Sierra Leone

Fatima poses in front of a newly constructed latrine by Oxfam at the Educaid high school in Port Loko, Sierra Leone.

Fatima poses in front of a newly constructed latrine built by Oxfam at the Educaid high school in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. Oxfam also provided clean water, toilets, showers and hygiene lessons to 600 students. Credit: Tommy Trenchard / Oxfam


With a population reaching almost 7.5 million people[1], Sierra Leone ranks 140 among 189 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Sierra Leone was the second worst performer in West Africa in terms of its government’s commitment to funding public education, healthcare and social protection.[2] The low levels of commitment may be changing for the better as the current government has increased government support towards education including promises to make primary and secondary education free. The government is in the process of driving up the collection of tax revenues to boost social spending, including a review and renegotiation of mining, construction and telecommunication contracts and the introduction of a comprehensive transfer pricing regulation.

The new Government is keen to use science, technology and innovation to support Sierra Leone deliver on its national development plan. A Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) sits in the Office of the President. [3]Some of the directorate’s key focuses are on data for decision making and service delivery and citizens engagement. i.e. ‘provide citizens with digital services and solutions that enhance their engagement with government’; as well as ensure they deliver on a Free Quality Education Dashboard, which is to monitor and assess the Government’s flagship quality free education.

[1] See census reports here:
[2] Oxfam International, “The West Africa Inequality Crisis: How West African governments are failing to reduce inequality and what should be done about it”, Oxfam briefing paper, July 2019.
[3] See:

Oxfam in Sierra Leone

OXFAM started operations in Sierra Leone in 1998, with relief work focused on emergency water, sanitation and hygiene provision in the context of the civil war that was ongoing at the time. Since 2004, OXFAM has shifted its program towards a more development-orientated approach working in both urban and rural areas of Sierra Leone. Oxfam’s work focuses on good governance, gender equality, energy, food security and livelihoods, education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). Oxfam works with partners and supports programming across Sierra Leone particularly in relation to our national influencing and policy work. We have also implemented programmes in 11 out of the 16 districts of Port Loko, Koinadugu, Kambia, Falaba, Kono, Moyamba, Bonthe, Tonkolili, Bombali, Western Area Rural and Western Area Urban. In addition, OXFAM responds to emergency situations when they occur, such as the 2012 cholera outbreak, the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, the 2017 mudslide disaster in Freetown and 2019 flash floods in Freetown.

Oxfam’s vision for Sierra Leone is “A just, inclusive and resilient Sierra Leone without poverty, in which citizens, particularly women and youth demand and acquire equal access to their rights and live a life of dignity.”

Promoting Economic and Gender Justice

We are committed to promoting the political, social and economic empowerment of women and youths at all levels. Oxfam has worked with Woman’s Rights Organization to support women to join elective politics. Oxfam is leading the implementation of two grants focused on improving livelihoods of women and youth, and the diversification of crops and livestock production. We also empower citizens especially youth and women to influence policy and structural changes including working towards ensuring that domestic resources (tax and extractive revenues) are increasingly managed transparently and redistributed equitably by the government.

Addressing Inequalities in Sierra Leone Through Enhancing Access to Quality Essential Services

Oxfam and its partners address inequalities through enhancing access to quality essential services in education, WASH and renewable energy for poor and marginalized communities. Oxfam successfully led the Freetown WASH Consortium, within the Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural Districts, to support the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) to improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene access, within 44 wards in the Western Area.

We successfully piloted and scaled the Tiger Worm Toilets Project which contributed to the prevention of communicable diseases through improved sanitation and hygiene practices. This project addressed major concerns such as the absence of the sewerage system and unsafe human waste disposal.

We are implementing a rural WASH project in two districts; this project supports communal water points and promotion of household hygiene and sanitation in targeted communities.

We empower girls, young women and youth through improved access to equitable, quality, affordable and sustainable education services for poor and marginalized communities.

Responding to humanitarian crises and saving lives

Sierra Leone has faced several humanitarian emergencies in the past. These include cholera, Ebola Virus disease outbreak, flooding and mudslide. Oxfam has worked with the Government of Sierra Leone, peer organizations, civil society organizations and donor agencies to support the affected citizens by proving much needed relief, rehabilitation and recovery support.


Contact Oxfam in Sierra Leone

15 Sir Samuel Lewis Road,
Freetown , Sierra Leone
Tel: +232 76 690 375