students impacted

by Reading Sierra Leone.

teachers trained

on effective, child-centered strategies to promote literacy in their classrooms.


supported through teacher development and provision of reading materials.

Located in West Africa, Sierra Leone has been known for its wealth of natural resources, including diamonds and gold. Despite this wealth, over 60% of its population lives in poverty (UNDP 2015).

Poverty has had a variety of impacts on education in Sierra Leone. There have been successes in the number of children completing school, which has steadily risen since 2000. However, in 2010, still only 76% of enrolled students were completing their primary education (Government of Sierra Leone 2013). Additionally, children from the poorest communities cannot regularly access primary school, causing them to fall behind. Many children enter primary school late – in 2010, 40% of Grade 1 entrants were above 7 years of age (Government of Sierra Leone 2013). This results in large primary classrooms, where students are significantly varied in age.

With such barriers to education, it is important that high quality learning materials and effectively trained teachers are available to students in the most marginalized schools and communities.

About Reading Sierra Leone 20/20

Reading Sierra Leone logoThrough Reading Sierra Leone 20/20, CODE and its local partners, PEN Sierra Leone and TALLE, want to improve the learning outcomes of primary school children by ensuring that they have access to locally-developed high-quality supplementary reading materials at school and that their educators are skilled and have the capacity to use these materials to enable learners to read, understand and think critically.

So far, 14 original titles have been published in the Reading Sierra Leone collection. These books were the result of professional development& workshops for local writers and illustrators, during which they learned how to produce high-quality children's reading materials. The books feature stories that speak to Sierra Leonean children, poetry, as well as informational text on topics such as transportation, food and animals.

The districts where CODE works, Port Loko and the western rural area of Freetown were hit hard by Ebola. As children transitioned back to school after several months of being housebound, the Reading Sierra Leone books awaited them in their classrooms – helping them to catch up on the education they missed during the crisis and providing the children with much-needed entertainment and hope for the future.

Country Stats

Capital: Freetown

Population: 6.092 million

Area: 71,740 km2

GDP (per capita): $12.8 billion

Languages: The official language in Sierra Leone is English, yet there are 22 other spoken languages including Mende, Temne, and Krio.

Literacy Rate: 67.6%

Literacy Rate for Women: 59.3%

Literacy Rate for Men: 75.8%

Out-of-school Rate: 21% of school-aged children do not attend school

Where We Work: Port Loko District

Did you Know?

In Sierra Leone, 41.9 percent of the population is just 14 years old or younger – making basic education a priority for the future of the country.

Recent News and Stories

Rewriting the Story for Literacy in West AfricaSep 03, 2015When the Ebola crisis hit West Africa, Michael Weah, the Executive Director of CODE’s Liberian partner the WE-CARE Foundation, didn’t ask for surgical masks or a medical outpost. He asked for books. ...read full article...
Back to School in Sierra LeoneSep 02, 20151.8 million children are returning to school in Sierra Leone. For nine months they stayed home in an effort to control the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus which claimed more than 3,950 lives in the country. ...read full article...
Ebola and the Lost Children of Sierra LeoneNov 20, 2014...read full article...
Illustrators Wrap Up Work on New Reading Sierra Leone BooksJun 04, 2014From May 21st to 28th, a group of illustrators gathered in Freetown, Sierra Leone for the fifth workshop offered by CODE and facilitated by A....read full article...


Our Programs

Reading Sierra Leone

Our Partners

PEN Sierra Leone


TALLE logo
(The Association of Language and Literacy Educators)

Photos From the Field

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