Sierra Leone: Pujehun District Profile (04 December 2015)
Context: Pujehun district is in the Southern Province and third largest district in the country. It borders the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest, the Republic of Liberia to the southeast, Kenema district to the northeast, Bo district to the north and Bonthe district to the west. The town of Pujehun is the capital of the district. The other major towns are Gandorhun, Zimmi, Gendema, Masam, Bomi and Potoru. Twelve chiefdoms of the district are Mano Sakrim, Soro Gbema, Kpaka, Makpele, Yakemu Kpukumu Krim, Gallines Perri, Malen, Barri, Sowa, Pejeh and Kpanga Kagonde. The population is predominantly Muslim mainly belonging to the Mende ethnic group. Pujehun was destroyed during the country’s civil war, and thirteen years after the end of the war, it still visibly carries the marks of war.
Population distribution : The district population is composed of 19% children under 5 years of age, 28% of children aged between 5 and 14 years and 49% are in the age group of 15-64 years which is the active workforce. It appears that the number of females is higher compared to the male population across all age groups. The district has one of the lowest population densities in the country. The majority of the population (87%) is living in the rural areas. The average family size is 6.2 persons.
Livelihood and Economy: Diamond mining is a major economic activity ; a number of internationally owned mining corporations are operating in the district. These companies are the major employers in the district for both skilled and unskilled labor in the mining industry. Mining activities were severely hampered during and even after the district’s EVD outbreak, adversely affecting the livelihoods of those engaged in the mining operations. In recent years, the government has been leasing14 large land areas to foreign investors for the development of commercial plantations of palm oil. The agricultural production of root crops is cassava and sweet potato, with cash crops being coffee and cacao. Pujehun is one the country’s poorest and least developed districts.