koroma’s work has been lauded both on the African continent and on the international stage. She is a first lady who understands that when women survive childbirth and have ample resources after labor, their children grow up safe and strong. In a cycle that is understood by many around the world, Mrs Koroma sets an example for other African First Ladies and women to follow…healthy women mean healthy children, healthier families, healthier communities and healthier nations. In an article she wrote for the Huffington Post, Mrs. Koroma indicated that “We say goodbye to our mothers and sisters as they go into labor, and we know too well that a pregnant women in Kigali or Freetown has one foot in the grave.” She is on a path to change this reality and transform the nation’s reproductive health landscape.

In an era when Africa’s first ladies are starting to shine globally, Mrs. Koroma leads the pack in the international arena. As Afrikan Goddess Online’s First Lady of the Year, she has undoubtedly brought hope to the nation of Sierra Leone and is deserving of this title.

She is a passionate table tennis player and a dedicated mother of two daughters, Alice and Danke. Mrs. Koroma is devoted to telling a different story for Sierra Leone’s women and the entire nation. With Sia Nyama Koroma carrying the torch, Sierra Leone has definitely become a shining example for all others to follow.

We wish the first lady well in all her endeavors.

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