Over 450 to Attend Evangelical Students Conference in Sierra Leone

The International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) is currently holding the 19th Sierra Leone national conference in Sierra Leone.

At the conference organized by the Sierra Leone Fellowship of Evangelical Students (SLEFES). student delegates discuss seminar topics about marriage and family life, HIV/AIDS, sex and sexuality; academic excellence.

According to a 2005 report from the public CIA-fact book, Sierra Leone continues to cope with problems involving poverty, street violence, arms-trafficking, ethnic tensions, and refugee problems associated with fighting in neighboring countries.

It is not clear how many Sierra Leoneans are infected with AIDS/HIV. In a 2002 joint-survey conducted by the nation’s government and U.S.-based Center of Disease and Control (CDC), the overall AIDS/HIV prevalence rate was estimated to be about 0.9 percent of the total adult population. Nonetheless, major organizations including UNICEF have estimated the AIDS/HIV prevalence rate to be much higher due to the inaccessibility of several key, but politically unstable, regions.

"Corruption and mismanagement along with nine years of brutal rebel war have brought our country to this deplorable state," said Davidson Scott, former SLEFES General Secretary. "Even so, SLEFES ministry is progressing steadily with pioneering work in some institutions."

He added, "Students are involved in one-to-one evangelism, friendship evangelism, tract distribution, open-air crusades, drama and other creative evangelistic activities."

In the past years, SLEFES has been involved with evangelism activities such as "Operation Faith in Action" last year. In March 2004, SLEFES evangelized in Bumpeh, under the same project, with 200 people professing their faith.

In Malama, western Sierra Leone, over 60 students and new-alumni involved themselves with door-to-door evangelism.

Sierra Leone currently has a Muslim-majority comprising of 60 percent of the total population while Christians form only 10 percent.

"We want to help students develop a strong foundation for their future and for the future development of Sierra Leone," SLEFES General Secretary Francis L T William wrote in an IFES announcement.

The conference, which began yesterday and runs through Aug. 29, is expected to draw no less than 450 students and IFES associates.