As the head of the National Commission for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (NCRRR), he spearheaded the government’s efforts, supported by international partners including the World Bank and the United Nations, to reconstruct villages and towns destroyed by civil conflict. A major part of his work also involved collaborating with community leaders in towns and villages across the country to facilitate the return of displaced civilians, returnees, and former combatants to their former homes. At the onset, the NCRRR was also responsible for the disarmament of former combatants.
In 2001, at the end of the mandate of NCRRR, Kanja Sesay worked with development partners to start the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA). NaCSA’s role was to take the work of NCRRR in relief and reconstruction through to development and effective and sustainable reintegration.
Due to his service and work for Sierra Leone, in 2007 President Kabbah presented Kanja Sesay a National Honours Award for his “outstanding, distinguished and meritorious service” to Sierra Leone.
In 1990, Kanja Sesay founded and served as the Executive Director of the Association for Rural Development (ARD). ARD is currently a leading microcredit finance institution in Sierra Leone and Kanja Sesay, following his departure from formal government service, serves as the Chairman of its Board of Directors.
He has previously served as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (SLANGO) and a member of the Board of Directors of Sierra Leone Export and Investment Corporation (SLEDIC).
After graduating from university, he taught for several years at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School and Prince of Wales Secondary School in Freetown before launching a career in the field of development as a Project Officer at Catholic Relief Services.
Kanja Sesay holds a B.A. (Hons.) Degree from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone (1980) and an M.A. in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands (1987). He also holds a certificate in Executive Management and Strategic Leadership from Templeton College, University of Oxford (2002); and a Certificate in Counter-Disaster Planning and Management jointly from the Mananga Agricultural Management Centre in Swaziland and the Disaster Preparedness Centre, Royal Military College of Science in Cranfield, England (1988).
As a student, he served as the Financial Secretary of the Bo District Students Union at Bo School and Secretary General of the Fourah Bay College Students Union.
Kanja Sesay is married with three children. His wife, Fatu Kanja Sesay (née Daramy), is the former Commissioner for Democracy with the National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights.