Sierra Leone

Photo: Samuel Hauenstein Swan for Action Against Hunger, Sierra Leone
Population
6.5 million
Human Development Index
179 (out of 188 countries ranked)
Our Team
68 employees
Program Start
1991

People Helped in 2019: 70,754

39,084
People Reached by Nutrition and Health Programs 
12,887
People Reached by Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programs 
18,783
People Reached by Food Security and Livelihoods Programs 

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.

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Sierra Leone remains highly vulnerable, with the Ebola crisis having further weakened the country. This crisis, and rampant inflation, have had an impact on the country’s food security. Chronic malnutrition remains a major problem with 31.3% of children suffering from stunted growth. Reducing maternal mortality, currently one of the highest ratios in the world, is a national priority. Lack of access to basic services is also problematic, with 32.2% of the population having no access to a source of drinking water.

In 2019, Action Against Hunger worked to improve the nutrition status of children under five and women of reproductive age through by detecting and treating acute malnutrition. Our teams also helped many mother-to-mother support groups, whose members include including pregnant and breastfeeding women, to organize activities to improve among infants, young children, and mothers, hygiene practices, community screenings, as well as support for food security and livelihoods. This program also included a Food Security and Livelihoods component.

Our teams also worked to strengthen the prevention and management of undernutrition by improving knowledge and practice in nutrition services, improving the capacity to coordinate and promote nutrition services at national level, and producing evidence to allow for best practices in the fight against undernutrition to be learned and shared.

During the massive floods in the summer of 2019, Action Against Hunger launched an emergency intervention providing cash and water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in partnership with Oxfam and national stakeholders through the Start Fund. Our teams distributed clean, installed water storage tanks, disinfection and rehabilitated water points and provided 1,289 families with unconditional emergency cash to help them meet urgent needs.

In the rural and urban West zones, our teams are also focused on improving access to basic health services for the most vulnerable people, especially women, children and youth.

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