Reverend Father Peter Konteh
Reverend Father Peter Konteh is a Catholic priest ordained on 9th April 1996 at the peak of the 10 year brutal civil war in Sierra Leone. Fr Peter as he is fondly called, began social work over 30 years ago; well before his ordination to the priesthood and has since maintained a remarkable balance between social and pastoral work.
Growing up in a devout Catholic family, Fr Peter demonstrated remarkable passion for service; first among the street children in the congested squatters and slums of Freetown. He went on to support Catholic priests and local community in the service of the people of God in various ways.
He subsequently decided for a dedicated service to God as a Catholic priest and entered the college seminary for priestly formation. The priestly formation leading to academic degrees in Philosophy and Humanities, have been enhanced with further professional training and hands-on experience in various aspects of pastoral, humanitarian and relief work.
During the civil war, he joined like-minded colleagues to establish the Inter-Religious Council and they grew into an integral part of the peace architecture that facilitated the dialogue between the Government of Sierra Leone and the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). And when was not in Church or on the field, he could be heard on BBC reporting on the ravages of the war, to make up for the absence of journalists who had fled the country or closed down their business altogether.
During the 10 year brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, he also worked in the management of camps (for both refugees and internally displaced persons) and resettlement of refugees. His successes were duly acknowledged by UNHCR as an outstanding Camp Management of remarkable integrity.
His passion for humanity energized him to continually support war affected and suffering people irrespective of their faith, or nationality. He coordinated food and non-food items for refugees in Guinea, while at the same time pushing for the respect of the right of these refugees.
As he grew in pastoral and social work, he will not lose sight of passion for child protection, and duly established the St Mary’s Children’s Home in 1997 in Bo, to care for war orphans whose parents were killed, maimed and disabled and unable to care for their children. St. Mary’s Children’s Home has thrived over these years, and accounts for the university students today.
After the war, he supervised the reconstruction of the Catholic Hospital at Serabu, in partnership with the European Union. As director of the diocesan development offices of the Archdioceses of Freetown and Bo, he implemented wide ranging socio-economic projects.
Fr. Peter’s leadership with the Caritas family is credited one of the first development partners to kick-start a long response campaign with awareness raising and social mobilization drive, as news of the Ebola outbreak in neighboring Guinea spread with its initial denial. Other interventions undertaken during the campaign include training of response teams, supply of sanitary kits to vulnerable populations, house-to-house campaigns and safe and dignified burials.
As the Ebola spread its misery, Fr Peter went further to raise awareness at the international community level; notably through his presentation to US Senate in September 2014. Fr. Peter made a similar presentation in the UK House of Commons.
In his quest to support humanity, Fr. Peter established links and partnerships with various agencies including the Desert Flower Foundation, a Vienna based organization, campaigning against Female Genital mutilation. The Desert Flower Foundation supports over 500 girls to acquire education within its human rights program. Fr Peter is a board member and heads the organization in Sierra Leone.
Further acknowledgement of his outstanding service and leadership in the Church and development work are summarized as follows:
The Confraternity of Priests in Sierra Leone have chosen Rev Fr. Peter Konteh to lead the confraternity as President of the Confraternity of Priests in Sierra Leone.
Fr. Peter Konteh is the Chairman and Technical supervisor in Sierra Leone for the Healey International Relief Foundation an American (New Jersey-based) humanitarian organization that works on Child protection, education, health and social services in Sierra Leone.
He is also a board member and technical advisor for The Fig Tree Children Foundation, a Brisbane Australian based organisation that raises awareness and funding to help support Caritas Freetown and AFEWY provide for underpriviliged children (especially orphaned and vulnerable children) in Sierra Leone.
Fr. Peter is the focal person on child protection within the Catholic Church of Sierra Leone and also a member of the International Catholic child Protection Committee based in Rome, Italy.
Fr. Peter drew a lot of strength and direction from his pastoral duties as Parish Priest in both rural and urban communities in the Catholic dioceses of Bo and Freetown. He is as willing to take on tasks as he is innovative and results orientated. His appetite to serve is duly reflected in his outstanding leadership in the Church and development work.
Rev. Father Peter Konteh duly leads the development arm of the Catholic dioceses of Freetown. His commitment to continue his pastoral duties, support for the work of the Church and care for others is manifested in his drive to raise funds and seek sustainable development interventions at both community and national levels, in and out of the church, continues to affirm him as the Executive Director of the Archdiocesan Development Office/ Caritas Freetown, a solid partner of peace and development.