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Sierra Leone

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: 5,978,700
  • Life Expectancy: 45 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 58%
  • School Enrollment: 69%
  • Land Mass: 27,699 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 43%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 182/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 580

Facts about Sierra Leone

Economic Development

Sierra Leone is one of the world’s poorest countries. Around 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.


According to UNICEF, Sierra Leone has the highest rate of mortality among children under 5 in the world.

Clean Water

More than half of the population in the city and urban centers are without a piped water supply; the situation is even more serious in the rural areas, where the majority of the population uses unprotected water sources. Also, most part of the country is without electricity supply; where it does exist, it is irregular.

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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 2014.

  • We created savings groups that provide interest-earning savings accounts and small, affordable loans for people who don’t have access to traditional banking services, empowering them to meet their children's basic needs, start businesses, and plan for the future.

  • World Vision established children's clubs where young people learned about leadership, child rights, and advocacy so they can share their opinions about community decisions that affect children and youth.

  • Area teachers were enrolled in distance education that will help them improve their teaching skills and provide quality education to children.

  • Members of school management committees were trained in planning and monitoring the quality of education to ensure that educational programs are sustainable.

  • Students benefited from a better learning environment in newly-constructed, fully furnished classrooms.

  • World Vision collaborated with government efforts to respond to the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone by raising community awareness on symptoms, transmission, and prevention.

  • To improve maternal and child health, pregnant women were educated by World Vision about prenatal and postnatal care and what to do if they experience complications during their pregnancies.

  • In partnership with government officials, religious leaders, and local leaders, we helped combat malaria by raising community awareness and training health workers to diagnose and treat the disease.

  • Health services improved when we constructed new health centers and provided essential medical equipment to remote clinics.

  • Children participated in spiritual nurture programs, which were led by local pastors with World Vision’s support. The programs are part of an effort to equip pastors as spiritual leaders of their communities.

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    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 5,300 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Sierra Leone. Highlights include:

    • Improving access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
    • Improving productivity of rural farmers to increase food and income security.

    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

    • Please pray for caregivers providing homes for children who have been orphaned by Ebola.
    • Pray for farmers seeking to learn more effective agricultural methods to help feed children and families.