By Abdulai Braima…..
In a specially organised virtual conference streamed live on various internet outlets to mark the occasion, a young Sierra Leonean student, Jeremiah Thoronka, was announced as the regional winner of this year’s Commonwealth Youth’s Award program.
This is an award which recognises young talents for their commitment to projects which are transforming lives in their communities and helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. It showcases and supports young people for making a difference in the lives of others.
The award provides opportunities for youths, aged between 15 and 29 to exhibit their talents and inspire others.
This year’s award program received over 1000 nominations from 43 countries out of which 25 nominees were reviewed and shortlisted.
There were four finalists from the African region. These included a Kenyan, a Nigerian, a Zambian, and a Sierra Leonean.
Jeremiah Thoronka, the eventual winner, is the founder of ‘Optim Energy’, an innovative technology company that specialises in solar energy production. His company has helped to bring solar electric power to over 150 households and 15 schools.
Before this latest award Jeremiah had been previously recognised as a ‘2019 United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network Fellow’ for his ingenious work in harnessing energy to serve the needs of ordinary people. Jeremiah’s innovative work in this area has reportedly benefited over 10,000 people in Sierra Leone.
This ongoing development should be welcoming news not just for Sierra Leone but for the entire sub Saharan African region where firewood, with its related environmental concerns and direct health hazards, serves as the main source of energy for cooking and where electricity, especially in the rural areas, has often proven to be a challenge for most people in the region.
As the overal energy sector keeps expanding in Sierra Leone it is heartening to see our youths leading the region in innovation and sustenance in such a vital area of development.
Copyright: Abdulai Braima
Information Attaché: SLHC United Kingdom.