Pujehun district, in southern Sierra Leone, was destroyed during the brutal civil conflict and still carries the marks of war to this day as one of the country’s poorest and least developed districts. A staggering 41% of the district population are food insecure (WFP, 2018), which means they cannot meet the basic food requirements of themselves and their families. Women, young people and people with disabilities in Sierra Leone are more likely to experience poverty and face additional discrimination which prevents them from developing their own livelihoods. Local governance is weak and fails to meet the needs of vulnerable community members.
What we are doing
We are working with MAPCO to support 19 community-based organisations to meet the needs of vulnerable community members (particularly women, people with disabilities and young people), through livelihoods support and raising awareness of the rights of marginalised groups, to not only tackle poverty, but also address its root causes. Small business loans, seed banks/agricultural equipment, literacy training and vocational apprenticeships will empower 5,700 families with the knowledge, skills and tools to set up or expand their own businesses so they can earn sustainable incomes to support themselves and their families.
We will also be working with the District council and local development committees to ensure that the voices and views of vulnerable people are heard and their needs are incorporated into development plans, so that no-one is left behind. We will engage with key decision-makers, such as local councils, chiefs, police, medical staff and social workers, to increase their understanding of government laws and policies, particularly in relation to the rights of vulnerable groups and their duty to protect them.
Co-funded by the European Union
The devastation of a long conflict and the Ebola virus have perpetuated chronic poverty and severe malnutrition. People with disabilities, women and unemployed youth are particularly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity. High illiteracy rates, scarcity of water and poor sanitation and discriminatory practices among authorities and in communities have intensified the situation.
What we are doing
With our partner MAPCO we are strengthening community based organisations by providing the knowledge, skills and access to resources necessary to provide a sustainable solution. By targeting vulnerable groups and their economic empowerment, integrated with attitude and behavioural change towards women and people with disabilities, with inputs and skills on nutrition, functional literacy, health and sanitation, livelihoods will be protected and there will be year-round food security and improved nutrition. The project will be implemented in fifteen communities with a tried and tested CBO support model; 34,000 people will receive social and livelihoods support services and 5,500 people will receive technical and business training in viable micro-enterprises, resulting in increased incomes.
Women in Sierra Leone, particularly young women and girls in rural areas, are discriminated against at every level and are extremely vulnerable. Literacy rates are very low and many girls dropped out of school with little or no education. This was exacerbated by the Ebola virus as women often assumed the role of carers and some young girls became mother figures as their own mothers lost their lives. They are unaware of the laws which could support them and not in a position to challenge decisions which exclude or discriminate against them. These issues are intrinsically linked with poverty.
What we are doing
With our partner CARD we are helping 3,500 young women and girls to access functional literacy skills so they have the ability to access information, understand their legal rights and negotiate for themselves. They will be assisted to generate small scale enterprises of their own, such as soap making, selling snacks, tailoring, trading or agriculture, raising their self-esteem, independence and status in society. Radio, drama and song will be used to raise awareness of their rights and laws and we will also work with men to increase their understanding of women’s rights, particularly gender based violence.
We are also strengthening 5 non-Government organisations and 40 community based organisations so they provide services to, represent and include women, more effectively.
This project is co-funded by
the European Union
We are addressing the extreme poverty, disease and inequality for people living in Sierra Leone. In particular, young people have few opportunities and suffer from high unemployment. In addition, there are a high number of people with disabilities, a legacy of the brutal conflict.
What we are doing:
6 districts have been identified where APT will develop sustainable livelihoods, improve water and sanitation and raise awareness of human rights for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. APT’s partner organisation MAPCO will grow and develop community based groups to provide services involving a range of skills development while APT will provide technical support and advice at every stage.
1,500 families and 1,000 young people will have improved livelihoods resulting in an increase in incomes, better access to basic needs and life opportunities. There will be increased knowledge of hygiene and sanitation practices contributing to disease prevention while women, youth and disabled people will be able to exercise their human rights through increased awareness of their entitlements.
In conjunction with another in country partner, CARD, 1,200 young men and women are receiving skills training apprenticeships in a diverse range of sectors that are relevant to their communities and locations.
They are offered training with local artisans, as well as courses in business management, life support skills and functional literacy teaching. The project operates through a revolving loan fund giving beneficiaries resources to obtain the relevant tools they will need to learn and work.
We don’t want the turbulent past in this country to create a generation of forgotten, uneducated and unskilled youth.
During the long brutal conflict young people missed out on their education, only experiencing the devastation caused by war; their continued unemployment (75%) poses a serious threat to stability and rural-urban migration of youth searching for job opportunities is high. On top of this chronic poverty and the lack of income prevents parents and carers sending children to school.
What are we doing?
We are helping young people and carers of vulnerable families obtain vocational training and life-skills, facilitating apprenticeships and work placements, supporting new and existing enterprise activities, market linkages and micro-credit. Together with our partner MAPCO, and small grassroots organisations, young people are helping to rebuild their communities.
Mariama Kamara is disabled as a result of polio. Helped with training and a revolving loan she has developed a food processing business. Mariama has no children – but she is taking care of four of her relatives’ children and their school expenses. She says with pride “I carry my burden and that of my dependants alone. I am self reliant and I have people that sell my products on a commission basis which is a source of employment for them.”
APT is helping our partner HELP Salone to strengthen 8 Vocational Training Centres to provide market demand driven and flexible training courses, enhancing the capabilities for employment and income generation and developing livelihood opportunities for rural disadvantaged youth. Such centres will continue this impact far into the future.
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