Population: 6.1 million (2012)
Official language: English
Major religions: Islam, Christianity
IFES movement: Sierra Leone Fellowship of Evangelical Students (SLEFES)
Sierra Leone is a nation blessed in natural resources but remains one of the poorest countries in the world because of greed and institutional corruption. The civil war which lasted 11 years until 2002 had a devastating effect which is still being felt today. Yet the country is slowly recovering with signs of development across the country.
Sierra Leone has a predominantly Muslim population, with an influential Christian minority. There is religious tolerance across the country.
- 37 university and college campuses across the country
- 7 full-time, 1 volunteer staff
- graduate ministry in Freetown, with plans to expand
- largest student group at Fourah Bay College (270 members)
- smallest group at REAPS Vocational School (between 20 – 30 members)
SLEFES is the oldest campus ministry in Sierra Leone; they have developed credibility over the years and university authorities trust them. Student groups are increasing in size. There is greater need for discipleship since many churches have neglected this crucial aspect of the Christian life. Recognising this need for discipleship, SLEFES has given more training to the young staff team.
One unique mission and rural development strategy of SLEFES is the Kingdom Service Scheme. KSS has existed for over 20 years but it has now been restructured and will send out a team of eight missionaries to the four regions of the country in 2014.
There are several obstacles to ministry. The prosperity gospel and lack of support of the local church are challenges to discipleship and weaken student motivation to engage in personal Bible study. Local resource mobilisation is also a huge challenge. There is no culture of supporting para-church ministries, but the movement continues to seek creative ways of local fund development.
- for stronger relationships with churches;
- for sustainable funding to be raised locally;
- for more staff to equip and support student leaders;
- for a stronger graduate ministry across the country.