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Sierra Leone

Basic Indicators

Source: UNICEF: The State of the World's Children Report

Population: 5,696,000 (2009)
National language: English (official), Mende, Temne, Krio
Per capita income: US$ 340/year (2009)
Life expectancy: 48 (2009)
% of population using
improved drinking water sources:
49% (2008)
% of population using
adequate sanitation facilities:
13% (2008)
Under 5 Mortality Rate: 192/1,000 live births (2009)

Sponsor a child today! Sierra Leone, slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina, is a West African country located between Guinea and Liberia.

First a Portuguese, then a British colony, Sierra Leone attained self-rule in 1961. Today, Sierra Leone is recovering from a civil war (1991-2002) that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people. Unfortunately, children were also conscripted into the fighting forces. After the war about 6,854 children were released; of these, 6,569 (92%) were reunited with their families.

Having begun operations in Sierra Leone in 1976, Plan is currently working in four of the country’s 12 districts: Freetown (Western Area), Moyamba, Bombali and Port Loko/Western Area. In addition, we’re starting operations in Kailahun, which would be a new program area.

Plan's programs in Sierra Leone directly benefit 7,000 children in 1,126 communities across the country. Currently, we are focusing our efforts on tackling malaria. Sierra Leone has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates, and 70% of these deaths are caused by the disease. We are implementing a malaria prevention and control project with the help of an investment by the European Commission and Plan Germany.

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.