Teenage pregnancy and motherhood are the second most prevalent child abuses in Sierra Leone. A 2013 UNICEF study shows that the problem is prevalent amongst 68% of sexually-experienced girls around the mean age of 15 years. The Sierra Leone Out-of-school study conducted by UNICEF identified high pregnancy rate as a strong contributing factor as to why school-aged children drop out of school. Causes of teenage pregnancy and early marriage include lack of access to sexual and reproductive health education and services, according to Plan International.
We started the empowerment and livelihood for adolescents programme in Sierra Leone to provide 13-20 year old girls a platform to voice their concerns, as well as build their capacity to manage numerous responsibilities. We assist girls to become economically and socially empowered by providing safe spaces for them to share experiences, receive training on life skills, livelihood and credit support to start income-generating activities along with community sensitisation activities, with the objective of community ownership and support.
We establish clubhouses situated near the homes of target communities, where the girls can socialise and discuss issues of concern as well as challenges that are common to them. The mentors of each club receive training on teaching through monthly refresher programmes. Teenage pregnancy, limited access to reproductive services and information, malnutrition, sexual and gender-based violence are some of the health issues that are discussed in these clubs.
|Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents||Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents program (160 clubs) in four districts||NoVo Foundation||January 2017||2 years|
The majority of Sierra Leone’s population live in abject poverty, despite the fact that the country is rich in natural resources. An article published on the ‘The Guardian’ in 2017 revealed that the country has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world with 1,360 mothers dying per 100,000 live births. The major causes of illness within the country are preventable with modern technology and medical advances. Most deaths within the country are attributed to maternal and infant mortality, nutritional deficiencies, lack of access to clean water, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, anemia, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
BRAC started its healthcare programme in Sierra Leone to address the above challenges and improve the general health status of poor women and their families by providing access to affordable primary healthcare services. We focus on providing information on health, nutrition, family planning, immunisation, safe water and sanitation, hygiene, tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy-related care, prevention of and care for acute respiratory infections and pneumonia, and basic curative care.
|Health||Empowering Communities for a Malaria Free Sierra Leone||The Global Fund, Catholic Relief Services||July 2016||2 years|
The agriculture industry remains the largest driver of economic growth in Sierra Leone, with over 60% of the country’s population employed in the industry. Ironically however, Sierra Leone is ranked the 3rd hungriest country of the world in the 2017 Global Hunger index. Nearly half of the country’s population is food insecure, according to a WFP report.
BRAC’s agriculture programme is designed to strengthen the agriculture sector in Sierra Leone through capacity building initiatives and support of quality inputs. We increase the productivity and income of farmers by providing training, establishing demonstration farms and kitchen gardens, producing and distributing quality seeds, providing inputs and tools support to farmers, organising nutrition awareness campaigns, forming and meeting village nutrition committees, and developing staff capacity.
We establish community agriculture promoters who deliver technical services and inputs to smallholder farmers. They have the opportunity to establish themselves as small entrepreneurs and strengthen their businesses. We disseminate modern agriculture technologies to familiarise farmers with practices which will improve their livelihoods.
We also strengthen the livestock sector by increasing the productivity of small scale farms through building the capacity of smallholder farmers, introducing modern livestock management techniques, demonstrations, and building viable services of local businesses through trainings and capacity building of local staff. We reduce livestock mortality, increase incomes, create employment opportunities, and reduce malnutrition and stunting of livestock. Rural women and families who suffer from food insecurity, and are primarily excluded from mainstream livestock programmes, are the target clients.
We develop self-employed community livestock and poultry promoters who provide technical services and inputs to livestock producers. THe promoters are also responsible for raising local demand in the poultry and livestock sector. The greater part of the activities focuses on capacity building, developing model farmers through demonstrations, and adapting modern technologies to suit the local context.
|Agriculture and Livestock||Reducing Poverty and Hunger by increasing income and improving livelihoods for 5,588 poor people in 25 rural communities in Sierra Leone||DFID||May 2015||2 years, 6 months|
Sierra Leone is amongst the poorest countries of the world, with over 60% of her population living below the United Nations poverty line of USD1 per day. Though the country moved from 184th to 183rd in the Human Development Index of 2014, the position still remains the worst in the Mano River region. Financial access is extremely limited in Sierra Leone. According to the World Bank, out of 3.6 million adults, 3.1 million were unbanked in 2014. Only 12% of adult women in Sierra Leone own a transaction account.
We provide loans to women who are not served by other financial institutions, giving them the opportunity to start their own businesses in their local communities. Borrowers of microloans are not required to provide collateral, and can reimburse their loans on a weekly basis against competitive interest rates. Through this initiative we help the government of Sierra Leone achieve its goal of developing a feasible and fully functioning microfinance sector. We offer microloans along with other services, and provide small enterprise loans to entrepreneurs who are seeking to expand their business.
We deliver microloans through village organisations, an organised group of women who come together to improve their socio-economic position. The women meet weekly to make their loan repayments and to discuss credit decisions with our credit officers. We provide financial literacy training and technical assistance to these women, enabling them to increase income from existing activities as well as start new income generating activities.
Small enterprise programme
We offer small enterprise loans to entrepreneurs who seek to expand their business. The loans enable these business owners to create new employment opportunities and provide new services. The small enterprise loan is offered to individuals rather than groups. It is available for all entrepreneurs, with repayments made on a monthly basis. Some members of the microloan programme become eligible for small enterprise loan as their businesses expand, requiring bigger investment.