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Brigadier General Kestoria Olufemi Kabia(GOOR)
Assistance Chief of Defence Staff of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces

Brigadier General Kestoria Olufemi Kabia has served the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) for a considerable period of years, becoming the first ever female infantry officer to reach this army rank not only in Sierra Leone but in the whole of the West African sub-region. She joined the officer corps of the RSLAF in 1978 after a successful completion of the Long Service Commissioning Course at the Women’s Army Royal Corp College (WRAC) in the UK.

Brigadier Kabia is a fellow of the National Defence University in China, where she earned a Diploma in Military Strategic Studies. She has also attended series of military seminars, workshops and conferences such as the Executive Seminar on Legal Aspect of Military in a 21st Century Society, the International Experts Seminar on Military Ethics and Human Rights and Civil Military Relations Seminar (all in Freetown). The Leadership and Organization Management Workshop in Accra- Ghana, Community Leadership Conference in Ouagadougou-Burkina Faso, 5th African Conference of Commandants in Gaborone-Botswana, Human Rights Peace and Security Conference in Cambodia, International Security Symposium in China and the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies Senior Leadership Seminar in Washington DC-USA. She has also attended Gender Mainstreaming Conferences and trainings in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Brussels, Sweden and Washington DC-USA respectively. In 2009, the Brigadier became part of the Sierra Leone’s delegation at the African Land Forces Summit in the USA, becoming the first female one star to represent the country in such a summit.

The Brigadier also has a vast level of experience especially in the areas of Logistics, financial records and personnel management, having spent most of her career in such appointments at various levels. Among appointments held in those fields are the following: Pay Officer-Army Pay Services, 2ic-Army Pay Services, Officer Commanding-Pay Services, Officer Commanding- Internal Audit, Staff Officer Grade One-Logistics, Pay and Records, Forces Pay Master and Staff Officer Grade One-Personnel & Administration. Her most recent appointments include: Acting Director of Defence Personnel at the Ministry of Defence, Director of Personnel, Director of Public Relations and Information and Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Personnel & Training, all at the MOD. She currently holds the appointment of Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Gender and Equal Opportunities, which post was recently established at the MoD in fulfillment of the Chief of Defence Staff’s desire to have the RSLAF as a model for gender equality in the sub-region. Within her two years spell as ACDS G/EO, the Brigadier has overseen the promulgation of the first Gender Policy for the RSLAF, the establishment of a close liaison between various gender groups (especially in the security sector) with local and International partners and ensured increased awareness, advocacy and empowerment through skills and education for all women in the security sector in Sierra Leone.

She has also enjoyed quite an eventful life in civil domain, holding various appointments in society. These include President of the Soroptimist International – Freetown Chapter, Parish Representative to Synod and Member of the Standing Committee, Executive Member and Vice President – Lay Readers Association (Diocese of Freetown), Member of the Board of Governors-Services Secondary School, Vice President-Community Teachers Association (MGHS), Executive Member – Ladies of St Andrew’s Gloucester, Chairman Board of Governors Methodist Girls High School (MGHS) and Leader of the House of Laity (Anglican Diocese- Freetown). As a member of several women’s organisations (notably the Women’s Movement for Peace in Sierra Leone where she was vice president and also a member of the Women’s Forum), she participated in the Regional Conference on Women in Dakar, Senegal in 1994 and the Beijing Conference on Women in 1995.

Brigadier Kabia is a product of the Methodist Girls High School and holds a Master of Arts Degree in Education & Administration from the University of Sierra Leone; a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and a Higher Teachers Certificate from the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology. She also holds a number of certificates in areas such as Management, Audit and is a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians. Among her awards are the RSLAF Long Service and Efficiency Award (LS&E), the All Works of Life Award (AWOL) for Military Officer of the Year (2008), Zonta International Freetown Chapter Award – Women of Excellence, TEDOWOSIL Award of Excellence and National Democracy Award 2010. During the nation’s 50th Independence Anniversary in 2011, she was among the 50 women decorated with the Golden Jubilee Award. In 2012, she was decorated with the national award of Grand Officer Order of the Rokel (GOOR) and later awarded the Youth Career Legendary Award for Long and Quality Service.

The Brigadier is a founding member of the Women in the Security Sector in Sierra Leone (WIS-SL) and the Republic of Sierra Leone’s Armed Forces Service Women Association (RSLAF-SWA). She is happily married to Dr. V E A Kabia with three children.

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