Challenges in the Kono District
The Kono district was significantly affected by the 10 years of conflict in Sierra Leone. Safe drinking water is limited. Deep pits dug in the search for diamonds pose serious environmental and health risks. Women experience gender-based violence and discrimination, and lack access to land. They are financially dependent on men.
Paradoxically, Kono also has the most productive mineral (diamonds and gold) sectors in the country. Yet revenue generated through the extractive sector is not sufficiently invested in local development.
The programme focuses on governance of natural resources and the diversification of livelihoods. It has the following goals:
The primary beneficiaries of the programme are urban citizens affected by the extractive industry, unemployed youth (15-35 years), and targeted rural communities, with a particular focus on women. Specific focus is also on targeting beneficiaries who are living below the national poverty line of $2 per day.
The programme supports diversification in sectors that offer potential for job creation and business opportunities. Strategic public-private partnerships are being established with regional and local businesses and councils. These will promote job creation and income generation for youth and women. The programme also provides seed capital and facilitates access to financial service providers for youth start-ups.
Partnerships are being formed around agriculture, aquaculture, value-added trade, and mini-processing and production activities. Communities are gaining knowledge and skills to establish and manage mini aquaculture enterprises and poultry farms. This creates livelihood diversification opportunities, and improves food and nutrition security. The programme will provide vocational training and offer enterprise development to boost self-employment in urban and rural areas.