Sierra Leone: Port Loko District Profile (29 December 2015)
Port Loko district is in the Northern Province, and is the fourth most populous district in the country. Port Loko borders the Western Area to the west, Kambia district to the North, Bombali district to the East and Tonkolili district to the South. The 11 chiefdoms of the district are Bureh Kasseh Makonteh (BKM), Buya Romende, Dibia, Kaffu Bullom, Koya, Lokomasama, Maforki, Marampa, Masimera, Sanda Magbolontor, and Tinkatupa Makonteh Safroko (TMS). Lunsar is the district’s largest Town, and other major towns are Masiaka, Rokupr, Lungi, Gbinti and Port Loko town. The population is predominantly Muslim (80%) and the largest ethnic group is Temne. According to the projected population 2014, the average household size is 7 people per family.
Population distribution: The population distribution by age group and gender (see table) indicates that 49% of the district population are of working age. 29% of the population is children in the 5-11 years age group, according to Population and Household Census 2004, and many of them, particularly in rural areas, are engaged in domestic or other forms of labor/economic activities. According to the projected population statistics , some 18% of the district population is below 5 years old. Almost 89%4 live in the district’s rural areas.
Livelihood and Economy: Production of food crops, such as rice, cassava and sweet potato, are the main livelihood sources for over 80% of the population. Small scale mining also takes place. The city of Port Loko is a major trade center in the Northern Province. The areas around Port Loko are known for bauxite mining. The London Mining Company, which operates iron-ore mining in Lunsar and Marampa, is a major employer in the area. The global demand for bauxite and iron-ore slowed down recently, and this coupled with falling prices in the international market, has negatively impacted the employment sector in the mining industry. To a lesser extent, some people are engaged in cash crop production, such as coffee and cocoa. During 2013-14, the London Mining Company, jointly with the Cotton Tree Foundation, Sierra Leone, implemented a USD 115,000 agricultural project supporting the youth groups of Marampa and Mafroki chiefdoms. Hiring labor and exchange workers are seasonal activities during the plantation and harvesting season from which the farming communities generate income. Due to EVD outbreak, in 2014 that income was lost as the number of hired labor and exchange workers during the season was reduced by 29% compared to 2013. The Wealth Index (WI)4 indicates that 26% of the district population falls into the poorest quintile, while 33% fall under a medium poor rating. Port Loko has the second highest portion of households (59%) in the two poorest quintiles.
Education: According to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology’s (MEST) school census in 2013, there are 687 schools in the district, of which 39 are pre-primary, 512 are primary, 111 are junior secondary, and 25 are senior secondary schools. Port Loko has the second highest number of schools in the country after Freetown City. The MEST recorded an increase of 30 schools (17 pre-primary, 6 junior and 7 senior high schools) in 2012-13 session compared to that of 2011-12. The majority (63%) of the schools are missionary, community or private schools, with the remaining 27% government schools.
The net primary enrollment rate is 57.5%. Educational attainment is higher among boys compared to girls in all three school levels (see graph aside). The average teacher-student ratio for the district is 1:47. The overall literacy rate is 32%. The Port Loko Teacher's College is one of the oldest and best known colleges in Sierra Leone.