Samuel Kamanda

  • My Educational Goal:

Coming from a family with a low level of formal education I want to get a degree and after which try to get a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies.

  • My Career Goal:

I want to become a peace activist. I chose this career because in Sierra Leone the economically, socially and politically marginalized people cannot find justice or redress for abuses that the state, corporate bodies and individuals commit against them. These are the people I want to help by developing systems and networks for advocacy and government lobbying. And also because such a career will be give me money.

Also I would like to reach the public, including children, with peace issues and human rights information with the aim of infusing change in the country and the world as a whole.

  • Personal Experience of War:

When the war broke out I was in Koindu (Eastern region of Sierra Leone). Houses were burnt and people killed. We ran to seek refuge in Guinea. After living in Guinea for about six months, we left to go to Kono. Kono was also attacked and then we ran to Makeni. The Army was able to push the rebels out of Kono. My family went back to Kono. After some months, the rebels made another attack on Kono, which was called "Face two". After this attack we ran to Freetown. Then came the invasion of Freetown on January 6, 1999.

Many things happened during this period. I lost friends and family members. Poverty claimed the family as all means to get money broke down. I saw hands chopped off, people killed before my eyes, houses burned and people buried alive. I suffered a great deal during the war.

  • My Experience in Peace:

Things are much better now than it was during the war. Some people term our peace as fragile while others say it is negative peace. I can say it is better than war. People are more peace conscious these days. It was after the war that a peace department was established in Fourah Bay College (FBC) and many other colleges and institutions have peace related programs as well.

Structures are now in place to maintain peace and build peace. People believe in dialogue and mediation to settle conflicts rather than through the gun. This is mainly due to the concerted efforts of every facet of society in building and promoting peace.

There is freedom of movement, association and much more peaceful elections and some amount of respect for human rights. There is room for improvement and the country is moving every day in maintaining the already elusive peace.