Sierra Leone continues to recover from a decade-long civil conflict that ended in 2002. The war destroyed most 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.
Sierra Leone was among the countries affected by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014, an issue Episcopal Relief & Development has continued to respond to through the Anglican Diocese of Bo. In the years preceding the outbreak, the Diocese of Bo had developed and strengthened community structures that remained intact through the worst of the Ebola crisis. These structures served as important conduits and partners for mobilizing emergency support at that time. Moving forward, Episcopal Relief & Development and the Anglican Diocese of Bo will rehabilitate the livelihoods of survivor families and provide direct support to orphaned children, while continuing to pursue the program's original objectives of increasing agricultural yield, strengthening marketing links and fighting malaria.
Although an estimated 2/3 of the population in Sierra Leone practices subsistence agriculture, much of the available farmland is used to produce rice, and there is not much diversity in diets, leading to nutritional deficiencies that cause disease. Weak marketing infrastructure means that farmers are not able to sell their rice for a good price, and also limited access to other produce to feed their families. Episcopal Relief & Development and the Diocese of Bo are working together to train farmers in different methods of agriculture, in order to increase food supply and diversity for household use, and to establish food processing and marketing centers to improve the economic benefit of their labor.
The Diocese of Bo also participates in NetsforLife®, our program partnership to fight malaria. The program trains volunteers to distribute long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets and educate communities on their proper use to help prevent the disease. For more information about this partnership, please visit our NetsforLife® page.