In the shadow of a ten-year civil war in which some 50,000 people lost their lives, Sierra Leone’s peace agreement of 2001 opened the door to the gradual disarmament of armed factions, ushering in a period of relative stability with signs of economic growth.
Sierra Leone’s populations face a range of humanitarian challenges, from limited infrastructure for providing safe drinking water or sanitation improvements, to rampant hunger and very high infant mortality rates. In response, the government developed a strategy to prioritize four key areas: improving access to electricity, developing a national transportation network, increasing productivity in agriculture and aquaculture, and taking on the nation’s social and humanitarian challenges.
In 2010, the government made a sizeable investment in its public health efforts, instituting a Free Health Care initiative in which pregnant and nursing mothers and children under five years of age receive access to free health care. The program has made significant progress and now serves as a model for other African nations seeking effective public health investments.
With a presence in Sierra Leone since 1991, Action Against Hunger has developed a package of integrated services to help the most vulnerable communities inch towards self-sufficiency. More recently, our water, sanitation and hygiene programs have expanded to ensure access to clean drinking water, sanitation, and preventive measures in mitigating cholera outbreaks.