Sierra Leone is a small country in West Africa. Population is about 7 million. The country is an agrarian society, 70% of the people are employed in agriculture.
Agriculture produces about half the GDP, but the farmers mainly depend on rain-fed and subsistence farming. 70% of Sierra Leoneans live on less that $2 a day. Poverty is more severe in the rural areas because there are no paved roads, resourced schools or health facilities, no electricity and other basic social services. Majority of the rural dwellers are farmers.
Sierra Leone is ranked by the Climate Vulnerability Index (2016) as second most vulnerable in the world, due to low adaptive capacity. The country is suffering from increasing seasonal droughts and flooding every year! Droughts and flooding cause humanitarian disasters and crop failures that lead to more hunger, poverty, malnutrition, migration and other social problems. The impacts of climate change are most severe on the farmers because they depend on subsistence methods and rain-fed agriculture.
Gender discrimination occurs all over the country but it is more severe in the rural areas. Gender discrimination is deeply rooted in religious, traditional and other cultural beliefs and practices. 65% of the farmers are rural women but they mainly work as unpaid farm laborers. Due to gender discrimination, rural women are poorer than their male counterparts because they have less access to resources. Rural women are also more affected or at risk or climate disasters because they largely depend on natural resources for their livelihood.
Most rural girls do not go to school. They are subjected to FGM, help their mothers process food and cook for their households, fetch water from creeks or rivers and firewood from forests, look after their younger siblings, work on the farm.
Despite these challenges, the country has huge potentials. There are huge human resources, agricultural and other resources. Over 70% of its 7.2 million people are less than 35 years old. Less than 20% of the 5.4 million hectares of cultivable land is currently under cultivation.
Green Africa projects support poor women farmers to build community resilience through sustainable agribusiness and girl child education. We serve rural women and girls because they are poorer and more vulnerable to climate disasters than their male counterparts.