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Sierra Leone

The aftermath of a brutal civil war, and regular flooding, make providing access to safe water and proper toilets especially challenging in Sierra Leone.
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5 million people don't have access to adequate sanitation in Sierra Leone.


people in Sierra Leone don't have access to safe water.


Over 1,600 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone emerged from a decade-long civil war in 2002 but the country still faces many challenges. Two thirds of the population live in poverty, and millions of people lack access to safe water and proper toilets.

The crisis

During the civil war between 1991 and 2002, Sierra Leone's infrastructure was seriously damaged. As a result, many water points and toilet facilities remain out of use.

2 million people in Sierra Leone do not have access to safe water and 83% have nowhere to go to the toilet. This has a big impact on health – over 4,000 children die every year from diarrhea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.

This crisis is also holding back the country's development, preventing adults from working and children from getting an education. Women in particular have to walk long distances to collect water from unsafe sources.

Our approach

Having previously worked in Sierra Leone, WaterAid returned to the country after the civil war. We are now helping to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services where they are needed most.

We are working with partners in local communities to raise awareness of the importance of hygiene and basic toilets. We are also supporting the local authorities and national Government to prioritize these basic services.

Our focus is on reaching the poorest and most marginalized people. With safe water and toilets close to home, they will be able to take their first steps out of poverty.

Our impact

In Sierra Leone last year we reached:

  • 6,000 people with safe water
  • 16,000 people with improved sanitation
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