Sierra Leone is a West African country that is bordered by Liberia, Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. The tropical country has a diverse geography, with beaches, mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, an upland plateau and mountains in the east. After the end of the slave trade, the country served as a refuge for returned slaves from the Americas. An estimated 50,000 former slaves returned to Sierra Leone after the end of the slave trade.
Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war ended in 2002, but Sierra Leone is still recovering. It left over half of the population displaced, 75,000 people dead, and destruction whose social and economic costs are difficult to quantify. Schools, homes, hospitals, hotels, roads and bridges, electrical installations, were destroyed throughout the two-thirds of the country which was occupied by armed militia. Almost all of the one million livestock in the country were stolen and consumed. Urban migration to the capital caused the population to triple from 500,000 to 1.5 million people, causing tremendous demand on limited resources and facilities and a huge underemployed urban workforce. Many of these remain in the city until now, lacking the wherewithal to return to their villages.
Sierra Leone’s economic situation is severe. The nation is extremely poor and suffers from a disparate distribution of wealth. Sierra Leone does have substantial mineral, agricultural and fishery resources, but has yet to recover from the lack of infrastructure created by the civil war. Though recently oil has been found off the coast of the country, nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture.
Heifer's Work in Sierra Leone:
The Heifer Sierra Leone country program was launched in 2007. The program is based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the country’s capital.
Heifer worked in Sierra Leone in the early 1980s, initiating livestock development projects through different partner organizations, including the United Christian Council of Sierra Leone (UCC). Unfortunately, this work came to a halt over 20 years ago, when war broke out in the country and political instability further incapacitated Heifer's ability to continue operations there.
Fortuantely, Heifer Sierra Leone’s work has continued after the war's end and aims to end hunger and restore the environment. A major focus is on restocking the populations of livestock lost during the war. The Sierra Leone program is mentored by Heifer Ghana.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Integrated livestock and crop management; Animal well-being; Agroforestry
Post-harvest management and processing: Promoting value chain activities for livestock
Market development: Farmer training to deal with periodic markets; Group savings and loan schemes
Technology: Self-help tools for maintaining animal health; Innovative infrastructure (16 meter deep hand pump well, water catchment and delivery system)
Nutrition: Salt-lick minerals for livestock
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.