A decade after Sierra Leone emerged from a brutal civil war which devastated rural areas, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world with more than half of the population living on less than $1.25 a day. The inequality and lack of political voice that led to conflict is still present in the country today.
Disease: lacking good healthcare means that Sierra Leone has a life expectancy of just 49 years and has one of the highest rates of maternal and child mortality in the world. Investing in infrastructure and providing basic education could prevent this but communities have little knowledge of - or say in - where their taxes go.
Poverty: more than 80% of Sierra Leone's population live in extreme poverty but with a political system which still favours those who have money, there is little incentive for them to increase the wealth of those they are supposed to serve.
Hunger: despite having vast arable lands with the potential to feed much of the population almost half of all Sierra Leoneans are undernourished.
Our work focuses on supporting our partners who work with the community to improve people’s lives.
They do this through helping communities to develop secure livelihoods; providing adult education within communities on rights, literacy and key health issues; involving youth and women on an equal basis in development work; and challenging the inefficient collection and use of tax and the bias towards the wealthy in the political and judicial systems.
By helping communities understand and defend their rights Christian Aid partner the Network Movement for Justice and Development is also helping ensure they know what financial resources are available to them too.
So when money provided for furniture in Namiya School failed to materialise, the community took the case up with the headmaster and the local government. This ensured the money they were due was spent as it was intended.
What you can do
• Help us continue our work in Sierra Leone by donating.
• Tax dodging costs poor countries $160 billion a year. This is money that should be spent building schools and hospitals. Join our Trace the Tax campaign.
• Read about Sowa's search for justice after her husband abandoned her, leaving her in debt.
• Youth building peace: NMJD is helping young people earn respect by taking a lead in rebuilding their communities.
Share this article