PMC began working in Sierra Leone in January 2009. Sierra Leone has 6.2 million people and its current growth rate would double the population in 34 years.
PMC has broadcast a number of radio serial dramas in Sierra Leone, including the most recent Saliwansai (“Puppet On a String”). PMC’s dramas have been incredibly popular and effective in Sierra Leone. Saliwansai listeners were 3.1 times more likely than non-listeners to say that you can decrease your chance of getting AIDS by using a condom every time you have sex. Listeners were also 2.9 times more likely than non-listeners to say that they knew where they could get a condom if they wanted.
From 1991 until 2002, Sierra Leone fought a devastating civil war killing tens of thousands of people and ruining the country’s infrastructure, particularly its health services. In Sierra Leone, the maternal mortality ratio is reported to be the highest in the world at 2,100 deaths per 100,000 live births. The dangers of giving birth combined with the total fertility rate of five children per woman, one of the highest in the world, put many women in peril. This is one of many factors that contribute to the lowest life expectancy in the world: 38 years.
Physical and sexual violence against women and children, particularly girls, in Sierra Leone is extreme. A study conducted in 2007 found that 84.7 percent of women reported abusive language, 83.5 percent reported beating, 79.9 percent report and rape or attempted rape. Forced sex, the fear and the real risk of violence impact virtually every aspect of women’s lives. UNICEF identifies this sexual violence as one of the reasons HIV, which is relatively low compared to other African countries, is on the rise in women in Sierra Leone.