The fight against the recent Ebola outbreak has highlighted courageous healthcare practitioners and advocates around the world. In Sierra Leone, 2009 Hubert H. Humphrey alumnus Joe Bangura has joined the ranks of the dedicated women and men who are working to prevent the spread of Ebola. This is one of the many reasons why Bangura has been recognized as the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Alumni Affairs Division outstanding alumnus for the month of December.
Bangura is a dynamic entrepreneur who uses his status as a national radio personality to provide information and motivate his audience to move forward during a time of crisis. As host of a one-hour, daily radio show titled “Join Hands to Drive Ebola Out” on one of the most listened to radio stations in the country, he stands at the forefront of the mass media efforts to help Sierra Leoneans take action against the Ebola outbreak.
In his role as head of corporate affairs in Africell, Sierra Leone’s biggest mobile company, he is responsible for arranging for the mobile cell phone services of Africell to be donated to health organizations free of charge to disseminate Ebola messages. As well as, exchanging notes on a weekly basis with staff of the BBC Media Action Trust and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop content for his show.
One of Bangura’s biggest accomplishments is his motivational television show, “Life-by-Design.” Through the show he has been able to serve as a mentor and financial supporter for a young adolescent student, who had built an FM radio transmitter from materials he picked up from scrap heaps. The student later won an invitation to participate in the World Maker Faire 2012 in New York and became the youngest person to participate at the Visiting Practitioner Program at MIT that same year! Bangura had the liberty of mentoring another student through his journey in the 2013 TEDxTeen talks in New York hosted by Chelsea Clinton. Currently, he is mentoring numerous youth leaders from low-income communities in Sierra Leone.
In addition to his role as a humanitarian, Bangura is the CEO of a micro-finance business that serves small and medium-sized enterprises. Over the last four years, Bangura’s business has grown almost tenfold. Bangura has also established four other growing businesses in the areas of publishing, software development, management consulting, and a multi-media production house.
Bangura was a Humphrey Fellow at the Maxwell School and Whitman Business School from 2009-2010.