Our work in Sierra Leone

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Our work in Sierra Leone

Concern Worldwide has been working in Sierra Leone since 1996 and currently works in Bo, Tonkolili District and in Freetown/Western Area.

Our integrated programming approach in Sierra Leone aims to tackle all dimensions of poverty, focussing on the overlapping areas of health, education and livelihoods while maintaining our commitment to responding to emergencies such as the Freetown mudslides last year which displaced thousands of people and killed more than 400 people.

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Ebola outbreak

The 2014-2016 EVD outbreak was the largest outbreak of its kind, killing more than 11,000 people in West Africa. The WHO and Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) declared Sierra Leone’s outbreak over on November 7th, 2015, however a new outbreak emerged only two months later caused by suspected transmission from an EVD survivor to a previously uninfected person.

While the new cases were rapidly detected through an ongoing policy mandating swabbing of all dead bodies, this signaled a warning sign that Sierra Leone must be prepared to rapidly detect and respond to any case of suspected EVD or other disease outbreaks to prevent future epidemics. As such, there was a need to strengthen Sierra Leone’s Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System (IDSR) and Concern and its partners have been working to strengthen these systems through trainings with government health workers and local communities.

After the end of Ebola outbreak in January 2016, a period of recovery started to address the most immediate needs created by the devastating impact of the outbreak on the country. By the end of 2016, Concern had completed all emergency projects as well as a number of the recovery projects and began transitioning back to development programming. 

Family and friends pray over the body of a young boy who died on the night of 31 October 2014 at his home in Banana Water, Freetown. Photo taken by Kieran McConville, Concern Worldwide.

General health and sanitation programmes

Concern is a member of the Freetown WASH Consortium II – a DFID-funded project aiming to improve access to water and sanitation services for residents in the Western Area.

In Tonkolili, the Tonkolili Integrated Poverty Reduction Programme is an integrated programme which aims to sustainably improve the resilience and overall welfare of the extreme poor by increasing their assets through improved health, education, skills and income.

Through its Adolescent health programme Concern has achieved remarkable results in adolescent sexual and reproductive health in terms of increasing demand for contraception, improving knowledge and shifting attitudes towards teenage pregnancy and broader gender equality issues, such as domestic violence in targeted communities in Tonkolili district.

Food and nutrition security

Linking Agriculture, Natural Resource Management and Nutrition (LANN) is a two-year project funded by Irish Aid and implemented in partnership with Welthungerhilfe. LANN seeks to identify successful approaches to promoting food and nutrition security in Sierra Leone and beyond.  The StopRats programme (Sustainable Technology to Overcome Pest Rodents Through Science) is another three-year EU-funded project which aims to reduce the impact of rodents on food security.

To ensure the impact of Ebola on food security is mitigated and future livelihoods of the most vulnerable households in Tonkolili District is protected Concern has been implementing programmes that work with farmers groups to increase production and reduce losses as well as setting up savings groups that help households to plan for the future and manage household emergencies. A total of 300 women identified in 2016 including traditional birth attendants (TBAs), pregnant and lactating women, and other vulnerable women have now been trained in business management.

A rat corpse is weighed by John R. Turay as part of the STOPRATS project in Rosint Community, Tonkolili District, Sierra Leone. Photographer: Michael Duff / Concern Worldwide.

Community-led management of natural resources

This project is funded by the European Union and Irish Aid and is being implemented in the Kunike and Kunike Barina chiefdoms in Tonkolili. The specific objective of the project is to pilot tools to help local communities sustainably manage their forest, wetland and hillside agricultural resources in the sub-catchments linked to the Kangiri Forest Reserve.

Education support

In partnership with University College Dublin concern is piloting an innovative Education programme targeting 105 communities in 5 chiefdoms in Tonkolili district. The programme will implement the Safe Learning Model (SLM) an integrated and holistic approach to gender equality, SRGBV and education, which aims to address the root causes and symptoms of SRGBV in the school, home, community and wider society while improving education outcomes for children.

The Lanin Biznes education project is funded by Irish Aid, the TK Foundation and David Barker. It is implemented in partnership with the local organisation Pikin-to-Pikin in five chiefdoms in Tonkolili District, targeting 28 primary schools. The overall objective of the project is to increase access to, and completion of, quality primary education.

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