Today I will travel to Sierra Leone with Save the Children.
Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world with serious problems to address; a child born in Sierra Leone can expect to live no longer than 47 years; three quarters of the population lives on less than $2.00 a day and more than a third of the adult population is illiterate. Though there has been progress, the important achievements made in the country remain fragile and need to be consolidated to address root causes and longer term development challenges
On my visit I will visit poor areas in Freetown. I will meet with healthworkers and women and children who have benefited from the decision to make healthcare for pregnant women and children under 5 free. I will also meet campaigners against Female Genital Mutilation and with representatives from the Ministry of Health.
Sierra Leone is rich in mineral resources and the people in Sierra Leone must benefit from the wealth beneath their feet. That requires greater transparency. I will visit a mine and meet local communities and campaigners for greater transparency, from companies and governments, about tax payments.
I will meet with women parliamentarians at an event hosted by the British Council.
Many of my constituents are of Sierra Leonean origin.