Sierra Leone: Freetown Receives International Support to Help Migrants Amid Covid-19

18 January 2021

The city of Freetown has become one of five across the world to receive an award to help it expand a waste-management scheme aimed at helping young people in informal settlements to make a living and improve public health amid the challenges of Covid-19.

The award has been announced by the Mayors Migration Council, a U.S.-based advisory body led by an international board of mayors, which helps cities to develop policies for coping with the migration and displacement of people.

On January 7, the council launched a "Global Cities Fund for Inclusive Pandemic Response", which it described as a $1 million initiative to provide direct financial and technical support to cities so they can assist migrants, refugees and internally displaced people during the current pandemic.

In the news release announcing the award, António Vitorino, the director general of the International Organization for Migration, stressed the importance of city authorities making provision for migrants.

"Covid-19 has a disproportionate impact on people on the move, most of whom live in urban areas," he said. "Mayors and cities have shown us that exclusion is costly in the long-run whereas inclusion pays off for everyone."

Welcoming the council's support, Freetown mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said all the city's residents had a role to play in helping the city come out of the pandemic "more equitable, more sustainable, and more prepared for the future."

She added: "Freetown belongs to everyone who has chosen this city as their home."

The other cities to receive an award are in Colombia, Lebanon, Mexico and Peru.

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