Country Development Plan
Aiding Infants and Mothers
Marily Abad Jaime Ruiz Tyler Endo Rodolfo Meda
Despite its negative reputation, Sierra Leone is a beautiful, developing country located in western
Africa. Its coastline is surrounded by gorgeous, white, sandy beaches to go along with its tropical cli-
mate. Sierra Leone is a small country, with a population of about 5.7 million people. Although one of
the poorest countries in the world, Sierra Leone is rich with minerals such as diamonds and gold, and
relies on mining for their economic base.
Having just recently ended a decade long civil war, the government is slowly trying to reestablish
their country. The civil war, that lasted from 1991 to 2002, resulted in tens of thousand of deaths, and
the displacement of more than one third of the country’s population. These results have crippled Si-
erra Leone’s economy, destroyed infrastructure, and caused immense human suffering.
Sierra Leone health and nutrition conditions remain the worst among the world. Poverty is wide-
spread throughout the country, and hundreds of children and adults die of starvation each day. Sierra
Leone also has the highest infant and maternal mortality in the world. Medical attention is scarce and
only readily available for the people who live in the larger cities such as Freetown, which is the capital
of Sierra Leone.
Many mothers die while giving birth because of insufficient medical resources. They are too poor to
pay for medical attention and, with lack of roads and cars, many expecting mothers don’t even have
a way to get to a hospital. Even if the mother and the child do survive, just living life in Sierra Leone
poses extremely difficult challenges. Polluted water, lack of basic materials, and a shortage of food all
“I have been to a lot of troubled places, but none compares to Sierra Leone.
make it very hard for a child to live a healthy life. Mothers also don’t posses much knowledge on how I have told friends — and it is literally true — Rwanda seems like heaven com-
to properly take care of their children, let alone, themselves. pared to Sierra Leone. In the rural areas, there is one doctor for every 200,000
In spite of all this, sierra leone has been making great strides in restoring their broken nation. The people. Only a third of those in rural areas has access to clean water. Malnutrition
government and the people of Sierra Leone are determined to put their country back on a promising runs rampant. The grinding poverty is inescapable. Hope is hard to nourish.”
path to growth and development. Our organization is here to help guide Sierra Leone to that ever so
promising path. We are focused on improving infant and maternal conditions through service and –Cynthia McFadden and Salma Hayek’s reaction after visiting in 2009
education. Aiding Infants and Mothers, that’s our AIM.
History of Sierra Leone
Archaeological discoveries show that Sierra Leone The British then officially adopted the name Sierra independence in 1961. However, power was hand- were forced to flee their homes. Neighboring coun-
has been inhabited continuously for thousands of Leone in 1787. ed over not to the people, but rather to a group tries became the hosts for refugees attempting to
years. The use of iron was introduced to this coun- of powerful families who set about exploiting the escape the civil war. Control of Sierra Leone’s dia-
try by the 9th century and by AD 1000, agriculture In time, the Rokel estuary, located in present day countries goods and resources. Unfortunately, mond industry was a main objective for the war.
was being practiced by coastal tribes. The Bulom Freetown, became an important source for Por- Britain supported and encouraged this new type
people are thought to be the first inhabitants of tuguese sea traders and other explorers. Over the of government. With the breakdown of all state structures, the Si-
Sierra Leone, soon followed by the Mende and next 30 years, sea traders opened more bays in erra Leonean society was now open to all the fight-
Temne people in the 16th century. Sierra Leone’s order to trade goods such as swords, and kitchen As a reaction to the corrupt governments that ing and the ammunition, along with illegal trades
dense tropical rain forest slightly isolated it from utensils in exchange for beeswax and well-made ruled Sierra Leone, the Revolutionary United Front of drugs from Liberia to Guinea. The civil war was
other pre-colonial African cultures. ivory works. By the mid 1550’s, slaves replaced was formed (RUF). The RUF was a rebel army who’s officially declared over on January 18, 2002.
these items as the major commodity. Although only goal was to overthrow the government of Si-
Eventually, Muslim traders brought Islam, which the Portuguese were among the first in Sierra Le- erra Leone. They promised the people of Sierra Le- The civil war left Sierra Leone shattered and weak.
has greatly influenced Sierra Leone, even to this one and their language formed the core for trade, one free education and health care, equal sharing However, the election of president Kabbah in May
day. Portuguese sailors, Alvaro Fernandez and Pe- their influence had significantly decreased by the of diamond revenues, and just an overall better 2002 provided a very promising future and a new
dro Da Cintra were among the first European ex- 1650’s because of the rapidly growing interests by country. However, that was not how things turned start for the striving country. The United Nations
plorers to report their experiences along the coast the European people. out at all. The rebels have used the most brutal also installed its largest peace keeping force in
of Sierra Leone. The shape or the climatic condi- methods to achieve power, killing anybody who the country to help Sierra Leone regulate peace,
tions of this country influenced Pedro Da Cintra to In 1787 the British founded Freetown as a base. got in their way, mutilating innocent children, and strengthen the nations security, and promote hu-
come up with the name “Serra Lyoa”, meaning lion It later became Britain’s biggest naval base in the even abducting children as young as age 7 and man rights. Although Sierra Leone is still in the
mountains. Some say the coastal regions looked South Atlantic. Later in the 19th century, British making them soldiers. midst of poverty, violence, and political tension,
like “lion’s teeth”, while others suggest that the forces conquered inland tribes, and began to orga- the government and other organization around
thunderstorms over the mountainous peninsula nize a state based upon different peoples, speak- The RUF fought a failed eleven year civil war in Si- the world are aiding the fine country in hopes to
sounded like the roar of a lion. Sixteenth century ing 23 different languages . With the majority of erra Leone Starting in 1991 and ending in 2002. get Sierra Leone running on its full, successful, po-
English sailors called it Sierra Leoa which later people opposing imperialism during the 1950’s, Thousands died and about half of the population tential.
evolved into Sierra Leone. Britain was forced to grant Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone Timeline
Mende (south) and Temne (north) The last UN peacekeeping troops leave
tribes settle in sierra leone. Sierra Leone, marking the end of a five-
year mission to restore order.
British bring freed slaves to form The civil war is officially declared over.
Freetown and offically adopted the
name Sierra Leone.
Britain allows chiefs to run for Rebels under Foday Sankoh seize parts of
the country’s national council. Freetown. After weeks of fighting, they are
driven out, leaving Freetown a wrecked
Britain starts to draft the Sierra Start of civil war. Revolutionary United
Leone constitution. Front was created.
Sierra Leone becomes an inde- Stevens declares Sierra
pendent country, and elects Sir Leone a republic.
Milton Margai first prime minister.
Sir Milton dies. Sir Albert is accused of
His brother Sir Albert corruption, and is forced to
becomes Prime minister. resign.
1500 1787 1924 1951 1961 1964 1967 1971 1919 1999 2002 2005
The Millennium Development Goals Sierra Leone Data
Millenium Development Goals Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
By 2015, cut in half the proportion of people who live Proportion of Population below $1.25 a day:
off less that $1 a day
Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries among us. Decades of economic decline included with a
twelve year civil war, has had drastic consequences on the economy. Poverty is extensive with more
than 70% of the population living below the poverty level. In addition, thier infant and maternal
mortality rates are terrifingly high. Sierra Leone happens to rank last in the Human Development Cut in half the proportion of people who suffer from Prevalence of malnutrition:
On the contrary, economic growth for Sierra Leone has been thriving after the civil war. Fiscal and Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
external sector reforms have also helped to create improved financial performances. Politically, Sierra
Leone has been steady with its progress, having had successful presidential elections since the end of
their great conflict. Despite the achievements of Sierra Leone, they will not be meeting their targets. By 2015 childres should be able to complete a full Primary completion rate:
for the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. However, the government and other organizations course of primary schooling
are making great strides in order to help Sierra Leone overcome their obstacles and meet their targets. 2007 81%
Goal 3: Promote gender equality
Eliminate the gender descrimination in education by Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education:
Goal 4: Reduce Child Morality
Reduce by two-thirds, the under-five mortality rate Under-five mortality rate (per 1000):
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Reduce by three-quarters, the maternal mortality Maternal mortality rate (per 100,00 live briths):
Goal 6: Combating disease
Have halted and beginning to reverse the spread of Prevalence of HIV :
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Cut in half the proportion of people who don’t have Accsess to an improved water source:
acess to clean water
Human Rights Environmental Status Report
Sierra Leone is located on the West Coast of Problems can also be found in water sources and
Ever since Sierra Leone has been emerging from the trauma of civil
Africa. Its coastline is broken apart by several in the air. Since several mining companies use
war, the people have been faced with the challenges left by a decade
estuaries that are surrounded by white sandy toxic chemicals, the bodies of water that pro-
of human rights abuses. The war, fueled by a power struggle mainly
beaches. Mangrove swamps also lie along the vide Sierra Leone with drinking water are being
between the government and rebel forces over territory, conflict dia-
coast. Wooded hills and a plateau make up the destroyed. Human waste is also a major factor in
monds, and politics, brought a decade of attacks on civilians. This re-
interior of Sierra Leone, while the eastern half of polluting Sierra Leone water ways. As for air pol-
sulted in the dislocation of over four million people who were forced
the country is predominately made up of moun- lution, there are multiple causes. One of the main
either to flee to neighboring countries. During the past decade, Sierra
tainous landscape. reason is because a vast amount of households
Leone witnessed several extreme violations of human rights, deriving
use charcoal and wood for energy, which produc-
from the war. Among them were child abuse, violence against wom-
Temperatures and humidity are primarily high all es an excessive amount of carbon dioxide. The
en, and arbitrary arrest, to name a few.
year. Between November and April, Sierra Leone people that live in Freetown and other parts of
is very hot and dry, with only the coastal areas Sierra Leone are greatly affected by outdoor and
Children were among the most affected during the recent civil war pe-
being cooled by sea breezes. As for the rest of the indoor air pollution that can have the potential to
riod in Sierra Leone. Throughout the war, children suffered all forms of
year, it is very wet and the rain is immense. Their create many health problems.
physical, mental and sexual abuse, including abduction, sexual exploi-
relative humidity ranges from an average of 80%
tation, and separation from their families. Some children were used for
during the rainy season to about 50% during the Overall, Sierra Leone suffers from an abundant
forced labor in diamond mining. Many others were recruited into the
dry season. amount of environmental issues, such as loss of
war by both rebel groups and government-allied militias. Fortunately,
soil fertility, deforestation, a severe decline and
Many displaced children have been returned to their homes with the
Although Sierra Leone has considerable mineral loss of biodiversity, air pollution, and water pol-
aid of national and international organizations.
reserves, they still depend on burning and cut- lution. The government of Sierra Leone is do-
ting down forests to create fields for agriculture ing their best to address these problems, from
Women are still suffering the effects of abuse from war. During the war,
and other purposes. The deforestation rate in adopting a policy of planting trees and preserv-
women of all ages were subjected to a wide range of abuses including
Sierra Leone has increased 7.3% since their civil ing vegetation, to banning logging and hunting
abduction, systematic rape, sexual slavery, and enforced pregnancy.
war. Cutting down extensive amounts of trees, in their forests. Although the government is do-
Sexual abuse was rampant during the war and was used primarily by
fuelwood collection, and most importantly, min- ing their best, the lack of knowledge about such
the rebel forces as a weapon to terrorize, humiliate the civilian popu-
ing, have all helped create a drastic decline in for- environmental issues hinders the people of Sierra
lation. The techniques employed by the rebels were severe, ranging
est cover. During mining, an extensive amount of Leone in coming up with the best solutions. All
from torture to forced incest.
Earth’s land is scooped up in order to get to the these accumulating problems prevent Sierra Le-
core. This process causes a loss in the lands biodi- one from moving forward with their economic
Sierra Leone also faces a great challenge in reforming its courts and
versity. As the loss of forestland is increasing, development.
police forces. victims of abuse by war criminals in Sierra Leone often
the level of biodiversity is in Sierra Leone is
lack the legal means to bring the perpetrators to justice. During the
civil war, and even to this day, arbitrary arrest and detention are com-
mon. Sierra Leone’s greatest human rights challenges involve chang-
ing a political and social culture scarred corrupted by a decade of
lawlessness. Further more, there is much work to be done to restore
the lives of those who suffered the tragedies of the war, particularly
refugees, women and children.
Description of Need:
Maternal and Infant Health
It is quite evident that Sierra Leone suffers from child overcome the challenges, life in Sierra Leone
many issues. However, from all the issues to con- inevitably brings threats to their health and lives.
sider, we have decided to focus our attention on
decreasing child mortality and improving mater- The chances for infants to have serious illnesses
nal health. Sierra Leone has a reputation as the from dirty water, rats, mosquitoes, and piles of
worst place in the trash, are tremendously
world for children and high. In addition, new “Women and girls are dying in the thousands because
women. mothers lack the basic
knowledge about new-
they are routinely denied their right to life and health”
According to the born nutrition or even –Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General
United Nations, Si- how to correctly breast-
erra Leone has one of feed. Mothers and chil-
the highest under-5 dren are dying by thou-
child mortality rates sands each day because
in the world, with 160 of lack in medical atten-
deaths per 1,000 live tion and essential neces-
births. Even worse are sities.
rates, with 20 deaths There is no one to inform
per 100 live births. It is women on how to raise
nearly impossible for a child, and there is no
women to visit a hos- place for these women
pital during her preg- to go in order for them to
nancy because they are too poor to pay for it. get basic materials to keep both her, and her child,
healthy. With the lack of medical attention, basic
They are then subjected to giving birth in their knowledge of nutrition, severe unsanitary condi-
dirty, unsanitary homes. Many women tend to tions, and no place to get essential necessities, it is
bleed to death and die in their homes, leaving their no wonder why Sierra Leone is seen as one of the
newborn without a mom, and a very slim chance worst places on earth. However, we are extremely “In Sierra Leone, one in four children die before reaching
of survival. Even if both the mom and the determined to change that.
their fifth birthday. It’s shocking and tragic, especially when the
solutions are simple.”
–David Beckham, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Our Project Proposal
Our organization, Aiding Infants and Mothers, niques and procedures, so that they too can teach what specific problems need to be addressed. For niques. That way, they can pass along their train-
(A.I.M.) does exactly what our name says. Our others. example, if the surveys show that women are hav- ing and knowledge to help other native people in
purpose is to reduce child mortality rates and im- ing the most trouble with breast feeding or need- Sierra Leone. In these special classes we want the
prove maternal health through education and ser- We will then select a total of 10 people such as, ing essential materials, we can then focus more on men and women to have a hands on learning ex-
vice. We plan to start in the town of Sahn Malen. volunteers, student nurses, midwives, and pediat- those needs in order to improve them. We can also perience. We will train them on how
It is a small rural area that is divided into ten sec- ric nurses who will help introduce methods of ma- use this information for future references, to see to do basic everyday health techniques such as
tions looked over by a Chief. We want to start in ternal and child health care not known to the na- how much progress has been achieved. hand washing, prenatal examinations, proper
the smallest of the ten sections, with an estimated tive women of Sierra Leone. These specialists will breastfeeding techniques, and even give them the
population of only 1,637. We chose to start off in be coming from various locations in the United Once we know what problems are the most con- right tips for teaching other people on how to do
this section because it is a very poor community, States. AIM will also be in cooperation with many cerning, we can then start creating seminars, and these basic techniques.
they have minimal access to medical care, and by medical schools so that student nurses will be able group session informing the native women differ-
starting in the smallest community, it will be easier to come work with us overseas, which will give ent subjects, from anything about child raising to Our short term goal is to introduce the idea of ma-
for us to maintain and oversee how our program them experience and give them credit towards contraception. By these seminars and group ses- ternal health to the women and educating them
goes. Once our services and teachings are proven their degree. sions, we hope the women can gain more knowl- by seminars and group sessions. We want to do-
to be successful, we will move on to other com- edge of their health, child raising, or any other nate any materials that mothers need, that way,
munities in Sierra Leone, preaching good health to The group will start off with house to house visits, problem they wish for us to address. In addition, they can immediately be helped, as well as their
mothers, giving essential materials to families, and gathering and recording data, making a census, We will come equipped with an abundance of children. On the other hand, our long term goals
training women on how to do basic health tech- which will later on be used as a reference to show materials to donate to any family who needs it. If are to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mor-
mothers need blankets, cots, bottles, diapers, etc., tality and making health services more accessible
we want them to be able to come to us and get to families. We also want to increase the number of
whatever materials they need. teachers who can educate and inform other native
people in Sierra Leone, creating a lasting impact
We also want to focus on having a special class since the advancement is coming from within.
where nurses and other experienced personnel Last but not least, we hope to induce confidence
will contribute their time solely on training men and knowledge to the women, and create a bright
and women various basic and medical health tech- future for the children of Sierra Leone.
Impact Analysis Project Implementation
By helping mothers through education and ser- We will also be impacting a cultural aspect in the Year 1: Our first year will consist of scouting the area of Sahn Malen, introducing ourselves to the chief,
vice, we will be impacting daily lives in many ways. town of Sahn Malen because in many African na- and creating a census. Our 10 nurses, med students, student nurses, and midwives will be going door to
With our services, we are providing education and tions the men think it is taboo for the women to door introducing themselves and telling the native people about our purpose. We will then survey the
maternity care to women who would not other- breastfeed or use any method of contraceptives. people of Sahn Malen and determine what their most essential needs are. We hope to create a friendly
wise have access to it. We will be impacting the They believe that it is a disgrace for a women to relationship with the chief and the people of Sahn Malen within this first year.
women not only in a physical way, but also inter- be infertile and not be able to bear a child. In our
nally. With the knowledge they will be receiving, seminars, we will be informing women about sub- Year 2: By year two we will begin the introduction of our educational seminars for the women. We plan
they will be able to have more confidence on how jects such as these. Our teachings will conflict with to have our first seminar be about proper nutrition, and why it is good to stay healthy for mothers and
to raise their child, and more importantly, in them- the beliefs of the men. However, we believe that their babies. We will then talk about the problems that are most common, according to the survey re-
selves. In addition, they will have the ability to play once the women know all the benefits to breast sults. We will also begin donating any materials that are most needed such as blankets, bottles, baby
a larger role in their family. With their new found feeding and using contraceptives, they will bring formula, diapers, vitamins, etc. By year two we also plan to start recruiting local people to be apart of
confidence, the women could start having more aboard the men, so that they too, will agree with our training program.
of a say in what they do instead of just listening to our teachings and our purpose for this whole pro-
their husbands. gram. Year 3: By year three we will begin our training sessions. We will train women to be community health
workers, teaching them basic health and maternal-care practices. We will teach a new lesson every week,
With our training sessions we will be creating more With healthier mothers producing healthier chil- with a review of that lesson on Friday. These hands on training sessions will be they key to our success.
health workers that will, in the future, be able to dren, there will be a higher chance that those chil- Once these women are trained, they can now help and teach other people in their community, making
assist other women with basic health and mater- dren will be successful in the future. Studies show a lasting impact throughout generations.
nal-care practices. This, too will make a colossal that healthier children have greater ability to learn.
impact not only on women, but on infants as well. With their brain and their body in good condition, Year 4: By year 4 we hope to have a steady routine going. We want our seminars and training sessions to
By creating more health workers, women can be the children will be more productive and have the be effective and successful. We will be finalizing any last problems that should be addressed and inform
more involved in their community. In a society energy to learn, rather than being sick, weak chil- the women again, through seminars and our training sessions. By this year, we also want our staff to take
where women are seen as having no importance, dren who have no drive to learn. This generation a step back and examine how our trainees and mothers are using their new found knowledge to help
our program will help induce confidence and of healthy children can be the key to Sierra Leone’s others and to apply what they have learned to better their own lives.
women empowerment. Further more, we will be successful nation. With their healthy brains, the
saving the lives of many children because our pro- children could gain knowledge on anything from Year 5: By year five we will be preparing to detach ourselves from the people of Sahn Malen. We hope
gram will teach women how to properly take care finding a solution to the poverty crisis, to help- that these five years of training and gaining knowledge about health and maternal care have largely
of their new born. In result, the life expectancy for ing the environmental conditions in Sierra Leone. helped these women. We also hope to have an increase in the amount of health care workers through-
infants will increase, and they would now have the There is an endless potential in success, all because out the community, who can help and teach other women about basic health and maternal-care prac-
chance to live a long, healthy life. we are giving the opportunity for children to live tices. We hope to see a decrease in infant and maternal mortality rates. Most importantly, we hope to
a longer life. see happier, healthier children.