Sierra Leone Partnership Projects

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Good food and clean water:
changing lives in Sierra Leone

Most people in Sierra Leone are dependent on farming, but for virtually all of them, this is ‘subsistence’ agriculture: just about enough is grown to feed the family a very basic diet. Our Sierra Leone partnership gives groups in the UK the chance to support two projects in the south of the country, tackling the most important needs in two different communities: good food and clean water. Your gifts to this vital work, in a desperately poor country, will transform people’s lives.

The project locations
The project locations

However it is defined, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world:

  • Life expectancy is only 47
  • Almost 1 in 10 children die before their first birthday
  • A third of five-year-old children are underweight
  • Only half the population have access to safe drinking water
  • More than half the population live on less than $1.25 a day; more than three-quarters live on less than $2 a day

Torn apart by a brutal civil war that ended in 2002 and left tens of thousands dead or mutilated by rebel forces, the country is only slowly rebuilding itself. The projects are helping people to grow more plentiful and more varied food in the western coastal region and providing clean safe water in the far south. Good food and clean water are such basic things that we take them for granted, but for the people this project will reach, they could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Where are the Projects

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The farming project is in a part of Bonthe District, which is both riverine and coastal. Dependent on a mixture of farming and fishing, people in this district suffer worse than anyone else in the country from food shortages – on most days, the majority of people would only have one meal. The project is in the riverine area of mainland Bonthe District – it does not include Sherbro Island. The riverine area is remote, hard to traverse and during the long wet season villages can be cut off for weeks at a time.

The health and water project is in rural Pujehun District, which is adjacent to Bonthe District and stretches to the border with Liberia. Coffee, cassava and cacao (the basis of chocolate) are grown here, and some of Sierra Leone’s diamond fields are in this District (Sierra Leone’s main diamond mining region – portrayed in the 2006 film ‘Blood Diamond’, starring Leonardo DiCaprio – is centred around Kenema, due north of Pujehun).

The maternal health project is in the Kailahun District, the poorest district in the country. In this district less than 32 per cent of babies were delivered by a skilled birth attendant in 2008 and neither of its two hospitals is able to provide comprehensive care to pregnant women and those in labour.

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