It is difficult to forget a trip to Sierra Leone. The raw beauty and unbounded energy is addictive and on every street corner you are met with a smile. As one recent volunteer wrote
‘You should never underestimate the ability of Sierra Leone to surprise you, change your plans, make you late, make you laugh, dance, smile and see the most extraordinary sights.’
I first visited in 2006 and returned in 2009 to help set up the ethical fashion label NearFar. On both visits I was struck by the countries huge potential. With outstanding natural beauty and a rich source of natural minerals the country has the foundations for a bright future.
However, poverty and unemployment still remain major challenges. Sierra Leone ranks 180 of 187 on the UNDP development index with 77% of Sierra Leone’s living in poverty and 62.79% living on less than $1.25 a day (UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index 2011).
Ten years of civil war left the country with a large skills gap as many missed out on an education. This gap needs to be reduced. This is why we set up The Collective–Sierra Leone, a capacity building organisation with the mission to provide individuals and organisations with the tools to create positive change. Capacity building and leadership development can provide vital skills to lift the country out of poverty
With the support of organisations and talented individuals from around the world we aim to help Sierra Leone reach its full potential.