April 28, 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
One of the slum communities in Freetown
In their quest to prevent teenage pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic in the country, Save the Children Sierra Leone,one of the leading non-governmental organizations operating in the country, has donated food items to 401 vulnerable girls living in slum communities in the Western Area Rural and Urban, respectively.
Speaking to Concord Times during the distribution of the food items to vulnerable girls at Kroo Bay, Communication and Media Officer at Save the Children Sierra Leone, Abdul Sillah, said it was no secret that COVID – 19 has taken over the world, noting that at a time like when everyone was focused on fighting the crises,children become more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
He stated that the Ebola virus epidemic in the country in 2014 left scars on girls that are still healing, adding that teenage pregnancy increased by 65 percent, leaving about 14,000 girls pregnant.
He said a study conducted by Save the Children and other organizations reveals that a major contributor to teenage pregnancy was because vulnerable girls in their communities were forced into transactional sex to cover their basic daily needs, including food.
He said in an effort to prevent a repeat of such negative impact on vulnerable girls in the country, Save the Children Sierra Leone decided to support four hundred and one (401) vulnerable girls in twenty-three (23) communities within the Western Urban and Rural district with food and non-food items.
He said the target communities include Kanikay, Mabella, Kuntorloh, Rokupa, Dwazark, Susan’s Bay, Kroo Bay, Grey Bush, Connaught Community, Cockerill Bay, Crab town, Aberdeen, Murray town village, Cole farm, Olorshoro, Manor Corner-Waterloo, Monkey Bush-Waterloo, Loko Town-Waterloo, Lumley-zone 1 & 2 and Soso town.
He said the beneficiary children were selected after some assessment on the impact of COVID 19 on their lives, their coping mechanism and potential risks around them, adding that the package contains bags of rice, bags of Onion, Cooking Oil, Saba Soap, Cube Sugar, Powder Milk, Sardines and other items.
Save the Children is seeking solutions to the challenges faced by children in Sierra Leone through their development and humanitarian work since 1999.
In 2012 they reached 220,915 children directly and 1,759,621directly (Basic Country Information) with their work across Kailahun District, Pujehun District, Western Urban,13 City sections Rokupa, Kuntolor,Susan’s Bay, Mabella, Kroo Bay, Grey Bush, Murray Town, Aberdeen, Cockle Bay, Wilberforce, Dwazark,Kanikay, Connaught) and Western Rural(waterloo,Tombo).
In 2018, they also reached over 280,000 children and over 65,000 adults with programming, advocacy, and support to government agencies across multiple sectors within their four operational districts, including emergency preparedness and response.