Sierra Leonean women are at risk for sexual and gender-based violence in the form of domestic violence, sexual assault of adults and minors, marital rape, school-related sexual abuse, and harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation.
USAID is engaging a broad range of stakeholders to identify the various drivers of sexual and gender-based violence across different segments of the population around the country and will support local organizations in developing and piloting interventions designed to reduce its prevalence while maintaining cultural and social integrity.
Women account for 52 percent of the total population in Sierra Leone yet occupy less than 20 percent of elected positions. Their voice, visibility, participation, and representation in elective and appointment positions remain very low compared to men. Some of these challenges include lack of economic independence, high illiteracy and entrenched customs and traditions, political violence and reprisals, the absence of progressive laws that protect and promote participation for women, and the lack of confidence to vie for public positions.