World Vision began working in Sierra Leone in 1996, during a lull in the civil war. Since then, World Vision has facilitated the resettlement of more than 165,000 displaced families. About 15,000 families have also been supported to recover their farmlands and improve crop production.
By 2003, World Vision had established longer-term community-based development projects. World Vision is currently assisting some 250,000 people through 24 large-scale long-term Area Development Programmes, as well as targeted special projects. Specific activities include:
• improving community access to clean water and sanitation by constructing new wells, rehabilitating old wells and training local people to manage and maintain the water supply.
• building health clinics, particularly in areas where pregnant women and mothers have long distances to walk to the nearest health centre.
• helping men and women develop business plans and receive loans to start small businesses.
Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was estimated to be only slightly more than US $300 in 2010. The country faces major development challenges as evidenced by its very low rank on the Human Development Index (HDI) (third from the bottom rank after Afghanistan and Niger) and staggering rates of youth unemployment. Inflation started to decline in 2011 after rising to 18% in September 2010 due to fiscal expansion and the "one-off effect" from the introduction of goods and service tax.