Sierra Leone continues to recover from a decade-long civil conflict that ended in 2002. The war destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Rural areas face many challenges that have slowed recovery, leading to high rates of poverty, hunger and disease. The country also continues to recover from the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
Episcopal Relief & Development and the Anglican Diocese of Bo have worked together for many years on integrated programs that focus on community health and food supply. The program works at the household level to increase crop variety so families can access nutritious food at home rather than buying it in the market. Sustainable farming practices increase harvests while protecting the environment, and farmer cooperatives work together to process crops into products that have longer shelf life and greater sale value in the market. These activities have been scaled up to include families impacted by the Ebola crisis, with special focus on women, children and people with disabilities.
The Diocese of Bo also works to advance public health in the area, with particular focus on malaria and gender-based violence (GBV). Specifically, the program educates communities about GBV and trains local volunteers to provide case management for survivors to navigate justice systems and access psychosocial services. The Church’s community networks active in educating and mobilizing communities on malaria and GBV were vital in mounting a successful response to Ebola, and ongoing Ebola recovery work will continue to include awareness and prevention on these issues.