Basic IndicatorsSource: UNICEF: The State of the World's Children Report
Population: 3,955,000 (2009)
National language(s): English (official), some 20 ethnic group languages
Per capita income: US$ 160/year (2009)
Life expectancy: 59 (2009)
% of population using
improved drinking water sources: 68% (2008)
% of population using
adequate sanitation facilities: 17% (2008)
Under 5 Mortality Rate: 112/1,000 live births (2009)
Liberia is slightly larger than Tennessee. Located in Western Africa, it's bordered to the west by the North Atlantic Ocean, to the north by Sierra Leone and Guinea, and to the east by Cote d'Ivoire.
With a favorable climate and abundant water resources, over 70 percent of Liberia's employed population can be found in the agricultural sector. Main exports include rubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava, palm oil, sugarcane, bananas, sheep, goats and timber.
A peace agreement in 2003 ended 14 years of civil war; however, years of fighting and government mismanagement have destroyed much of Liberia's economy and infrastructure, especially in and around the capital of Monrovia. International sanctions on diamonds and timber exports (formerly two of Liberia's primary exports) also continue to limit growth and prospects. Unemployment in Liberia is 85 percent, and over 80 percent of the population lives under the poverty line.
Unfortunately, children are among those most severly affected by poverty. According to research by UNICEF, Liberia's infant and under-5 mortality rates remain among the five highest in the world; more than 15 percent of children in the country die before reaching their first birthday. Nearly 40 percent of children under the age of five suffer from stunting as a result of malnutrition, and preventable diseases like malaria and measles kill thousands more each year.
Plan started working in Liberia in 1982 to help poor children to access their rights to education, health and protection. Civil unrest forced us to close down in 1993, however, we reopened in December 2006 and continue to help children living in poverty. Except in emergency situations, Plan does not provide direct assistance. Instead, we help communities develop, grow and, ultimately, support themselves.
Hear from the children
An essential part of Plan's work is empowering children to discuss the issues that matter to them and to take part in decisions that affect their lives. To help you learn about these issues, the children in Plan communities have put together a series of publications called "See Our World": Read what the children have to say about their lives.