CommunityFirst Solutions in Sierra Leone: Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and COVID-19

In 2021, SeeChange collaborated with Sierra Leonean organizations to empower communities in responding to COVID-19. This included co-designing action plans and leveraging local expertise. In 2022, SeeChange partnered with a local activist and journalist to establish a Circle of Girls in Mile 91, Tonkolili. This initiative mentors adolescent girls, supporting them to learn about and advocate for their sexual and reproductive health and rights

Years active
Tonkolili Districts, Kenema and Kailahun, Sierra Leone

In the last thirty years, Sierra Leoneans have lived through a devastating civil war, an Ebola epidemic, and the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which continue to contribute to lasting intergenerational trauma in the young population. Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world and near the bottom of the human development index (181 of 195 countries.)

To localize aid, we must enhance partnerships and amplify local organizations' voices

Goal: support community-driven responses to health crises in Sierra Leone

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights

Circle of Girls: Mile 91, Tonkolili 

The Circle of Girls seeks to create a safe and empowering space for adolescent girls where they can develop their confidence and skills (such as advocacy, communication, active listening, outreach), collectively brainstorm ideas around ASRHR and take them forward, voice their own concerns, fears, challenges and share experiences with their peers and mentor, and form a sense of solidarity as a group. This group where adolescent girls who are and are not in school can meaningfully collaborate with each other.

The role of communities as leaders of their own responses cannot be overlooked

COVID-19 Response

Partner: Education Across Borders (Kenema and Kailahun Districts) 

2021-2022: SeeChange worked with Education Across Borders to support communities in Kenema and Kailahun to respond to COVID-19, identify pressing health needs and developing an action plan. In December 2022 the SeeChange and Education Across Borders teams met in Kenema, Sierra Leone to conduct a training on participatory methodologies to co-design community responses.

Partner: Community of Rowalla, Tonkolili District

Rowalla is a small rural community near the town of Magburaka where SeeChange connected with a local clinical health officer between September 2021 and 2022 who supported the community in adapting the CommunityFirst COVID-19 Roadmap and creating a health committee to lead this response.  

Community members built skills in pandemic response

Community health committees established

Adolescent girls in Mile 91 build skills in advocacy and ASRHR knowledge

Adolescent girls developed skills in advocacy and outreach

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