Trócaire has supported programmes in Sierra Leone since the 1980s, focussing on women’s empowerment.
In 2003, we also began working to improve governance and political participation. Our country office was set up in 2007 to provide more support after the country’s civil war.
We currently partner with 18 local church and civil society organisations in the country, and work in four geographical areas including Port Loko, Kambia, Bombali and the Western Rural Area.
Trócaire’s work in Sierra Leone covers four programme areas:
Our livelihoods work focuses on improving the food security and income of vulnerable women and girls, whilst also working to protect their rights to and control of resources such as land. This initiative is providing new skills, agricultural inputs and business support to help women to earn a living.
This programme aims to reduce violence towards women and to protect women’s rights in Sierra Leone. Our partners do this by providing training and information about gender inequality and violence against women. We also support efforts to provide legal protection and access to justice for women whose rights have been abused. In addition, we work to reduce women’s vulnerability to abuse by helping them become more economically independent.
As part of our work in the area of governance, we support women to have increased influence in decision-making processes at community and local level, by helping them to develop their leadership skills and demand accountability to their rights and quality service delivery. We also aim to increase the capacity of our partners so that they can hold government and leaders more accountable on issues facing women.
Trócaire Sierra Leone supports local partners to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable groups affected by disaster or crisis. In response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone as well as the landslide and floods that occurred in August 2017, Trócaire and our partners distributed food, water and non-food items to those affected, in addition to providing psycho-social support. Furthermore, Trócaire and its partners operated strategic information centres to guarantee easy access to information in the affected areas. In the aftermath of the crises we are supporting communities to rebuild their lost livelihoods and to recover through psycho-social support.
A 10-year civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002, leaving over 50,000 people dead.
In 2014/2015, Sierra Leone was affected by an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.
Over 20,000 people were infected in West Africa, over half of whom were in Sierra Leone. As well as the devastating loss of life, there has been a significant loss of livelihood and social capital in the region.
Although the country has shown promising signs of recovery, many challenges remain.
These include poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and vulnerability, and weak economic governance. 77.5% of Sierra Leoneans are classified as “multidimensional poor” and the 2017 Global Hunger Index ranks Sierra Leone third to last out of all countries with an ‘alarming’ rate of hunger.
Women face significant challenges in the country, including violence, high maternal mortality rates, and poor levels of education compared to men.
Sierra Leone also has many natural resources including iron ore and diamonds which are potential sources of economic growth. However, corruption and poor regulation mean that most people don’t benefit from these resources.
To read more on land rights in Sierra Leone you can read "The Power of Land" here.