CRS History in Sierra Leone
Catholic Relief Services has worked in Sierra Leone for more than 40 years. During the 1970s and 1980s, CRS focused efforts on supporting education projects and health centers for mothers and children. Between 1991 and 2002, civil war killed more than 20,000 people and displaced and destroyed the livelihoods of millions more. In response to the war, CRS Sierra Leone, like most international agencies operating in the country, shifted strategy from development aid to emergency relief. By 1995, CRS was supporting displaced populations throughout the country with food, medicine, clothing, shelter and household items. Despite instability and insecurity, CRS provided humanitarian services throughout the war, thanks primarily to the outstanding dedication of our local staff.
After the war ended in 2002, the focus of government and nongovernmental agencies turned to safeguarding peace and transitioning to development. In March 2004, CRS and other international agencies launched a three-year development program. Staff members worked sideby side with communities devastated by war to execute plans designed to restore livelihoods and improve the food security and health status of rural households. In 2005, CRS, along with Care and World Vision, started a three-year program to integrate communities into rural economies by broadening the range of livelihoods and increasing the productivity of local jobs.