Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 July 2018:
In 2016 Sierra Leone was classed at 179 out of 188 countries – just nine points from the bottom of the Global Human Development Index.
With a population of about 7 million people, 31% of children between the age of 6 months and 59 months are suffering from chronic malnutrition, according to the latest report by the World Food Programme (WFP).
WFP is one of the international agencies helping to tackle or cushion the effects of extreme poverty in Sierra Leone, caused by low economic growth, massive unemployment, low taxation base, over-reliance on mining export, government mismanagement and corruption.
So how are these agencies performing? This is the latest report by WFP on its activities in Sierra Leone:
Sierra Leone is a low-income and food-deficit country.
Poverty levels are high, with 53 percent of the population living below the income poverty line (USD 1.90 per day).
The country is recovering from the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak which ended in 2016.
The economy is supported primarily by subsistence agriculture, which employs over 60 percent of the population and accounts for almost half of GDP.
According to the 2015 Population and Housing Census, 49 percent of the economically active population are women, and slightly more women (52 percent) than men are engaged in agriculture.
Gender inequalities have decreased, but remain significant in some sectors; Sierra Leone ranks 151 out of 159 countries assessed on the Gender Inequality Index. About 51 percent of adult men and women are literate.
Enrolment rate for primary education (year 1-6) stands at 72 percent, while completion with pass rate in all core subjects at the end of junior secondary school (year 7-9) was 47 percent in 2011.
Attendance and enrolment of children beyond primary school remains low.
WFP has been present in the country since 1968.
To ensure that the basic food and nutrition needs of disaster-affected populations are met, WFP distributed food to a total of 1,500 individuals belonging to 258 households in five communities affected by fire in Pujehun and Moyamba districts, windstorm in Kenema district and post-election violence in Kailahun district.
Through Ecobank, WFP Sierra Leone provided food assistance for two months in the form of cash to 128 mudslide and flood-affected households in Freetown.
Cash-based transfers allow the beneficiaries greater flexibility in buying the food of their choice.
WFP has completed the Seasonal Livelihood Programming (SLP) report for Pujehun district and shared it with the district council.
The SLP provides the foundations for planning to recover quickly from shocks, bringing together local needs and experiences so that multi-sectoral programmes and interventions can be coordinated, planned, and delivered.
Vulnerable smallholder farmers in Port Loko, Moyamba and Pujehun districts benefited from agricultural tools through an NGO, Building Resources Across Communities, to undertake the first multiplication of orange fleshed sweet potato, yellow cassava and short duration rice seed for onward distribution to targeted farmers for cultivation and consumption.
This is part of efforts to train farmers in improved agronomic practices for nutrition-dense crops and nutrition awareness raising.
WFP signed a field-level agreement with Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) Sierra Leone to implement a FFA-supported project to multiply nutritionally rich orange fleshed sweet potato and yellow cassava (January–July 2018). The project will target 7,650 beneficiaries
- There are challenges in reconciling data in Logistics Execution Support System (LESS) and COMET, the tool for programme design, implementation, monitoring and performance management due to delay in submission of reports by partners.
- Screening and admission into the targeted supplementary feeding programme are still a challenge resulting in inclusion and exclusion errors. WFP conducted refresher and on the job trainings at chiefdom level for both monitors and Peripheral Health Unit staff.
WFP is funded by the following donors: Japan, Republic of Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, European Commission, Multilateral Canada, United Arab Emirates, South Africa.