By Amin Kef-Ranger
The 2nd September, 2023 was a very momentous day as one of the most progressive organizations existing in living memory, AWOL, held a grand celebration of exceptional individuals who have left an indelible mark, uplifted communities and driven progress during the AWOL Annual Achievement Awards in America.
The event, which was held at the Arundel Live Casino Ballroom in Maryland, saw the presence of esteemed guests, fellow Sierra Leoneans, and the distinguished Global Chairman of AWOL, Amb. Anthony Navo Jnr.
Amb. Anthony Navo Jnr, in his role as the Global Chairman of AWOL, delivered a heartfelt address that resonated with the essence of the event. He extended a warm welcome to all attendees, emphasizing the importance of honoring those who excel and make a positive impact in society.
This year’s event held a special place in the hearts of attendees, with diverse backgrounds coming together to celebrate excellence. Amb. Navo expressed his deep gratitude to AWOL America, its Executive team and members for their unwavering commitment to preserving the AWOL spirit. He acknowledged their commendable efforts in “Putting Salone Fos,” or advancing Sierra Leone.
The event featured esteemed guests and performers, including the renowned comedian from Sierra Leone, Richie of Obama. Amb. Navo welcomed them warmly into the AWOL family.
AWOL, an acronym for “All Works of Life,” has evolved into a global development organization dedicated to educational initiatives that contribute positively to society. It engages in various projects, including cultural entertainment programs, accessible healthcare, education, sustainable development, and internationally coordinated efforts aimed at poverty alleviation and sustainable progress.
Amb. Navo underscored the uniqueness and inspiration of the AWOL brand. Not only does it unite Sierra Leoneans, but it also provides a profound opportunity to give back to their beloved nation. AWOL plays a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of role models, instilling positive mindsets, and driving positive change.
Founded in 2001 under the leadership of the late President Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, AWOL has exhibited remarkable resilience and longevity. It has the potential not only to endure indefinitely but also to steer transformative change for Sierra Leone.
One of AWOL’s significant achievements is the establishment of AWOL Chapters in the Diaspora, including the USA, the UK, Europe, Australia, and ongoing efforts in Africa, with The Gambia working towards establishing its own AWOL Chapter.
Amb. Navo emphasized that AWOL belongs to all Sierra Leoneans, not a select few. It is a collective effort, and the organization’s ideals will continue to be carried forward by future generations.
In Sierra Leone, the AWOL parent body encountered challenges since the last organization of the National Achievement Awards in 2019. However, Amb. Navo announced the return of these prestigious awards later in December. The National Achievement Awards are an annual celebration that acknowledges the contributions of individuals and communities, aiming to promote excellence, hard work, and dedication in both public and private service.
To mark AWOL’s return, the organization provided meals to homeless children in Makeni, commemorating the Day of the African Child on June 16th, 2023. AWOL remains steadfast in supporting the Government of Sierra Leone and the nation’s development.
Amb. Navo reminded everyone of Sierra Leone’s status as one of the most peaceful nations on earth, despite its history of conflict. He stressed the importance of unity and a shared purpose to develop the beloved country.
The Annual Achievement Awards ceremony was a night of celebration, honoring nominees and eventual winners. Amb. Navo encouraged attendees to savor the evening, celebrate excellence, and inspire others to rise and shine.
The event concluded with a message of gratitude and a heartfelt blessing for all attendees.
Amb. Anthony Navo Jnr continues to play a pivotal role as the Global Chairman of AWOL, contributing to the organization’s mission of fostering positive change and development in Sierra Leone and beyond.