AVSI has started to operate in Sierra Leone since the end of the ‘90ies by strengthening the capacities of the Sierra Leonean civil society organization Family Homes Movement (FHM). Over the years, we worked in different areas and sectors.
For child soldiers. During the civil war, AVSI and FHM's work focused on reintegrating child soldiers with the creation of an initial reception center for the victims of the phenomenon.
For orphans. In the first ten years, the focus of AVSI and FHM's work was to create reception centers for orphaned children, with the involvement of families willing to welcome them into their homes.
For families and children affected by Ebola. On March 17, 2016 the World Health Organization officially announced the defeat of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone. Before then, the virus left thousands of people dead or infected. From the early days of the outbreak, AVSI’s staff immediately set to work, alongside local partner FHM, to support affected households through the distribution of necessities, preventive information campaigns, educational radio programs, support for street children, orphans and families in quarantine. Ebola-related work is continuing even after the emergency, to support the material psycho-physical and economic wellbeing of survivors and orphans.
For families and children affected by natural disasters. In August 2017, another emergency has shocked Sierra Leone: the mudslide of Regent hillside and the flooding of several slums in Freetown. AVSI has immediately intervened, and our staff has mainly helped in registering the affected population and distributing food and non-food items.
To guarantee children an access to quality education. AVSI’s true mission in Sierra Leone has always been to improve the quality of the educational sector by involving teachers and parents. It is noteworthy the project implemented between 2013 and 2017 thanks to the funds of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI). In partnership with the Archdioceses of Freetown - Educational Services Commission (ADESC) and in collaboration with the Luigi Giussani Institute of Higher Education (LGIHE), AVSI gave 350 teachers, parents and social workers the opportunity to understand the importance of their role as educators in relation to the child educational growth. Since 2018, AVSI in partnership with FHM and Saint Mary’s Home of Charity (SMHC), is improving primary teachers’ skills of 20 schools, so that children could improve their reading and writing skills in English, thanks to “IMAGES: Improving MAnaGement of CSOs in Education Sector” project funded by the European Union. In addition, AVSI is also strengthening the capacities of 15 civil society organizations to make them real actors of the educational sector development.
For the most vulnerable children. The construction and development of a school in Mayenkineh is among AVSI's most significant work in Sierra Leone, thanks to co-financing from MAE (Italian Foreign Ministry) and some private donors. Founded as a primary school, within a few years it offered a complete education from kindergarten to secondary. It now accommodates almost 1,400 students and is widely recognized as one of the best schools in the country. In the last ten years, AVSI has also supported the Holy Family School in Tabai, a small village in the hinterland of the country characterized by high vulnerabilities. Thanks to AVSI, 263 children have access to primary school and quality education.
For people with disability. From 2007 to 2010, AVSI has worked to improve professional and technical capacities of people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth. Courses on tailoring, carpentry, brick production, welding and electrician were organized thanks to the contribution of the World Bank. This project successfully improved living conditions of disabled people by giving them the opportunity to enter the job market.
For dropout youth, young and teenage mothers. Drop-out rate at school is still high in Sierra Leone, especially for women. For this reason, AVSI and its partners FHM and SMHC are guaranteeing vocational courses and career guidance to youth and teenage mothers. The “IMAGES: Improving MAnaGement of CSOs in Education Sector” project, funded by the European Union, involves 195 youth to make them more independent and fully aware of their potentials.
To improve job readiness of youth. Sierra Leone is a developing country with a lot of potential. Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship Program (YEEP) implemented by Lattanzio KIBS in collaboration with AVSI and Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, is thus designing new vocational courses within the most important Technical and Vocational Training Centre (TVET) in the country. In particular, 2400 youth will improve their skills in fish-farming and aquaculture, tourism and construction sectors. The professional figure of counselors will be established to link courses within the job market.
AVSI Sierra Leone
51 Lower Parsonage Street, Shell-Kissy - 47235 Freetown