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Due to the fragile environment of Sierra Leone, our communities here are the only ones where we implement our projects through a local partner, the St. Joseph of Cluny Sisters, who have been working in Sierra Leone for many years and have been implementing our projects in the Kono District since 2002.
Due to the devastating effects of an 11-year civil war which ended in 2000, access to education in the Kono District is very limited. Almost all infrastructure, including schools, homes, medical and water facilities and businesses were destroyed during the war. Years later, the area is still severely neglected by the government and remains very low on the United Nations Human Development Index. All children involved in our projects are war-affected youth (those who have lost family and friends, who are amputees etc.). Through Adopt a Village, Free The Children is helping to bring normalcy to their lives.
Did You Know?
|53%||of Sierra Leone’s population lives below the poverty line.||47||is the average life expectancy in the country.|
|48%||of Sierra Leone’s children aged 5 to 14 are involved in child labour.||36%||of primary school-aged girls do not attend primary school.|
|74%||of the rural population does not have access to improved sources of drinking water.||52%||of girls aged 5 to 14 are illiterate.|
Free The Children’s Objectives in Sierra Leone
- Give communities the knowledge, skills, tools and resources to combat poverty for themselves and their children, now and in the future.
- Work with war-affected communities to give children a safe space to be kids, to gain an education and to heal.
Adopt a Village at a Glance in Sierra Leone
- School building
- Teacher training
- Libraries and Administration offices
- Capacity building
Clean Water and Sanitation
- Hand pumps
- Hand-washing Stations
- Water and sanitation education
- Bed net distribution
- Epilepsy management program
Alternative Income and Livelihood
- Animal husbandry
- Vocational training
Case Study – Kono District, Sierra Leone
The people of Kono District fill the word ‘resiliency’ with meaning. The community’s ability to pull through adverse trauma and destruction that accompanied an 11-year brutal civil war is truly remarkable.
The Kono District where Free The Children works is made up of two villages – Sukudu and Yomandu. A thorough community assessment conducted when Free The Children first began working there in 2005 revealed the following about the state of affairs.
- Psycho-Social Trauma – The vast majority of the residents in Sukudu and Yomandu, as well as residents in other villagers in Kono district, are traumatized because of their war experiences (11-year civil war). This trauma negatively affects their rehabilitation and reintegration into society, and ability to reach their full potential.
- Disruption of family support networks – The civil war destroyed the social fabric of society and the coping mechanisms of the poor, disrupting support often provided under the extended family and kinship systems.
- Youth delinquency and idleness due to illiteracy, lack of meaningful social activities, and high levels of unemployment and underdevelopment due to the 11 year civil war.
In 2005, the literacy rate among men in Kono district was 20 per cent, 10 per cent among women. In 2006, approximately 90% of school age children were not enrolled in school. Partly, that was because there were no schools in Sukudu village. The only two schools operating were in Yomandu. Overcrowding was a major concern, and there was only one teacher for every 67 students. Since then, Free The Children has built 35 classrooms in the Kono District, for both a primary school in Yomandu and a Junior Secondary School in Sukudu, providing education to over 700 students! All classrooms are furnished and outfitted. Teachers have been provided intensive training to improve quality of education, and as a result, these schools excel at academic performance in the region. In addition, the community recognizes the importance of girls’ education and is now sending their daughters to school.
During the war, most of the wells in Sierra Leone had become polluted, making them unusable. Free The Children hasbuilt two clean water systems in Kono District to provide both schools with access to clean drinking water. As a result, the schools have seen a marked increase in the number of girls attending school, closing the gender gap. In addition, latrines have also been built at both schools to accommodate all students and teachers.
Lack of clean water and sanitation had made the spread of diseases rampant. Malaria was one of the most common illnesses in the region. Free The Children began distributing bed nets to prevent the disease, and teachers are reporting a decrease in the incidence of malaria. Students continue to receive health and sanitation workshops to promote healthy living practices.
When Free The Children began working in Kono, the community’s primary source of income—its’ farms—had been destroyed. In response to the overwhelming need in this area, Free The Children launched an animal husbandry program for women. Women were provided with goats and trained by experts in rearing and breeding goats. This proved to be a steady and sustainable source of income for the community. It directly impacted 140 women and their families.