SOS Children's Villages in Sierra Leone, a long-term partner of the national government, was approached by the authorities already during the war years in 1996, with the request to extend its activities and to establish a third village. After thoroughly studying different sites the provincial town Makeni, situated in the Bomabil District of the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, about a hundred and sixty kilometres from Freetown, was chosen as the new location. In 2007, the SOS Children's Village Makeni including an SOS Kindergarten and an SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School started to operate.
Makeni is a historical town from medieval times and was founded by the Temne tribe. Currently, it has a total population of a hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, of which more than 60 % are children below the age of 14. People mainly live from subsistence agriculture, small trading activities and diamond exploitation. During the war Makeni was a centre for rebels and the war left a lot of childrenyouths behind: street children, child soldiers, abducted girls with babies, etc. Several NGOs currently provide nutritional and basic health programmes. SOS Children's Villages intends to focus on the abandoned and orphaned children who are on their own.
The number of these children was estimated at approx. 200, but will certainly increase due to migration to the city. Makeni was destroyed by the rebels during the periods of the war, as it was a rebel stronghold, however, quite some rebuilding is taking place. Makeni only disposes of two medical centres (small clinics). All schools are run by the public sector with very poor standards (overcrowded, lack of school material, lack of books, etc.). The postal service is functioning reasonably well.
The SOS Children's Village is located at the Makama village which is about forty kilometres from the centre of Makeni, not very far from the Makeni Teachers College, known as the Northern Polytechnic and a stone throw from the main highway leading to the Eastern Province. It occupies a land of about 10.2 acres which was donated by the local authorities. The SOS Children's Village Makeni comprises twelve family houses, a staff quarter, a guest house, a SOS Kindergarten, a SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School, a Village Director's house, a laundry room, a generator house and an administrative block.