Home > Our Impact > Country Profiles > Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

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.

  • Population: 5,868,000
  • Life Expectancy: 47 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 49%
  • School Enrollment: 69%
  • Land Mass: 27,699 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 41%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 174/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 340

Facts about Sierra Leone

Economic Development

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.

Sierra Leone flag


Explore areas where you can help us build a better world for children.

Sponsor a Child in Sierra Leone

No Image Available
Monthly Sponsorship:

is waiting for a World Vision sponsor. is years old and lives in .


Progress in Sierra Leone

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Partnered with communities to build and renovate hand-pumped water wells, increasing access to clean water.

  • Provided schools with teaching materials to enhance the quality of education.

  • Trained school management committees to monitor educational programs and improve school performance.

  • Strengthened the quality of education through training and professional development for teachers and other education workers.

  • Helped orphans and vulnerable children attend school by providing them with school supplies and uniforms.

  • Continued to raise awareness of child rights through community meetings and events such as the celebration of African Child Day.

  • Partnered with the local health department to immunize and deworm children.

  • Held camps and retreats to provide spiritual nurture for children.

  • Distributed treated bed nets to help control the spread of malaria among children and pregnant women.

  • Worked to reduce malnutrition in children under age 5 by training caregivers in nutrition, treatment of diarrhea, and the importance of breastfeeding.

  • Trained birth attendants in safe childbirth practices and provided health clinics with newborn care kits to reduce infant mortality.

  • Monitored children's health and helped sick and malnourished children access medical treatment.

  • +
    World Vision in Sierra Leone Today

    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:

    • Promoting hygiene through community training for water management committees and the rehabilitation of broken wells.
    • Enhancing the capacity of community partners to improve the quality of education for girl and boys.
    • Providing training for farmers and farming groups to increase agricultural production.
    • Improving maternal and chid health by counseling households with pregnant women or lactating mothers with children under the age of two.

    World Vision History in Sierra Leone

    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:

    • Assisting people affected by civil war and improving agriculture, health, and child protection during the 1990s.
    • Helping displaced people resettle and rebuild their homes, providing seeds, hoes, and other farming equipment and offering agricultural training since 2001.
    • Providing youth training and assistance to more than 80,000 youths affected by civil war.

    Geography & People

    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.

    Prayer Requests for Sierra Leone

    • Adults and children who are vulnerable to many sicknesses like malaria, tuberculosis, and pneumonia.
    • Economic growth and social development to continue so families can lift themselves out of poverty.