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Sierra Leone lies on Africa’s Atlantic coast between Guinea and Liberia. The landscape includes eastern mountains, an upland plateau, wooded hills, and coastal mangrove swamps. A rainy season runs from May to November, and a dry season runs from December to April.
Ranked 180th out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index, Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries. More than 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
Health is a primary concern in Sierra Leone. The World Food Program estimates that about 40 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnourishment.
At least 55,000 people are living with HIV and AIDS, and thousands of children have lost one or both parents to the disease.
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Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.
Established kids clubs where children learned about child rights and protection, and how to educate their peers on these topics.
Supported teachers so they could improve their teaching skills through certification programs and trainings on child-friendly teaching methods.
Equipped school facilities with materials and equipment so they could provide students with environments more conducive to learning.
Provided medicines, proper storage equipment, and staff training in order to improve local health care facilities.
Improved childhood nutrition by monitoring children's growth, and educating mothers on breastfeeding and nutrition practices.
Increased income-generating opportunities for women entrepreneurs by introducing them to the benefits of village savings and loan associations.
World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Sierra Leone to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 5,100 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Sierra Leone. Highlights include:
World Vision provided a one-time grant for rice production to the northern region of Sierra Leone in 1978, but began significant work within the country during a 1996 lull in the country’s bloody civil war. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:
Geography and people
Sierra Leone lies on Africa’s Atlantic coast between Guinea and Liberia. The landscape includes eastern mountains, an upland plateau, wooded hills, and coastal mangrove swamps. A rainy season runs from May to November and a dry season runs from December to April.
Natural resources include diamonds, titanium, bauxite, iron, and gold.
Nine out of 10 people are descendants of tribes native to Africa. The remaining 10 percent are descendants of freed slaves, called Creoles. English is the official language, but it is limited to the educated minority.
Most of the population lives in rural farming communities. Dwellings are usually mud huts with dirt floors and thatched roofs.
The banned trade of “conflict diamonds” has contributed heavily to Sierra Leone’s status as one of the least developed countries in the world. Conflict diamonds are diamonds sold to fund human rights abuses, either by insurgent groups or corrupt governments.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, runaway slaves and blacks discharged from the British armed forces settled in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown.
Sierra Leone gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961 and became a republic on April 19, 1971.
Amid pressure from the United Nations, a 10-year civil war between the government and the Revolutionary United Front ended in 2002. The war claimed an estimated 50,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people.
In June 2007, a U.N.-backed court convicted three former rebel leaders of crimes against humanity—including enlisting child soldiers. This court was the first time an international tribunal ruled on the recruitment of children under age 15 as soldiers.