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Mariama Kamara

My name is Mariama Kamara and I am 33 years of age. I am originally from Sierra Leone and moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 9. I have always been interested in development issues especially on poverty, energy, education, sexual and reproductive health and HIV issues relating to women and young people.

My background is in Development with a MSc in Development Studies and first degree in Psychology with extensive experience in the field particularly within HIV and sexual health issues relating to women and young girls. I have worked on different HIV, advocacy and campaigning projects at local, national and international level with organisations such as SciDev.Net , African Health Policy Network, VSO, and African Development Association for Progress, Restless Development and Africa UK in contributing towards the development of Africa.

In 2011, I spent 3 months in Sierra Leone on a placement with Restless Development as a SRH Curriculum Development Technical Assistant. I developed a comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) graded curriculum for delivery by volunteers in the Youth Empowerment Programme. During my stay, I learnt a lot about access to energy and that the majority of young people I was working with were using kerosene lamps to study. Personal experiences also underscore my understanding of the importance of energy. When I was a young girl growing up in Sierra Leone, I also studied by a kerosene lamp at night. The affect that this had has stayed with me throughout my life. I was also really surprised that this was still happening, when we now have access to clean, affordable, reliable solar products.

I started reading, learning, doing research on the solar sector and partnering with different energy and corporate companies. In 2013, I attended the School for Social Entrepreneurs in London and set up Smiling Through Light which was all an idea but now a reality. I believe in the importance of sustainable energy and the need to work in collaboration with different organisations to ensure that individuals have the opportunity to access relevant energy sources particularly solar.

Smiling Though Light ‘Igniting Potential Through Solar’


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