Geography and people

Sierra Leone lies on Africa’s Atlantic coast between Guinea and Liberia, and is about the size of Ireland. The landscape includes mountains to the east, an upland plateau, wooded hills and coastal mangrove swamps.

Arable land comprises about 15% of the total. Renown for some of the heaviest rainfall on Africa's west coast (rainy season May-Nov) but dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (Dec-Feb).

Nine out of 10 people are descendants of tribes native to Africa. The remaining 10 percent are descendants of freed slaves, called Creoles. English is the official language, but is limited to an educated minority.

Nearly half of the working-age population engages in subsistence agriculture. Oil has been discovered offshore. Sierra Leone is also rich in resources including fisheries, diamonds, gold, rutile (titanium). However, rebuilding the country’s war-ravaged infrastructure and protecting its people from poverty and disease are long-term projects. Corruption has been a hindrance to foreign investment. With help from our supporters, World Vision is working hard to help the people of Sierra Leone secure a better future.

Sierra Leone


Life expectancy

Life expectancy

Literacy rate

Literacy rate

Access to safe water

Access to safe water

Average annual income

Average annual income

Fast facts


Ranked 177th out of 187 countries on the 2012 Human Development Index, Sierra Leone is one of the world's poorest countries.


Health is a primary concern in Sierra Leone. 50 percent of the population is living below the national poverty line (Human Development Index 2012).


The World Health Programme in 2011 ranked Sierra Leone as 71st out of 81 countries and noted that 45 percent of households are food insecure.


48 percent of children aged between 5-14 years are involved in child labour (Human Development Index 2012).

Our focus in Sierra Leone

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Sierra Leone to improve their lives today and to help deliver sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families and communities. Our child sponsorship programme plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United Kingdom sponsoring 3,304 girls and boys (as of April 2014) across three community projects. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programmes that benefit communities in Sierra Leone.

Highlights of our work include:

Improving access to education and improving the quality of teaching.

Raising awareness about HIV.

Improving general health by providing clean water, promoting hygiene, building latrines and immunising children.

Advocating for the rights of the disabled.

Our Achievements in Sierra Leone

World Vision began significant work in Sierra Leone in 1996 during a lull in the country’s bloody civil war. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments include:

Community Development

Assisting people affected by civil war and improving agriculture, health and child protection during the 1990s

Food Security

In 1996 we provided food aid to 140,000 internally displaced people in Bo and areas most affected by the civil conflict. We also helped 6,400 farmers to get back on their feet.

Eco Development

Economic Development

During and after the war we helped displaced people resettle and rebuild their homes, providing seeds, hoes and other farming equipment and offering agricultural training since 2001.


Providing youth training and assistance to more than 80,000 young people affected by the civil war.


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