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Sierra Leone

HI works in Sierra Leone to improve the quality of life and mental health of people suffering from psychosocial distress or living with a mental health disorder.

Children from Sierra Leone having fun

Actions in process

In a country that was rocked by a terrible civil war, HI is working with communities and local partners to implement community-based response and prevention strategies in the fields of mental health and psychosocial support. The goal is to improve the quality of life and well-being of people suffering from psychosocial distress or living with mental health problems. To do so, the programme organises support and discussion groups, conducts awareness-raising sessions on mental health issues and carries out community visits to help identify people who need support. HI also works with Sierra Leonean associations to carry out advocacy and contribute to the development of new laws and practices in the field of mental health that better protect and support users. Finally, the programme trains health professionals and works with the main psychiatric care facility in Freetown.

HI’s programme in Sierra Leone also implements actions to strengthen economic inclusion. Teams provide technical resources to build community capacities through an inclusive agriculture project targeting vulnerable populations (persons living with disabilities, HIV and survivors of gender-based violence). HI’s teams also carry out awareness-raising sessions, train farmers and promote agro-tourism.  

Areas of intervention


Situation of the country

Sierra Leone was ravaged by a civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002. In the spring of 2014, it was severely affected by an Ebola epidemic. Today, a high percentage of its population is living in high poverty (59,2% in 2020).

Multi-dimensional poverty affects around two-thirds of the population, with rural areas worst hit. The recent COVID-19 crisis weakened the State by reducing economic activities and widening political divides. The country has high unemployment rates (70% for youth). Staple food prices are rising and food insecurity now threatens some 4.7 million people. 

In addition, Sierra Leone is among the 10% of countries in the world that are most vulnerable country to the consequences of climate change, due to its high dependence on agriculture and natural resources and environmental degradation, and presently one of the least able to cope with the effects. Extreme rainfall and rising sea levels increasingly threaten coastal areas with flooding and erosion.   

In 2018, the adult literacy rate in Sierra Leone was 43.21%. Progress has been made with improved access to education over the past decade, but certain groups, including children with disabilities, remain mostly excluded. In Sierra Leone, people with disabilities face physical, social and economic barriers that make it difficult to access education, skills development and employment.  

  • Number of HI staff: 34 
  • Programmed opened in: 1996     
Map of Humanity & Inclusion's interventions in Sierra Leone

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© F. Saracini / HI