Sierra Leone is one of the poorest nations on earth. More than 70% of the population are unemployed and live below the national poverty line, surviving on just 52p ($1 USD) a day. Life expectancy for women is 42 years and nearly a third of all children die before their fifth birthday.
In 2003 the country celebrated its first year of peace in over a decade. During the ten-year civil war 500,000 people were murdered, raped or left with horrific injuries and over half the population was made homeless. Vital services such as health, social care, water and sanitation still remain deeply affected.
Communities are now trying to rebuild their social and physical infrastructures. Starting again from nothing, they face the challenges of a population that is impoverished and traumatised. Lone women or frail grandparents head many households.