CARE began work in Sierra Leone in 1961, initially focusing on school food programs to improve children’s nutrition. Currently, CARE supports a youth-led network to end female genital mutilation, and is a partner with several organizations that combat gender-based violence.
A big chunk of CARE’s work in the West African nation is focused on improving sexual and reproductive health for women by supporting the national health system through providing medical supplies and modern contraceptive methods, as well as providing training to health service providers, in order to promote quality services.
CARE also works with communities to change harmful social norms that prevent women and girls from accessing their sexual and reproductive health rights. CARE places a special emphasis on strengthening women’s access to and awareness of their sexual and reproductive health rights and HIV and AIDS prevention within communities, increasing the availability of quality information and sexual and reproductive health services, taking into account the different gender needs and sensitivities, while in parallel working with stakeholders and communities to strengthen mechanisms that will improve sexual and reproductive health services and facilities to adolescent girls and vulnerable women. CARE’s sexual and reproductive health program is present in about 30 percent of the communities in Sierra Leone, prioritizing implementation in districts with a high HIV burden and high rates of teenage pregnancy.
CARE also works to build upon the investments made under the Post-Ebola Recovery of Health Services (PERHS) program in order to sustain the facility, its systems, equipment and community in specific districts and works to enhance women’s economic empowerment through skills development.