When Street Child’s work began in Sierra Leone in 2008, it was the poorest nation in the world. Today, children continue to face significant barriers to learning and many children never complete elementary school, leaving without foundational literacy and numeracy skills. Street Child’s research has shown that poverty continues to be the primary barrier to education, often alongside social barriers including loss of a caregiver, teenage pregnancy, parental attitudes to education, and poor teaching quality.  
Without intervention, children risk getting stuck in a cycle of illiteracy and poverty. Street Child works to tackle this disadvantage by empowering communities to transform the quality of elementary education provision. 



Of children do not continue their education after elementary school


Children are out of school


Of women aged 15-49 are illiterate

what we are doing

Street Child has an established nationwide presence in every province and works alongside families and communities to overcome barriers to learning. Together with our local partner we have increased access to quality basic education for more than 232,000 children nationwide


The Education For Every Child Today (EFECT) program is Street Child’s largest to date. This is a four-year project in partnership with Educate A Child (EAC), a global program of the Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, supported by the Qatar Fund for Development. The EFECT program aims to get 96,000 out-of-school children back into school full-time in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.


In Sierra Leone specifically, the goal is to increase access to - and the ability to stay in - elementary education for 40,500 vulnerable children across the country. To guarantee that program effects are long-lasting, the initiative will also support teacher training and professional development as well as strengthening the livelihoods of parents and caregivers. 

Innovating education

Street Child is part of the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge, funded by the Education Outcomes Fund, which aims to reach 134,000 children across 62 schools.  


There will be 4 key pillars to this project:  

  • Individualized student support focusing on inclusive and gender-responsive work, and tailoring social support for students at risk of dropping out.  

  • Centering lessons and teaching around the students, meaning that students will be grouped according to level rather than age.  

  • Supporting strong school leadership by training teachers and principals.  

  • Promoting shared school ownership between parents, teachers, principals and students, to ensure safe, secure and sufficient learning environments. 

Supporting children, families and schools

Just one of the models that Street Child uses is our award-winning  Family Business for Education’, which addresses individual social and financial barriers to education for the most vulnerable categories of children, including street-connected children, teenage mothers and children affected by disability. To date more than 34,000 families have been supported to develop a sustainable source of income through a tailored package of training, business grants and saving/mentoring. This model of financial empowerment, alongside intensive social support and community level advocacy, has led to the enrolment and retention in school of more than 67,000 children, who otherwise would have little opportunity to complete basic education. 

Teaching at the right level

Another key component of Street Child’s intervention is using the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) methodology in schools in Sierra Leone. During TaRL lessons children are taught in groups based on ability to ensure that a child's learning needs are prioritized over their age or grade. This model is proven to accelerate children's foundational literacy and numeracy skills. Teachers receive TaRL training to ensure they can continue with TaRL lessons and train further teachers in the methodology after program-end. In 2019, Street Child became the first - and to date only - organization to deliver TaRL in 200 schools in Sierra Leone. 

Income generation

We ensure the sustainability of education in each community by supporting schools to generate their onw income, so they can afford the upkeep of the school and to pay teachers a living wage. We do this through social enterprises such as seed banks, whereby seeds, peanuts or rice are loaned to the community for farming at preferential rates. Excess seeds are then returned to the school to be sold at market rate, and this profit is then used to pay teachers and for school repairs. In 2021 alone we set up 80 social enterprises like this in rural elementary schools.  

NEWS and media

IMPACT in sierra leone


Children reached across all programs


Adults reached, 7,744 of whom received business grants


Classrooms across 385 schools were supported with renovation or construction