People Helped in 2017: 139,931
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.
Sierra Leone remains highly vulnerable, with the Ebola crisis having further weakened the country. This crisis, and rampant inflation in 2017, have had an impact on the country’s food security. Chronic malnutrition remains a problem with 31.3 percent of the population suffering from stunting and 30 percent of urban residents are overweight. A lack of access to basic services is also a problem: 28 percent have no access to clean water, and 80 percent are without access to latrines.
In August 2017, flooding and a mudslide hit the capital, causing at least 500 deaths, with 800 more missing. In response, our teams deployed to Freetown to provide emergency water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. They also conducted hygiene promotion, built solar energy water supply systems and latrines, and implemented disaster risk reduction activities.
Our nutrition and health team raised awareness of good practices in communities and treated undernutrition in 70 healthcare centers and 30 treatment centers. We also rehabilitated water facilities, provided medical supplies and strengthened the capacity of health workers. Food security projects and health and hygiene promotion activities were successfully implemented. Finally, we continued to combat undernutrition through advocacy work on health and nutrition policies.