Reading Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone
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About the Country

Africa map - Sierra leone

Sierra Leone, a country with an estimated population of 5.3 million, emerged from a ten year civil war in 2002. The war left considerable destruction of life and property (CIA World Fact Book, 2010). The intensification of the civil war in 1995, four years after its inception, led to massive displacement of over 2 million people, the death of an estimated 100,000 people, destruction of most of the country’s social, economic and physical infrastructure and a destabilization in the delivery of social services nationwide (GoSL, 2002)

According to a National Recovery Strategy report (2003), an estimated 75% of government infrastructure was destroyed during the war, including school infrastructure, 85% of which was damaged or vandalized. The report notes that the war contributed immensely to a drop in educational access, enrolment, quality and efficiency in the delivery of education services, as the education system crumbled in almost every part of the country.

There are hundreds of thousands of children in Sierra Leone who grow up without receiving quality basic education. This crisis is most pronounced in rural and poor regions of the country. The policies and laws of Sierra Leone call for every child to complete nine years of basic education but this is far from reality. To reach the goal, the government and its partners need to make special efforts to ensure that children in the rural and hard-to-reach areas have access to good quality basic education. After the war in 2002, school access and enrolment showed signs of improvement, particularly at the primary level (IRC, 2010).

Click here to consult the catalogue for the full Reading Liberia and Reading Sierra Leone Collection.


Our Programs in the Country

Our Partners

International Rescue Committee logo

International Rescue Committee




   PEN Sierra Leone


  •    Video

This video was created by Dr. Michelle Commeyras, a CODE’s literacy specialist with "reading Sierra Leone" (Lɛ Wi ɔl Lan (LWOL) project). The video is about her visit in Kenema, Sierra Leone for the Training of Trainers for Lɛ Wi ɔl Lan (LWOL) project in July 2011.

This alphabet chant was made up by the teachers and their trainers to teach primary school children the letter sounds of the English alphabet. It was created after they had learned other alphabet chants that are all in English. This is an early literacy project called Lɛ Wi ɔl Lan (LWOL). LWOL is partnership among CODE Canada, the International Rescue Committee and Pen Sierre Leone. The video was recorded in November 2011.