Sierra Leone at a Glance
Education in Sierra Leone is legally required for all children for six years at the primary level and three years at the secondary level, but a shortage of schools and teachers has made implementation impossible. The Sierra Leone Civil War resulted in the destruction of 1,270 primary schools, and in 2001, 67 percent of all school-age children were out of school. The situation has improved considerably since then with primary school enrollment doubling between 2001 and 2005, and with the reconstruction of many schools since the end of the war. There is still a very long way to go. The U.N. publishes the human development index which measures three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living. Sierra Leone’s human development index value places it in the low human development category, almost at the bottom of the list at 179 out of 188 countries ranked.
WORLD BANK STATISTICS FOR SIERRA LEONE - 2015
- Life expectancy at birth: 51.3 years;
- Poverty headcount (% pop): 52.9%;
- GNI per capita, Atlas method (current - US$) - 620
- GDP (current US$) - 4.215 B
- Population - 6,453,184
Sierra Leone Human Development Report:
- Life expectancy at birth: 48 years;
- Mean years of schooling of the adult population: 3.3;
- Percent of population living in multidimensional poverty: 77%.
With all of this information in mind, it became very clear that the best way for us to affect change would be through providing entrepreneur mentorship and access to education, literacy and vocational resources.
This index ranks 163 independent states and territories, covering 99.7 per cent of the world’s population. It gauges global peace based on: level of safety and security in society; extent of domestic or international conflict; and degree of militarisation. Source
Ties to the United States
Among the 40+ slave forts that operated along the coast of West Africa, a fort off the coast of Sierra Leone, Bunce Island, was unique in its close ties with the New World. Bunce provided slaves for close to 200 years, into the 1800s to plantations across the Atlantic. The Mende of Sierra Leone, knowledgeable in cultivating rice, brought higher prices when sold to rice planters in South Carolina and Georgia. After the abolitionists' movement resulted in the English government outlawing the slave trade, the British privatized their operations on Bunce and the fort continued selling slaves to the American plantations. Historians have substantiated cultural and linguistic ties between the Mende and African Americans living in South Carolina and Georgia. Specific cultural practices, customs and language patterns directly link them to the Mende and Vai people of Sierra Leone. Henry Laurens, an American rice planter from South Carolina, was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and President of the Second Continental Congress when the U.S. constitution passed in 1777. Laurens earned great wealth as a partner in the largestslave-trading house in North America, Austin and Laurens. by purchasing slaves directly from the fort on Bunce Island and selling them to other rice planters across the sea. It has been estimated that at least half of the African-Americans who have descended from slaves can trace their family lineage to Sierra Leone. Some have already done so through DNA testing and existing business records, meticulously kept by certain British slave-traders and companies.
Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative - Country Briefing
BBC News - Sierra Leone Country Profile
The Peace Corps Reopens Program in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone Qualifies for the Millenium Challenge
Sierra Leone News: Awareness Times
Salone's Government-Funded Anti-Corruption Commission
Sierra Leonian Culture at a Glance
Republic of Sierra Leone Embassy in the United States - About Sierra Leone
Recommended Literature on the Civil War:
A Brief History of the Conflict in Sierra Leone
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Path of the World's Most Deadly Stones
The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia