Located on Africa’s west coast and about the size of South
Carolina, Sierra Leone is still recovering from a brutal 10-year civil war that
ended in 2002. Tens of thousands of lives were lost, and about one-third of the
population was displaced. The country ranks 180 out of 182 countries on the UN
Human Development Index.
Sierra Leone’s maternal and infant mortality rate is among the
world’s highest because of malnutrition and lack of access to health care. It
is one of the world’s poorest countries. Almost three out of four people live
on less than the equivalent of $2 a day.
ChildFund has served children in Sierra Leone since 1985.
Children and Youth in a Post-Conflict Society
To assist the post-war healing process, we’re working with
community partners to reintegrate thousands of people. More than 1,000 adults
have been trained to support children’s rights and psychosocial education. We
also provide vocational training for unaccompanied and internally displaced
children, children of adult amputees, teenage mothers and unemployed boys.
We’ve provided skills training and income-generation projects for more than 400
ex-soldiers and youths in 16 communities in 100 villages.
We provide family mediation, unification and creation of
child-friendly spaces. We support community-based Child Well-Being Committees
to help protect the rights of children and keep them from further abuse.
“Drop-In Centers” for street children are safe places with clothing, food and
school supplies. These children can also take advantage of informal education
and skills training as well as counseling.
Untold numbers of girls and young women were sexually exploited
during the war and are now alienated and separated from their families and
communities. We work to improve their emotional and physical health by bringing
them back into society and providing skills to help them return to their lives
and their futures. More than 1,000 girls have already received psychosocial
training, and 600 are enrolled in income-generating programs.
Nearly 60 percent of Sierra Leone’s school-age children do not
attend school. Because education is undervalued, we raise awareness of the
importance of literacy and skills training and have created informal schools so
that children have access to learning. With the help of our community partners,
we are rebuilding schools, providing teaching and learning materials and
Through ChildFund’s integrated child survival projects, trained
community health volunteers monitor young children’s growth and educate mothers
about the danger signs of malnutrition in addition to maintaining a nutritious diet
for their children.
trained volunteers also educate children and families about protecting
themselves from preventable, and often deadly, diseases such as malaria,
cholera, HIV and AIDS and others. Because only 57 percent of Sierra Leone’s
population has access to clean water, improving families’ access to safe water
and sanitation facilities is vital to improving public health, so ChildFund
works with communities to construct and maintain water pumps and safe latrines.