Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. It ranks 158 out of 169 countries on the human development index. Its 11 year civil war (1991-2002) plunged the country into poverty and violence that it is still struggling to get out of.
The war had a severe impact on women. Violence against women, particularly sexual, was routinely used as a weapon war:
- A quarter of a million women were raped
- 94% of displaced households in Sierra Leone reported incidents of sexual assault, including rape, torture and sexual slavery
9 years since the conflict ended there still exists a culture of impunity in relation to rape and sexual abuse:
- Nearly all women will suffer sexual or domestic violence in their lifetime
- In 2009 there was not one single conviction of perpetrators of rape
The conflict and the continuing violence against women led to a sharp rise in women contracting HIV. Women still do not have equal access to education, economic opportunities, health facilities, or social freedoms.
Womankind’s work in Sierra Leone
Womankind has been working in the West African region for the last 20 years. Currently we are developing new partnerships and programmes in Sierra Leone to tackle some of the challenges women in the country are facing in the aftermath of the 11 year conflict.
We are focusing on:
- Providing direct services to women survivors of violence and abuse
- Making sure perpetrators of violence are brought to justice and that there are improved State responses towards sexual violence
- Removing social practices that discriminate and violate against women
- Strengthening women’s participation at the local and national level