Sierra Leone Profile


Sierra Leone Profile

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Sierra Leone, with its population of 7.977 million (2020), is located on the west coast of Africa bordered by Guinea to its north and east, by 291 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline to its west and south-west and Liberia to its south-east. Because of its dense tropical rainforest, Sierra Leone (named after the mountains around Freetown harbour by the Portuguese 'Serra Lyoa' ~ Lion Mountains) was mostly cut off from the rest of Africa. Europe made its first contact there in 1462 and soon established trading posts and inevitably introduced slavery. By the seventeenth century Portuguese imperialism was on the wan and their presence there was largely supplanted by the British. By the 1800s Sierra Leone, whilst then a British colony, was much smaller than its present day area insofar as much of the land was still ruled by its indigenous people. Over the next decades British rule extended either by treaty, agreement or by other means until it exerted full control over the area, mainly in order to exclude the French.



In April 1961, Sierra Leone was granted full independence from the United Kingdom and elections were arranged for May 1962 in which the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) were victorious. A few years later military rule was imposed following a further election in 1967 however just over a year later democracy was restored. By 1991 there was an air of corruption in the politics of Sierra Leone and civil war broke outa and, by the time the war was declared over in January 2002, thousands of people, especially children, had been killed, tortured and maimed and over one third of the population was displaced. The precipitating factors for the civil war were an underlying sense of injustice that the ruling classes were benefiting from the income generated from alluvial diamond mining whilst the poor remained poor. Today the poor are still poor with boys in particular, as they mature into adulthood, still having the scars of their child soldier years.


Sierra Leone Country Profile


The country's infrastructure is still weak and many are under educated, most un or under employed as well with high unemployment particularly affecting young people (60%), the very young people who were so brutalised as those child soldiers. As such, many attempt to cross illegally in Europe in the hope of finding a better life only for them to die at sea or end up in detention centres once arriving in the EU, mainly via Spain and Italy. Sierra Leone is in 182nd place out of 189 countries and territories in 2019 when ranked in terms of life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and the living standards of a country. Find out more about Sierra Leone today in the profile pages below.




Sierra Leone Profile: Volunteer in Sierra Leone

African Volunteer Work: Sierra Leone


Check out all the latest fee paying and free African volunteer work placements and charity work job opportunities abroad with local projects and volunteering organisations in Sierra Leone.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Sierra Leone Civil War

Sierra Leone Civil War


A short introduction and guide to the decade long devastating civil war in Sierra Leone.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Life in Sierra Leone

Life in Sierra Leone


Facts, figures and a video about daily life in Sierra Leone where the infrastructure is still weak and many are under-educated and most un or under-employed.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Sierra Leone Children

Sierra Leone Children


About life for children in Sierra Leone in facts, information and video where only 6% of rural children have access to improved sanitation together with details of projects and programs to support children there.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Child Sponsor Sierra Leone

Child Sponsor Sierra Leone


Details of how to sponsor children in Sierra Leone with Sierra Leone child sponsor organisations, charities, programs and projects.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Sierra Leone Images

Sierra Leone Images


View Sierra Leone in pictures, photographs and positive images in this video from mountains to the east of the country and the coastal area where mangrove swamps lead to wooded hills as you move inland.

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South Africa Profile: Sierra Leone Quiz

Sierra Leone Quiz


Take our online trivia quiz and see how much you know about Sierra Leone, including some interesting facts about the country.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Freetown Profile

Freetown Profile


Take a virtual tour of Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, in pictures and images with this Freetown video set to Sierra Leone music.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Freetown Lungi International Airport

Freetown Lungi International Airport


Make a virtual landing at Freetown Lungi International Airport outside the capital city of Sierra Leone where you will probably enter the country for your vounteer work experience.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Sierra Leone Map

Sierra Leone Map


Use this Google Earth satellite map of Sierra Leone in Africa to explore and take a virtual tour of Sierra Leone and zoom in on places of interest.

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Sierra Leone Profile: Sierra Leone News

Sierra Leone News


Read all the latest and breaking news from Sierra Leone here at our Sierra Leone news profile page. Updated daily.

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