Inspiring Women: LIDC in conversation with Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor of Freetown
January 31, 2022
LIDC recently had the opportunity to talk to the dynamic Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE. She has received numerous plaudits for her work advocating for and empowering fellow Sierra Leoneans. In 2015, she was awarded an Ebola Gold Medal by then-president of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in January 2016. Her many achievements led to her being named one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2020 and last year, 2021, she was named one of the 100 next honorees by Time Magazine.
She spoke to LIDC’s Charine John (who also grew up in Freetown) about her plans to combat some of the many challenges afflicting the citizens of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. Her innovations include ‘Freetown is Treetown’ campaign, funded by winning Bloomberg’smayoral competition. It’s enabling the planting of 450,000 trees and has created jobs for the young. Since returning to Freetown – initially help with the fight against Ebola. She’s passionate about engaging young people in awareness-raising campaigns on public health, particularly garbage disposal and sanitation, and environmental issues such as deforestation and climate change, which were a factor in the deadly mudslide that took place in 2017.
We were inspired to hear about Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s tireless enthusiasm for her home city, and are delighted to share the conversation with you, here.