According to UNICEF, USAID and many government folks at a conference I attended today examining global progress in maternal and child survival since 2012- there have been big gains in some regions- but not in Sub Saharan Africa-sadly. There are some signs of progress in urban areas and for wealthier Africans however, continued conflicts, poverty, lack of health care infrastructure and staff, not to mention lack of transportation-all contribute to very slow gains for the most marginalized and vulnerable.
The Numbers in Sierra Leone are Staggering
Sierra Leone has an under-5 year child mortality rate three times higher than the global average (108 per 1000 births) with 1/3 of of those deaths happen in the first month.
Sierra Leone also has a maternal mortality rate over 5x the global average.
Almost 30% of children under 5 suffer from stunting due to lack of nutrition and half of all children do not meet developmental targets of well-being.
The situation in the rural areas is worse due to lack of healthcare options, transportation and extreme poverty as well as continued customary practices such as unattended births (by a trained medical professional) and FGM which is practiced on over 80% of girls.
These are tough statistics because they reflect the preventable deaths of real women and children. More needs to be done on all levels and from all sectors working together.
At SGUW, we work closely with rural women on nutrition, reduction of poverty, family planning, community building and education. We also provide adolescent girls with healthcare information, safety, FP and reproductive health.
We are a small organization with one mission- empowering girls and women in Sierra Leone. It sounds simple however, it is anything but that. On a country-wide, regional and global level- these are multi-sectoral issues that demand complex solutions. However, on the family level, for one woman or her children it may be as simple as providing the resources to plant an extra acre of food so her family can eat or so she can sell it and send her children to school for one more year. For an out-of-school teenager, it may be sending her to a training class to learn an employable skill. For a young girl, it may be providing a safe space where she can be heard.
We are growing SGUW in order to effectively address many of these issues- one family, one village, one classroom at a time. We believe in community-based models of development using sustainable, trustworthy and reliable solutions.
Please take a look at our GO FUND ME campaign and donate to support our Agricultural Programs. We are up to $775 with a big donation earlier today!