Ebola is having a devastating effect on development projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia and the economies of the countries. "The impact on some activities have been simply catastrophic," says Rocco Falconer, CEO of Planting Promise, a Sierra Leone charity.
Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, was convicted today of 11 counts of war crimes -- including terrorism, murder, rape, enslavement and child conscription -- during the 11-year civil war in Sierra Leone that killed an estimated 50,000 people. The verdict handed down by the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone was the first against a former head of state by an international court since the Nuremberg trials.
Officials in Sierra Leone and Liberia are turning to technology and local fisherman to combat illegal fishing. Sierra Leone has unveiled a high-tech monitoring system to track the locations and names of vessels, while Liberia is handing out smartphones to coastal communities to take and transmit geo-tagged images to government authorities.
Interviewers are spending months, and sometimes years, in some the world's most dangerous conflict zones in order to listen to victims of war recount their experiences. In a two-part series focusing on rape as a tool of war, interviewers speak, too, of their experiences, in hopes that their work can not only steer foreign policy, but help heal emotional wounds.
In Liberia, where rape surpasses even armed robbery as the most reported crime -- and some 40% of all victims are under the age of 12 -- women are attempting to reverse a legacy of discrimination and abuse, in part, with the assistance of UN Women. "The biggest challenge is education for women and it is the biggest tool for empowerment, and that's what we are trying to address," said Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first woman to be elected president in an African country.