Liberia has a poulation of approximately 4.6 million people and covers an area of 111.369 km². It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and Ivory Coast to its east and lies on the Atlantic Coast. The West African country has a long and turbulent history. The population consists of descendants from freed slaves from North America and the Caribbean as well as the original indigenous people. This ethnic mix leads today as well as then to conflict. Liberia declared its independence from the U.S.A. in the year 1847. English is the official language but there also exist 29 further languages depending upon the region and ethnicity (these are although oriented upon the English language). Religion plays a very important role in society and the majority of the people are Christian. The second largest group are Muslim. Parallel to these are in addition the presence of rituals and beliefs that originate from Voodoo and still play a significant role in their society today.
Liberia experienced a bloody and devastating civil war from 1989 to 2003. The effects of this war are present everywhere today. Some of these effects are apparent to the eye and others then when you dig deeper and interact with the population. They suffer from a lack of trust and the ever present fear that this could repeat itself. During the war, most investors from other countries quickly exited and have never returned. Liberia suffers from a very poor infrastructure. The country is rich on natural resources while at the same time has an endless number of people suffering from hunger and unemployment. Natural rubber is their most important export but also coffee and cocoa play an important role. Also to be named is the export of gold, diamonds, iron and precious wood. Most Liberians work in an agricultural field and plant things such as rice as a main component of their nutritional needs.Others try to earn their living fishing or for instance selling self-baked bread on the streets.
Forty two percent of the population is under 15 years old. The number of children lacking access to education is much higher in rural areas. In 2010 it was reported that 65.6% of the children between 5 and 14 had any acquired knowledge of reading and writing. In the villages the number was a catastrophic 38.5% (source: Report on the Liberia Labour Force Survey 2010, S. 16.).