He always lives his life for others and not for himself
Peter began his social work over 30 years ago, long before his priestly ordination, and has maintained a remarkable balance between social and pastoral work ever since.
He grew up in a believing Catholic family and showed a great passion for social service, first among the street children in the congested slums of Freetown. He also supported Catholic priests and the local community in serving the people of God in a variety of ways. Later he decided to become a committed Catholic priest and entered the College Seminar for Priestly Education. The priestly formation, leading to an academic degree in philosophy and humanities, was expanded by professional training and practical experience in various aspects of pastoral, humanitarian and auxiliary work.
During the Civil War, he joined like-minded colleagues to found the Interfaith Council and they became an integral part of the peace architecture that enabled dialogue between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels. And when he wasn't in church or in the field, he could be heard on the BBC, which reported on the devastation of the war to compensate for the absence of journalists who had fled the country or closed their businesses completely.
During the brutal ten-year civil war in Sierra Leone, he also worked in the management of reception camps (both for refugees and internally displaced persons) and the resettlement of refugees. His achievements have been recognized by the UNHCR as outstanding camp management of remarkable integrity.
His passion for humanity has led him to provide continuous support to affected people regardless of their faith or nationality. He has always focused on child protection. In 1997 he founded St. Mary's Children's Home in Bo to care for war orphans whose parents were killed, mutilated or injured and who were no longer able to care for their children.
After the war, he oversaw the reconstruction of the Catholic hospital in Serabu in partnership with the European Union. As director of the diocesan development offices of the archdioceses of Freetown and Bo, he carried out extensive socio-economic projects.
When the cruel Ebola epidemic spread its misery, it was Father Peter who raised international awareness, especially through his much-noticed presentation in the US Senate in September 2014. He gave a similar speech in the British House of Commons.
In his quest to support humanity, Father Peter forged links and partnerships with various organizations, including our Desert Flower Foundation, based in Vienna, which works against female genital mutilation. The Desert Flower Foundation provides girls with school education as part of its human rights program. Father Peter is a member of the board and heads the organization in Sierra Leone.
His other outstanding services in community and development work can be summarized as follows:
The Fraternity of Priests in Sierra Leone has chosen Father Peter Konteh to chair the Fraternity as President in Sierra Leone.
He is Chairman and Technical Supervisor for the Healey International Relief Foundation, an American humanitarian organization based in New Jersey that deals with child protection, education, health and social services in Sierra Leone.
He is a board member and technical advisor to the Fig Tree Children Foundation, an Australian organization based in Brisbane that raises awareness and funds Caritas Freetown and AFEWY for underprivileged children (especially orphaned and vulnerable children) in Sierra Leone.
Father Peter Konteh is the central figure for child protection in the Catholic Church of Sierra Leone and a member of the International Catholic Child Protection Committee based in Rome.
If anyone deserves this recognition, it is Father Peter Konteh. Congratulations!