This pilot survey presents a snapshot of the situation in and around urban areas of Sierra Leone for persons with disabilities. It corroborates many of the assumptions held about the lives of persons with disabilities – such as the higher degree of unemployment, limited social participation, difficulty in accessing health care and greater levels of violence and abuse. It also shows low levels of confidence and aspiration among disabled people, such as the many who doubt the value of education for their future.
Presenting a comprehensive profile of Sierra Leoneans with disabilities is a fundamental step towards identifying the challenges that lie ahead for policies and programs. It is particularly timely as the government of Sierra Leone has recently ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is in the process of drafting a National Disability Act.
Gathering data on income, employment, education, health, livelihoods, vulnerability, and poverty provides the necessary information to assist with policy formulation and strategic planning. Evidence-based knowledge and the participation of people with disabilities are vital to the design of equitable and inclusive policies and strategies for Sierra Leone. It is
hoped that the findings of this report, by highlighting the current status and opinions of persons with disabilities as well as identifying some of the gaps in service provision, provide useful information to all those who campaign for the rights of disabled people in Sierra Leone within both government and civil society.