Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
SEED International came to Sierra Leone in the wake of the decade-long civil war that ravaged the nation from 1991 to 2001. During the war, rebel forces criss-crossed through the country, abducting, amputating, and killing thousands of innocent civilians. Child soldiers were forced to fight on the front-lines, often while under the influence of cocaine or other drugs. Over that decade, half the population was displaced, 50,000 killed, 100,000 were maimed or mutilated, 200,000 babies born to victims of rape. Hospitals, clinics, home, schools, and whole villages were destroyed. Infrastructure was directly targeted, and much of the nation was left without the basic needs for human life.
Sierra Leone is in West Africa and is the size of South Carolina with a population of 5 million. They received independence from England April, 1961. English is the official language with more than 15 tribal languages spoken. The rainfall is approximately 170 inches to 195 inches in a year (comes during a 4-5 month period). Rice is the main food with an abundance of fruit throughout the year. Sierra Leone is a beautiful country and it is filled with people that continue to strive to rebuild their lives so that they can give hope and dreams to their children.
KOINADUGU DISTRICT: Koinadugu District is by far the largest District in Sierra Leone in geographical terms. The District's capital and largest city is Kabala, which is also one of the main cities in Northern Sierra Leone. The District of Koinadugu had a population of 265,765 in the 2004 census. Situated in the far north-eastern corner of the country, was the vegetable garden and agricultural center of the country in the 1960/70’s. With the coming of the war, the district was left in ruins. Kabala, the headquarters of the district and the site of NarSarah Clinic and now SEED’s headquarter office, faced recurring attacks and was held under rebel control for a portion of the war. Half-burnt remains of buildings still remind of all the work that must be done to reach even a minimal standard of living required for day to day survival.
Koinadugu faces all the obstacles of rural poverty in a developing country. Most villages have no healthcare beyond traditional medicine while the district has among the worst health indicators in the nation. Recent research conducted revealed HIV prevalence of 6% among the hundreds of patients tested. Health remains a huge concern in Koinadugu and in Sierra Leone as a whole.
The Koinadugu District is the poorest district in the entire country. The district also faces major challenges in education and gender equality, which are fundamental components of development. Many villages in the district lack even a single school; the district literacy rate stands at 21%. Women’s literacy rate is less than half that of men’s and gender issues merit special attention in light of harmful traditional customs and practices. Women’s empowerment has become a core aspect of the SEED’s work in the district.
Food security also remains a major problem, with agriculture largely limited to subsistence-level farming and lacking the necessary expertise that could improve cultivation practices. The district faces among the highest levels of agricultural and asset poverty in the nation. Agriculture and animal husbandry is a significant part of the SEED program, not only in the district headquarters but also in the villages, where the need is most acute. With the excellent soil and climate conditions, this district will hopefully return to being know as the richest area for agriculture in the nation.
Life in the rural regions is incredibly hard for those who live there, and such struggles have become a pressing issue in Sierra Leone as the country endeavors to stem the flood of people moving into the overcrowded capital city. In the districts like Koinadugu, tiny isolated villages are spaced miles apart. Transportation is both costly and dangerous and the roads are in a constant state of disrepair and during the rainy season completely impassable. Electricity and clean water are nonexistent. Banks, shops, computers - all the conveniences of "modern" living are incredibly rare.
The district is mainly Muslim (95% of the population) and Islam dominates the religious and cultural practices in the district. Most schools in the district have Islamic religious affiliation. Christianity accounts for about 5% of the population.
Government: The District of Koinadugu is governed with a district council form of government, which is headed by a District Council Chairman, who is responsible for the general management of the district and for seeing that all local laws are enforced. The District Council Chairman is elected directly by the residents of Koinadugu District. The Council Hall of Koinadugu District located in the district capital of Kabala. The current chairman of Koinadugu district council is Peter Bayuku Conteh of the All People’s Congress (APC) .
Demography: Koinadugu District is by far the largest district in Sierra Leone and with an estimated population of 265,765. The major ethnic groups in the district are the Madingo (who predominate in the district's largest city of Kabala), Kurankos (Controlling 5 of the 11 chiefdoms), Fula and Limba and Yalunka (predominant in Musaia and Falaba areas) Areas bordering the republic of Guinea (Conakry).
Economy: Diamond and gold mining iare major economic activities in the contry and district respectively, as well as agricultural production of rice, mango, cacao, groundnut and coconut.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
The NarSarah clinic is an integrated project to child survival. The Clinic has initiated a number of other activities linked to healthcare, the most interesting of which is the 'Women Against Poverty' work—It is such an interesting model which links health care, economic empowerment and livelihoods, along with education, agriculture, income generation and animal husbandry--all in one of the poorest areas of Sierra Leone