Turning Interest Into Action

The Madam Ella Koblo Gulama Foundation (EKG) was founded by the late paramount chief's grandchildren:  Amie, Nadeen, Nyanga, and Mameisia Kabia - her granddaughters and Albert Gulama - her grandnephew. The five of them came together to remember their grandmother in the form of a foundation that continues her life's mission and legacy.  

Madam Ella was a strong advocate for education and dedicated her life to the people of Sierra Leone, particularly the nation's women and girls.  At the EKG Foundation, we’re committed to investing our expertise and resources in order to further achieve our cause.

We are driven by a single goal; to do our part to ensure that the youth will make Sierra Leone a better place for all.  We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of our pursuits.

In October, 2019 our first project was launched.  Where we created an essay scholarship opportunity for final year secondary school girls as well as those enrolled in technical schools, colleges, and universities. 

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The Biography

Madam Ella Koblo Gulama was born on January 26, 1921 in Moyamba, Kaiyamba Chiefdom in Sierra Leone.  She was educated at the Harford School for Girls in Moyamba Town from 1928 to 1938. She then attended the Women’s Teachers Training College at Wilberforce, Freetown from 1938 to 1941.  After completing her studies, she was appointed supervising teacher for the provinces and became the first woman from the provinces to attain that position.

Madam Ella was married to Paramount Chief Bai Koblo Pathbana II of Marampa Masimera Chiefdom in 1933.  The union was blessed with seven children, two surviving, Obai and Soccoh Kabia.  

Madam Ella's late grandfather Momoh Gulama and father Julius Gulama worked relentlessly to bring people of all ethnic groups together.  He supported and worked for the establishment of the Bo Government School and was one of the founding members of the Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP). After his death in 1953, Madam Ella succeeded her father as Paramount Chief of Kaiyamba Chiefdom.

Madam Ella soon followed in the footsteps of her father and entered national politics.  In 1957, she became a member of the Moyamba District Council and was also elected to the House of Representatives of Sierra Leone as Paramount Chief Member for Moyamba District.  She thus became the first female member of that august body. She was re-elected to parliament and appointed a cabinet minister in the government of Sir Milton Margai, Sierra Leone’s first prime minister, thus becoming the first female cabinet minister in Sierra Leone and Africa's Sub-Saharan region.  

Madam Ella traveled widely representing Sierra Leone in Africa, Europe, the United States, and the Middle East.  In 1957, she was invited by the United States Government Department of State accompanied by her close friend Mrs. Elizabeth Eula Hatib.  She completed a four-month tour, during which time she met with the then Vice-President Richard Nixon, and was also a guest at the NAACP convention in Cleveland, Ohio and at the Booker T. Washington Institute in Tuskegee Alabama. She also visited the Lady Mayor in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1964; she led Sierra Leone’s delegation to the World Fair in New York and introduced the Sierra Leone National Dance Troop to an international audience for the first time with late John Arkar.  Madam Ella participated in a number of UN sponsored conferences on matters of rural community development and female education and progress.

In 1967, Madam Ella regained her seat in the general elections.  However, the elections were marred by controversy followed by a period of instability affecting the whole country, culminating in a series of military coups that finally ushered in a 30-year period of party rule under the All Peoples

Congress (APC) party.  Earlier in this period, she was incarcerated for two and a half years at the Pademba Road Prison but was subsequently exonerated and released.  She was also deposed as Paramount Chief during this period. She remained in the service of her church, the United Methodist Church and from 1985 to 1991 was Vice-President of its highest organ, the conference on Finance and Administration.

Throughout the span of her career, Madam Ella maintained a high interest in the educational development in Sierra Leone.  In particular, she worked hard to promote the education of

girls and to improve the lives of women in the country.  She was a member of the Board of Governors of her Alma Mater, The Harford School for Girls in Moyamba. Madam Ella was a member of the Sierra Leone Government Scholarship Advisory Board and also a member of the Bursary Committee of Fourah Bay College. She was President of the Federation of Women’s Organizations in Sierra Leone from 1960 to 1967, and President of the National Organization for Women (Sierra Leone) from 1986 to 1991.

In 1992, Madam Ella had a renaissance of her Political career, contesting and winning re-election as Paramount Chief of Kaiyamba Chiefdom by a unanimous vote. She worked assiduously with the help of NGOs to bring agricultural and infrastructural development to her Chiefdom and district. The rebel war and its effects were devastating to Moyamba District and the country as a while, resulting in the complete set back to development and progress.  She was forced to leave Moyamba and seek refuge in Banjul, The Gambia and subsequently in Freetown. On her return to Moyamba, Madam Ella again put all her efforts into the rehabilitation of her chiefdom and district. She however suffered setbacks in relation to her health. Nonetheless, she served in various capacities as a Director of the Sierra Leone Export Development and Investment Corporation (SLEDIC) from 1994 to 1996 and also a director of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited.

Madam Ella was a recipient of several awards including the Member of the Order of the British Empire Award (MBE) in 1959 and the Order of the British Empire Award (OBE) in 1966 from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.  She was also awarded the order of the Rokel from the President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah. 

Madam Ella was known as mother and grandmother by many other children through extension.  Madam Ella adored her family and friends and was a strong proponent of African traditional values.