Sierra Leone has found itself in a dire situation with a 10-year civil war and a mass outbreak of Ebola. Despite this, some have been implementing large-scale charitable efforts. By prioritizing sanitation, gender equality and safety for children, charities operating in Sierra Leone can help dramatically improve living conditions in Sierra Leone. Here is information about five charities operating in Sierra Leone.
WaterAid is a charity that provides clean water and sanitary spaces to impoverished countries. Sierra Leone suffered from a mass outbreak of Ebola from 2014-2016. Statistics from WaterAid show that less than one in four households had access to wash their hands and one in 14 had access to soap. With poor sanitary spaces, the people of Sierra Leone suffered greatly with more than 14,000 cases of Ebola. A lack of clean water also results in the prevalence of diarrhoeal-related illnesses with more than 700 children under the age of 5 dying from the illness every year. WaterAid aims to provide clean water, toilets and other sanitary products to prevent the devastating impacts of various diseases. Through funding the construction of taps dispensing clean water, WaterAid strives to give the people of Sierra Leone access to clean water.
Sierra Leone War Trust For Children
Sierra Leone’s 10-year civil war forced many young children to fight and see things beyond their years. Established in 1999, the Sierra Leone War Trust For Children aids those children most affected by the civil war and helps them find a safe future. Project funding has prioritized children’s health and education to give young children the best chance at a healthy and fulfilled life. Since its establishment, the charity has raised more than $1 million and has helped more than 5,000 Sierra Leonean children. Current projects involve giving aid to Ebola orphans who have lost parents and donating school supplies to improve the quality of education in the country. By giving children important skills, they have a better chance of finding employment in the future and growing the economy.
British Red Cross
The British Red Cross is a charity that strives to end human suffering around the world. The charity prioritizes education as a key to the nation’s health. For example, Red Cross volunteers visit households to educate families on disease prevention techniques. By giving Sierra Leonean people essential knowledge about the spread of disease, the risk of another outbreak is much lower. As a result of COVID-19, domestic abuse of women in Sierra Leone has been an increasing problem. Through cash grants, the British Red Cross has also emphasized the provision of education, medical attention and job opportunities to women suffering from domestic abuse.
Aberdeen Women’s Center
Charities operating in Sierra Leone are necessary to provide aid for women in society. The Aberdeen Women’s Center, operating in Freetown Sierra Leone, aids women who have suffered from female genital mutilation (FGM). The charity has gained significant popularity since it started in 2010 and the maternity ward now delivers more than 3,000 babies a year. By ensuring safe childbirth for young women, the charity is working to set a precedent by encouraging safety for women post-childbirth. With support from the Aminata Maternal Foundation (AMF), the charity also helps adolescent females post-childbirth learn employable skills and find a career path. Aberdeen Women’s Center is working to create a long line of healthy and economically stable women in a Sierra Leonean society where they are often marginalized.
UNICEF aims to increase safety for children in Sierra Leone by providing greater access to education and health spaces. It realizes the unprecedented circumstances children, especially girls, are facing, which is why the charity is a part of the “Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.” This initiative has the goal of protecting adolescent mothers.
Due to extreme poverty, school attendance in Sierra Leone is low. UNICEF statistics show that only 44% of students complete lower secondary school, and even fewer complete an upper secondary education – 22%. The high frequency of teenage pregnancies and marriages has contributed significantly to these low numbers. According to UNICEF data from 2015, 30% of females married before the age of 18, and one in 10 teenage girls was pregnant. Moreover, high illiteracy and a lack of economic independence have led to women lacking a political voice in Sierra Leone. To stop this cycle from repeating, UNICEF is working on getting more girls into school by financially aiding The Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE). The MBSSE supports a bridge program to help adolescent mothers re-enroll.
The Road Ahead
Overall, these charities in Sierra Leone have made monumental strides. By prioritizing sanitation, education and medication, these charities are greatly helping those in poverty. Although the country has a long way to go to escape widespread poverty, the efforts of these charities will contribute to a more prosperous future for Sierra Leone’s citizens.
– Freddie Trevanion