The development context in Sierra Leone has changed over the past year due to the Ebola outbreak. The country has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, yet there’s been a decrease in women going to clinics for antenatal care and deliveries since the outbreak.
Ebola is affecting the economy, education and the healthcare systems, leaving millions struggling in the face of food insecurity or dying of preventable, treatable health issues such as malaria, diarrhoea and childbirth.
Christian Aid's work in Sierra Leone has contributed to citizens taking the lead in development interventions in their locality, and demanding quality service delivery from government/local leaders at all levels.
Power and governance
Despite Sierra Leone’s move towards democracy, the political landscape remains divided along south-eastern and north-western regional lines.
There has however, been some progress in opening up political space for citizens to engage in their own development. There has also been some success in the fight against corruption and government accountability.
Christian Aid Sierra Leone has been an active participant in the ongoing fight against Ebola, providing support to quarantined households, survivors and children affected by the disease.
The support includes food and non-food items, psychosocial support, awareness raising to break the chain of transmission and addressing the needs of children, including those orphaned by Ebola.
More than 70% of the population – mainly women – depend on the land for their livelihoods. The rush for farmland by foreign investors engaged in industrial-scale plantation agriculture in Sierra Leone has increased poverty and food shortages among communities who have lost their access to land.
Sierra Leone is a patriarchal society in which women are disadvantaged and under-represented in both the traditional and formal governance systems. Cultural norms and practices discriminate against women, hampering their access to power and resources.