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CRS in Sierra Leone: An Overview of Our Work

CRS in Sierra Leone   

This fact sheet describes CRS' work in Sierra Leone. Our current programming in Sierra Leone includes the following areas:

  • Malaria
  • Health systems strengthening for maternal and child health
  • Child nutrition through mothers' clubs and savings groups
  • Cholera
  • Education
  • Agriculture

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Our history in Sierra Leone

CRS started work in Sierra Leone in 1963, implementing education and health programs largely through USAID. During the civil war from 1992 to 2002, we provided lifesaving assistance to internally displaced persons, and since the war ended we have helped rebuild the country, particularly the agriculture and health sectors.

Sierra Leone remains among the least developed countries in the world, ranking 177 out of 187 countries in the 2012 Human Development Index. Rates of child and maternal morality are high, levels of education low and, despite rich resource endowments and abundant land, 53 percent of Sierra Leoneans live on less than US$1 a day and rely on subsistence agriculture, while 35 percent of people are undernourished.

What we do

We are currently in the process of developing a new three- to five-year strategic plan that focuses on:

  • Health, especially malaria, cholera and nutrition
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Capacity strengthening and assistance for partners
  • Strengthening systems in the health, education and agriculture sectors
  • Increasing effectiveness and evidence-based programming

Current programs

Our work in Sierra Leone focuses on collaborating with the ministries of health, education and agriculture to reduce malaria and cholera, improve nutrition, improve education, and strengthen agricultural development. CRS’ work to address malaria is nationwide, while most of our other projects are concentrated in the two least developed districts of the country, Kailahun and Koinadugu.


Working with the Ministry of Health, CRS is helping people change their behaviors in order to prevent malaria transmission. We are using the mass media as well as other communications channels in communities and schools. Our project works with five local organizations, reaching over 16,000 direct participants. We’re also conducting malaria surveys and strengthening the system that manages logistics information in over 1,100 primary health units. Funded by the Global Fund, this US$6.3 million Phase I project began in August 2011 and runs through December 2013.

Health systems strengthening for maternal and child health

Excellent coordination is a key feature of strong institutions, so CRS is bringing together traditional birth attendants from different communities and maternal and child aides from health facilities across Kailahun District in “quality circles” where they share experiences, test solutions to common problems, and prepare presentations for policy makers. The project is taking place in 77 peripheral health units, with 155 aides and 297 traditional birth attendants, in addition to leaders from the health units. The two-year US$488,000 project is funded by Concern Innovations and ends in June 2013.

Child nutrition through mothers' clubs and savings groups

Also in Kailahun District, we are training over 1,200 members of mother-to-mother support groups on how to prevent and spot malnutrition in children under two years of age. Carried out by Caritas Kenema, our project is also improving the diagnosis, referral and treatment of acute malnutrition among children under five, and working with 81 savings and internal lending communities to strengthen mothers’ resilience. Over 13,000 mothers and children are directly benefiting from this two-year US$268,000 effort funded by UNICEF.


By promoting hygiene and educating people about sanitation, CRS and Caritas Freetown are helping to prevent cholera in 30 communities, 30 schools and 30 peripheral health units in Western Area Rural. We are also doing minor infrastructure repairs in those areas. This 4-month project is being supported with US$78,000 from UNICEF and US$29,000 from CAFOD. It will end in April 2013.


As part of a US$6.46 million project funded by USDA, we have provided 4,200 metric tons of food for wet feeding. In its second phase from October 2012 to September 2015, our project is improving the quality of education for over 27,000 school children in five of the most vulnerable chiefdoms of Koinadugu District. An integral component of that work is life skills training for students in grades 4-6, provided by Caritas Makeni.


We are helping farmers in two chiefdoms of Koinadugu District to produce more rice, add value to their crops, market their products well and manage their financial resources. The project is helping 200 farmers between February 2013 and January 2016, with US$225,000 from the Food Resource Bank and US$100,000 from CRS.

More information

For more information on our work in Sierra Leone, contact our office at:

Address: 41 Riverside Drive, Brook Fields, PO Box 1392, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Tel: +232 22 236 095
Country profile: Sierra Leone

Publication details

Publisher: Catholic Relief Services (April 2013)
Fact sheet: 2 pages
Language: English
Dimensions: 8.27 x 11.69 inches

Posted on April 11, 2013

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