In the village of Makonkonde in western Sierra Leone, Mabinti, who no longer knows her age, sits on a low wooden stool in the dappled shade of several palm trees. She clutches a solitary papaya fruit in hands toughened by a lifetime of hard manual work.
On a steamy, starless night in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, a teenager runs desperately down a potholed street before being violently brought to the ground by a bystander. As word spreads that a thief has been caught, young men come running from all directions.
The air is heavy with the smell of marijuana as Gibrilla (23) expertly rolls a large joint at the Members of Blood (M.O.B) gang base in a poor neighbourhood of Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
A coastal city, Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, is an area where people have relied on the ocean for food and employment for as long as they have lived there.
Only 38 women - of a total of 586 candidates - will contest parliamentary seats in Sierra Leone’s November elections, and the blame for this can be laid squarely on the shoulders of the current group of female lawmakers, according to Barbara Bangura, the director of the women’s organisation Grassroots Empowerment for Self Reliance.