Quick Facts

  • Sierra Leone has a population of about 7.5 million people.
  • The overall adult literacy rate for women is 37.7% and 48.1% for men.
  • Sierra Leone is home to 16 ethnic groups. Each group has their own language and traditional attire.
  • Only 39.9 percent of males complete secondary school and 33.2% of females. 
  • English is the official language; however, Krio is the language that is understood by most of the population. Krio is a Creole language, first spoken by descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who settled in the Freetown area.
  • Sierra Leone is also rich in natural resources, including diamonds, gold, titanium, and bauxite. Its main exports are the mineral rutile, fish, coffee, cocoa, and iron ore.
  • Only 7% of schools in Sierra Leone have libraries.

Sierra Leone

261 libraries established

According to archeological findings, people have been residing in Sierra Leone for at least 2,500 years. In the sixteenth century, Sierra Leone was a very important center for the transatlantic slave trade. However, the country’s involvement with the slave trade ended in 1787 after Freetown was established by former slaves from North America. Sierra Leone experienced a devastating civil war between 1991 and 2002 that displaced more than one-third of the country.  While over 70% of the population in Sierra Leone lives under the poverty line, in recent years the country has increased agricultural production and productivity which has improved rural incomes. 

Education in Sierra Leone: English is the language of instruction in Sierra Leone. The law mandates that students receive free primary education, and it requires them to attend six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary school. Yet Sierra Leone has a low school enrollment rate. With the partnership of Reading Initiative Salone (RISE) Network in 2012 and later the Library Development Initiative, African Library Project has sent over 260 libraries to Sierra Leone since 2013.

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Malawi

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Ghana

Previously an African Empire and then a British colony, Ghana gained independence from the UK in 1957. It was the first sub-Saharan nation to achieve autonomy from colonial rule. Ghana was also the first place in sub-Saharan Africa where Europeans arrived to trade - first in gold, later in slaves. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have lived in present-day Ghana from about 1500 BC. Today, Ghana is a model of democracy for the continent and the world.

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Sierra Leone

According to archeological findings, people have been residing in the Sierra Leone for at least 2,500 years. In the sixteenth century Sierra Leone was a very important center for the transatlantic slave trade. However the country’s involvement with the slave trade ended in 1787 after Freetown was established by repatriated former slaves. Due to its rough beginnings, over 70% of the population in Sierra Leone lives under the poverty line.

Learn More