Sona Traore-Sesay

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: BAE (Body Awareness and Empowerment)Liberia

Sona Traore-Sesay is a 2010-2011 YES Alumna, and a young leader who is making her mark amongst her peers in Liberia and around the world. She has inspired many girls in several leadership roles and is steadfast in voicing her opinions about issues affecting girls and women in her community. She is passionate about making a difference in this world and reaching as many young people as possible through education.

IVLP Impact Award Project: BAE (Body Awareness and Empowerment)

The project sought to create awareness and provide education to more than 300 young people between the ages of 13 and 25.  This was accomplished by delivering lessons to 50 young people monthly, for 6 months. These participants became ambassadors in their homes and communities, and the trainings exposed them to topics that would build their awareness about healthy choices they can make about their bodies. Trainings focused specifically on providing more information on sexual and reproductive health and awareness on SGBV (sexual and gender-based violence.) An older sister or brother in a large family would educate their younger siblings so they grow up being well informed about these topics that are often seen as taboo and therefore not discussed openly. At the end of the program, together with the 300 participants, the project made sure community leaders involve these topics in their youth engagement programs in the future. Through post-workshop surveys, 335 active participants confirmed that they gained new knowledge about SGBV, body awareness, sexual reproductive and health education. 

Sona was also a panelist for the IVLP Impact Awards Alumni Discussion Series panel on “Global Public Health” which you can read more about here.

"I like how the speakers were bold and spoke in depth of these topics without speaking of them as taboo - they were at our level and because of my experience, I would recommend the workshop to others" - Project Participant.

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Sona was a participant in the IVLP Project NGO Management for AF/EUR/NEA, organized by the U.S. Department of State and FHI 360.

Sona's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "It took someone showing me the power of my little action for me to value it myself and contribute to my community. This philosophy is something I will... consciously lay in the minds of the participants so they can all go and leave their own [mark] on others."

U.S. Communities Visited

Washington, DC; Des Moines, IA; Kansas City, MO; Manchester, NH; Reno, NV; Cleveland, OH; Dallas, TX

Country: Liberia 

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