Women selling baked bread

Project information

Start date: April 2018

End date: March 2021

Location: Moyamba district, Southern Sierra Leone

The Challenge

Despite increasing economic growth, the devastation of a long conflict and the Ebola outbreak has perpetuated poverty and severe malnutrition in Sierra Leone. In Moyamba district, over 83 per cent of the district population are affected by poverty (OPHI, 2019).  Poor access to education and training opportunities mean that communities have few options to support themselves and their families. Women, people with disabilities and young people are particularly affected by poverty and face additional discrimination which limits their opportunities.

Our project

With our local partner MAPCO, we worked with 15 rural communities to empower them to create locally-owned solutions to the poverty they face. We have supported vulnerable people in these communities to earn a living through access to small business loans, seed banks, literacy training and vocational skills training. We combined this with improved access to clean, safe water and sanitation, by repairing water points, constructing toilets and training community hygiene volunteers to raise awareness.  This holistic approach has proved to be highly successful in supporting people to access their basic needs as well as reducing poverty and malnutrition. By the end of the first year of the project (2019), 6,000 people had already increased their incomes by at least 50 per cent as a result of accessing small business loans, apprenticeships and business management training.

Abie’s story

Abie has taken part in a baking apprenticeship as part of this project. Before she took the baking apprenticeship position during summer 2018, Abie described herself as a housewife with two school age children, with little or no source of income.

After gaining skills in breadbaking with our support and working with a local artisan, Abie now earns a steady income to support herself and her family. Her income has increased tenfold: “My monthly income before acquiring the skills was 25,000 Leones and today it is 265,000”. This means that her family is now assured of at least two delicious meals per day – hunger is no longer a worry for them.

“I feel very proud of my contributions to household income”.