Asmaa James is an award winning broadcast journalist, and anchor of ‘Good Morning Sierra Leone’, the most important breaking news, current events, and human rights program on Radio Democracy 98.1. In addition to this Ms. James was crucial to the survival of 98.1 after the radio station was evicted from its initial home 10 years ago, she single-handedly campaigned, and fund raised for the resources to build a new station.
Ms. James’ journey to a journalism career was accidental. She has hoped to become a air hostess or a police officer. Until one day when she heard a job advert for a radio presenter. She applied, and was accepted and trained. That led to a volunteer opportunity at Radio Democracy in 2001 where she has worked and won many accolades in the past 17 years.
Born in Freetown but partly raised in Pujehun. Ms. James is one of five children who were orphaned while she was still a child. As a result her childhood was wrought with difficulties. When she turned down the extended family’s offer to marry at a young age she was put out. She struggled to stay in school but she was determined to go all the way.It is this coming of age experience that has made Ms. James a campaigner for girls reproductive health education, and education. What she lacked as a girl many from similar backgrounds still do. There isn’t much that has changed with regards to drop-out rates, the commodification of girls, teenage pregnancy, and gender based violations.
Ms. James launched her eponymous foundation in the aftermath of ebola to support girls from disadvantaged backgrounds that want to go to school. She believes that if they get the sex education they need, they will be empowered to stay in school and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies that often end schooling in Sierra Leone.
Ms. James is the Executive Director of the Asmaa James Foundation, immediate past President of Women in Media SL, and she is former Vice President of Sierra Leone Reporters Union. She is a member of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow under the Young African Leadership. In 2014 Ms. James was recognised as the Most Outstanding Female Journalist in Sierra Leone by the Independent Media Commission.
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