Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr is a Sierra Leonean politician, and the current mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Due to her exceptional relief work for the rehabilitation of affected people in war-torn Sierra Leone, and for helping people during the Ebola outbreak, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth in January, 2016.
In her TED talk about how dissatisfaction should lead to action, she relays the unfortunate events that unfolded in Freetown, and how they motivated her to do what’s best for her hometown. “Sometimes, you have a negative feeling about things. You’re not happy about the way things are going. You feel frustrated and dissatisfied, and so often, we choose to live with it. It’s a negative that we tell ourselves we have to endure. And yet, I passionately believe that we all have the ability to turn that negative feeling into positive by allowing our dissatisfaction to give birth to change,” Yvonne says.
Her dissatisfaction with the ongoing relief measures led her to taking charge on her own, and helping the affected communities first hand. She succeeded in helping many women and children during the rebel invasions of 2006, and several more people during the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak.
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“Dissatisfaction can be a constant presence in the background, or it can be sudden, triggered by events. Sometimes it’s both,” she says. “It [the power of dissatisfaction] works when you know that things can be done better, and it works when you decide to take the risks to bring about that change.”
She ends her powerful speech, saying, “If you believe that things can be better, then you have the option to do something rather than to do nothing. The scale and circumstances of our situations will differ, but for each of us, we all have one thing in common. We can take risks to make a difference, and I will close in saying, step out, take a risk. If we can unite behind the power of dissatisfaction, the world will be a better place.”
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