Project: Sierra Leone

“Ow de body?”
“How's it going? - literally, How's the body?”

Country Overview:

Sierra Leone, located in West Africa, 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 people were returned to Sierra Leone after the end of the slave trade.

Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war ended in 2002 but the country is still in recovery. The war displaced over half the population and more than 75,000 lives were lost. Schools, hospitals, hotels, roads, bridges and electrical installations were destroyed throughout the two-thirds of the country which was occupied by armed militia. Almost all of the one million plus livestock in the country were stolen and consumed. Urban migration to the capital caused the population there to triple from 500,000 to 1.5 million people, leading to tremendous pressure on limited resources and facilities, poor housing in the vulnerable margins of the city, poor sanitation and waste management and a huge underemployed urban workforce. Much of the population remains in the city, lacking the wherewithal to return to their villages.

The nation is extremely poor and suffers from a disparate distribution of wealth. Sierra Leone does have substantial mineral, agricultural and fishery resources. 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:

Heifer’s Africa Program officially launched the Heifer International Sierra Leone country program in April 2008. The program is based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the country’s capital. Heifer Sierra Leone’s work aims at ending hunger and restoring the environment. The program has a strong focus on restocking the livestock populations lost during the war.

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. The Heifer 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