Sierra Leone is the quadrennial project for SI (2007 to 20111). Alison Sutherland, International Project Liaison, delivered a celebration of our achievements.
Sierra Leone has seen much peace and improvement since the project began. It is now ranked by the UN as 158/169 countries, up from the very last for quality of life and has show an increase from 42 to 48 years as the average life expectancy for women.
The program targets children living alone, outcast teenage mothers and single grandmothers who are the head of household and delivers tailored education, health, counseling and improved living conditions. The overall goals are respect, community engagement and reuniting families.
Partnered with Hope & Homes for Children and HANSI SL: 57 children completed, 67 currently in the program. 164 teen mothers (165 babies) graduated and 119 mothers (99 babies) are currently enrolled.
200 families with over 1000 children graduated from ACTIVE family support. Community hubs were introduced in January 2011 to support and extend the program to more families and have challenged community traditional practices that are harmful to children and young women. Play activities, informal education and health care are provided broadly to the community; the focus is on strengthening families and engaging local communities. A recent focus has been outreaching mothers of teenage daughters who are at risk of unplanned pregnancy. The program offers day care and nurseries for babies of teenage mothers so they can train – it is the first of it’s kind in the region and government policy now states that that daycare is available to all babies, regardless of the mother’s status. The next project for HANSI SL is conducting a national street children survey to provide data for gov’t policy on the issue.
Project is sustainable at the end of the quadrennial; it advocated for the impact of conflict on women and young girls, as well as the risks of trafficking.
SI set a target of £1M before the financial crisis; about £950,000 (or $1,500,000) is expected as the final tally (£880,000 already submitted to the partner organizations). The presentation concluded with a message by video that ended in two strong rounds of applause (one premature because the emotional message of thanks was so powerful and meaningful).