Our work in Sierra Leone helps save lives, builds communities and empowers at-risk women and girls to take charge of their futures.
- Our office: Freetown
- Our areas of focus: Health, empowering women and girls, media development, economic opportunity
- Our partners: UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Comic Relief-GSK
- On social media: Twitter and Facebook
About our work
Radio is still the most important source of information in Sierra Leone, but online access is growing quickly, particularly among young people. We’ve been working in Sierra Leone since 2007 on projects that span radio, mobile, social media and community discussion groups. We are proud to run Sierra Leone’s most popular Facebook page, which played an important role in dispelling misinformation during the country’s 2018 elections.
Since 2017, our Tawa Fo Welbodi (Determined For Health) project has provided trusted information and busted harmful myths about malaria, a disease which accounts for 40% of deaths outside hospital. This project builds on the expertise and insight our team gained during the 2014-15 Ebola crisis – where we worked closely and swiftly with media and NGO partners to provide life-saving information through radio discussion and drama programming, PSAs, digital content and capacity strengthening.
In 2019 we launched a bold new girls’ education and empowerment project – supporting radio stations across the country to create vibrant programming that challenges the discriminatory attitudes holding girls back from realising their dreams.
Sierra Leone is also one of three countries of focus for our flagship media development project, PRIMED (Protecting Independent Media for Effective Development) - through which we are strengthening independent media to produce trusted public-interest journalism and generating evidence around what works in strengthening media viability.
Latest newsRead more blogs from Sierra Leone
- Malaria programme tackles COVID-19 in Sierra LeoneRead how our long-running health programme 'Tawa fo Welbodi' is addressing COVID-19 as well as malaria prevention, because vital information saves lives.
Our projects in Sierra Leone
- Empowering adolescent girls in Sierra LeoneThere are 32,500 girls in Sierra Leone aged 13-17 who are not in school. Our project called Every Adolescent Girl Empowered and Resilient (EAGER) aims to aid in their transition to education, training or employment and inspire hope for their future.
- Protecting pregnant women and children from malaria in Sierra LeoneUsing insight from our response to the Ebola outbreak we're building awareness about malaria for those most at risk, using radio, TV, social media and community outreach.
- Using radio and television to inspire young people in Sierra LeoneMi Stori (My Story) aims to inspire young people in Sierra Leone to be active, positive participants in their community through an interactive radio show and mini-documentaries championing positive role models.
- Wi Di Pipul: Improving access to education, health and social services through radioA radio show focusing on the country’s health, education and social care sector – reporting problems, as well as discussing and sharing solutions.
- Tok Bot Salone: Encouraging debate in Sierra LeoneA radio debate programme enabling Sierra Leoneans to ask questions of their leaders and discuss issues of national and local importance.
- Kicking out EbolaBBC Media Action responded swiftly to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone with life-saving information, relevant radio programming and comprehensive training for broadcasters.
- Improving maternal and child health through mobile technologyHow mobile technology can improve maternal health in Sierra Leone by training community health workers.
- Getting leaders to listen in Sierra LeoneRadio discussion programme Fo Rod (At the Crossroads) provides a platform for debate and a chance for people to hold their leaders to account.
Our insight and impactUse our research library
- My Media Action films: Eastina Massaquoi, Sierra LeoneHow BBC Media Action used radio to help stop myth and rumour during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
- Research report: Communication in Sierra Leone - an analysis of media and mobile audiencesThis paper looks at how adults in Sierra Leone use and access media and mobile phones.
- Research summary: Sierra Leone’s changing media landscape offers fresh opportunities for development communicationsA BBC Media Action survey reveals new opportunities for reaching audiences across Sierra Leone.
- Research report: Exploring the role of communication in community healthThis paper reviews research innovation in the form of pioneering field experiments in the media and political development sector.
- Research summary: How did local radio stations support their communities during the Ebola crisis?How BBC Media Action helped tackle Ebola by supporting local radio stations in Sierra Leone.
- Research briefing: How do debate programmes influence knowledge of key governance issues and political participation?This research briefing explores levels of knowledge of key governance issues and political participation amongst radio listeners in Sierra Leone.
- My Media Action films: Amara Bangura, Sierra LeoneWhy BBC Media Action's Amara Bangura was inspired to report on the Charles Taylor trial.
- My Media Action films: Mariama Fornah, Sierra LeoneHow BBC Media Action is using radio to help cocoa farmers in Sierra Leone.
- My Media Action films: Ed Kargbo, Sierra LeoneBBC Media Action's work in training volunteers at a radio station in Sierra Leone.
Past projects and resources
- Radio for women's rightsBetween 2014-16 a radio drama and discussion programme explored women’s rights and their access to legal services in Sierra Leone.
- Rebuilding cocoa farmers’ skills in Sierra LeoneFrom 2011 to 2015 a creative combination of radio programming, community work and distance learning targeted cocoa farmers in Eastern Sierra Leone.
- Communicating justice: reporting the trial of Charles TaylorWest African journalists trained by BBC Media Action reported on the trial of the former Liberian president from The Hague.