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Sea Level Rise - Slum dwellers in Sierra Leone classroom resources



Through the video students are introduced to the slum of Kroo Bay, the reasons why people live there and the challenges that rising sea levels pose to the residents.

Key Issues

- The effect of sea level rise in LEDCs.
- Flooding caused by sea level rise and consequent risks to health.
- The vulnerability of people to environmental change in different places.
- Rural-urban migration and shanty towns/slums.


The Sierra Leone civil war (1991-2002) led to large numbers of people migrating from rural areas to the relative safety of the capital city Freetown on the coast. These people were mainly poor subsistence farmers and could only afford to build shacks on unwanted land in Freetown.  Kroo Bay is a large slum built right on the edge of the coast with no sea defences and is regularly flooded by high tides. The area has very limited sanitation facilities and polluted rivers and streams run through the area to the sea (they also often lead to flooding). The inhabitants are some of the poorest in Freetown but being near the city centre gives them a better opportunity to find work than if they lived in a safer but less central area of the city.



Starter Activities

  Listen to these Sierra Leonean students talk about climate change.  How do their views differ from your students' views?
  Display a photo montage of Kroo Bay and ask the students to describe Kroo Bay in their own words/make a list of adjectives to describe Kroo Bay and why it might be at risk from sea level change.


Enquiry Questions

 - Why is the sea level rising and causing flooding in Kroo Bay?
 - Why don’t the people move away from Kroo Bay? Is it better to live at risk of flood in Kroo Bay but be near to the city centre or move to the edge of the city?
 - Is there any connection between our lives and the people of Kroo Bay? How can the luxury lifestyles of people in one place can make life harder for people in another?
 - What are the dangers caused by sea-level rise to the people of Kroo Bay (flooding, health risk etc)? (answers questions on the worksheet)

Lesson Activities

The video throws up a number of different issues and could be incorporated into a variety of main lesson activities. Here are a few examples:

  • Identify the evidence for sea level change. Explain what are the natural and human causes of flooding in Kroo Bay (and other places). Watch the video and record the human and natural causes? (use the worksheet to answer the questions)
  • Consider how sea level rise will affect people differently depending on their vulnerability and capacity to adapt. Compare and contrast Kroo Bay with a coastal region in an MEDC.
  • Compare the slum of Kroo Bay to another shanty town e.g. a favellas in Rio? What are some of the similarities, what are some of the differences? Where would you rather live and why?
  • How could sea level rise affect the coast of Britain and how does this differ to the problems faced at Kroo Bay?
  • Identify the push and pull factors that lead people to leave the countryside, live in Kroo Bay and stay there.


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