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close this bookWater Sanitation Case Studies and Analyses (Peace Corps)
close this folderRepublic of Sierra Leone
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People

In 1980, the estimated population of Sierra Leone was 3.5 million, with 42 percent under age 15, and an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent.

The Indigenous population of Sierra Leone is comprised of 18 ethnic groups. The Temne in the north and the Mende in the south are the largest of these groups. About 600,000 persons are members of a group called the Krios. In addition, there are about 5,000 Europeans and Asians.

English is the official language; however, Krio, Mende, Temne, and nine other indigenous languages are spoken.

The various groups of Sierra Leoneans have been noted for educational achievement, trading activity, entrepreneurial skills, and art and craftwork-particularly woodcarving. Many are part of larger ethnic networks extending Into several countries, which helps to link West African states In this area.