COTN–Sierra Leone is Named One of the Top Three Philanthropists in the Country

01/21/11

This past October, Children of the Nations (COTN) in Sierra Leone was nominated for Philanthropist of the Year out of hundreds of non-government organizations in Sierra Leone. The nomination came from Sierra Leone–based All Works of Life Development Association (AWOL), an organization with the motto “Put Salone Fos” (Put Sierra Leone First). It is currently helping the government of Sierra Leone revamp its identity and encourage development and growth. Each year, it hosts a National Achievement Awards ceremony for businesses, individuals, and organizations in Sierra Leone that are helping the country become better developed. This year, COTN joined the short nominee list for philanthropists. “We got a letter to say that we were among the best three,” says Rev. Angie Myles, COTN–Sierra Leone Country Director. “That the organization appreciated the work we were doing, that they appreciate people who are working conscientiously. They put us in the paper, on the radio, and on the TV."

According to a November 4 article in Sierra Leone’s Satellite Newspaper, the Sierra Leone public is able to nominate and vote on the various nominees through their phone and on radio stations. Nominations are also requested from local media. Then, an awards committee made up of citizens from the public processes, investigates, and determines the winners. “They went around, gathered info, asked people,” Rev. Myles says, explaining the process for choosing a final winner.

Rev. Myles attended the awards ceremony, which was held on December 26 in Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital. COTN–Sierra Leone Chairman of the Board, Victor Wright, along with Agatha Norman, COTN–Sierra Leone Administration and Finance Officer, also attended the ceremony. Though another organization was awarded first place, Rev. Myles is thrilled with being nominated for such an award. "We all felt great. Even though we didn’t get the trophy, the fact that we have been recognized, that is a big, big honor and everybody is happy,” she says of the staff and children. “When you think of some of the big, wealthy organizations that are working in Sierra Leone, with their cars and their air-conditioned offices, but then they chose us! I give God the glory. Maybe next year there will be something bigger."

COTN Founder Chris Clark said he was proud of the COTN–Sierra Leone staff and the high standard that Rev. Myles has set for Sierra Leone and for COTN in leading her staff. “Our Sierra Leone staff and children have been a delight to watch over these past five years in Banta,” Chris says. “It was no surprise that this team was nominated to be considered as one of the top three in the country.”

The nomination means a lot to the COTN–Sierra Leone staff and teachers, encouraging them to continue their ministry to children in Sierra Leone. “It means we are recognized,” Rev. Myles says. “Whenever we walk in to any of the government offices, they will know who we are. The president and the former president and other officials were at the awards ceremony and so these people know who we are. It means a lot. The staff are determined now to work even better.”

That work means continuing to care for orphaned and destitute children in Banta Mokelleh, Sierra Leone, where there are so many children in need. This nomination recognizes that which has already been done and motivates for more to be done in the future. “I think we have really made an impact when you consider what Banta was like. Most non-government organizations go to places were there are lights and running water,” Rev. Myles says. “In this short time, if you see what we have done—bringing education, bringing light, bringing health care. We have all contributed to this—all the Global Interns, all the teachers, the Children’s [Village] staff, the farm. Most of us had to sleep in [mud homes] before we got established here. Those sacrifices are now being recognized."

Join COTN’s ministry in Sierra Leone, helping orphans in Africa.