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Sierra Leone’s 2023 Elections: THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND CIVIC SPACE

May 18, 2023

On June 24 2023, 3,374,2581, eligible voters will assemble, across Sierra Leone to elect their next president, parliament and local councils. This will happen at a time when Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Gross national income per capita is just $ 472 U.S.D2, and over 89% of the population domiciles below the national poverty stripe.Unfortunately, since the restoration of multiparty elections in 1991, incumbency advantage, corruption and absence of inclusive political institutions have characterised the various administrations and political regimes in Sierra Leone. It is not surprising, then, that elections is highly valued, a source of conflict, and politically important.This research examines Sierra Leone's June 24 2023 general elections in the context of COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shrinking of civic space, and provides evidenced-based findings to inform policies and strategies to address the ruinous impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shrinking of civic space on Sierra Leone's June 24 2023 presidential, parliamentary and local council elections

CTAP Final Report: The COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Journey So Far

May 1, 2023

The pandemic has both exacerbated and exposed existing health sector challenges across the world. During the second phase of the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), partners across 9 African countries utilized the multiple challenges of the crisis as a window of opportunity to advance health policy priorities.The organizations leading the CTAP work on the ground pivoted to create inclusive platforms for citizens to be informed and heard at the grassroots level, build coalitions with other CSOs to have greater collective impact, and call on governments for change through advocacy, and increasingly, collaboration to design and implement better policies going forward.This report provides a brief overview of what we did and what we learned, illustrative snapshots from each CTAP partner country, as well as insights into cross-country collaboration and the way forward. Together with our partners CODE and BudgIT, Global Integrity has helped to facilitate the CTAP journey since 2020 and served as a learning partner for the implementing organizations in Africa.

COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP): Lesson Report

September 1, 2022

COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) is an initiative that seeks to promote accountability and transparency through the tracking of COVID-19 intervention funds across 7 African countries – Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone. This learning report explores its first phase.

Forgotten by Funders

December 1, 2021

This report highlights the underfunding of work with and for imprisoned and formerly imprisoned women and girls,  alongside a worrying increase in the global female prison population. The report draws from the survey responses of 34 organisations, most of which are based in the Global South and have women with lived experience of the justice system involved with or leading their work. Calling to donors that fund human rights, women's rights and/or access to justice, the report concludes that this heavily gendered area of human rights tends to fall through the cracks of donor strategies, including recent Gender Equality Forum pledges. 

The State of Out-of-School Girls in Sierra Leone: Findings Across Six Districts

October 13, 2021

The Girls' Circles baseline survey affirmed what we know – that girls' lives in Sierra Leone, especially those who are out of school, are characterised by multiple hardships: little to no education; the ubiquity of transactional sex; teen pregnancy; and everyday violence. Whilst little of this will be new for those who know Sierra Leone, the scale of these issues (which are likely to be under reported) is shocking, as is their everyday nature – girls struggling, for example, to identify violence where it is simply part of the fabric of their daily lives.This report was born out of a recognition that all of this rich data is available and should be shared with the world, particularly given the relative rarity of girls' voices being foregrounded in the Sierra Leonean context. It presents an opportunity for a 'state of the nation' summary about the lives of girls who are often most marginalised in Sierra Leone, and the findings are grounded in what girls themselves and their mentors are telling us about their lives.The availability of this nuanced data and verbatim accounts has enabled the report to go beyond the simplified or binary narratives often presented about girls, to present the realities of their lives, in their words. We hope this provides deep insight into their experiences and what lies behind these, as well as the possibilities for positive change.

The State of Out-of-School Girls in Sierra Leone: Findings Across Six Districts - Executive Summary

October 13, 2021

The Girls' Circles baseline survey affirmed what we know – that girls' lives in Sierra Leone, especially those who are out of school, are characterised by multiple hardships: little to no education; the ubiquity of transactional sex; teen pregnancy; and everyday violence. Whilst little of this will be new for those who know Sierra Leone, the scale of these issues (which are likely to be under reported) is shocking, as is their everyday nature – girls struggling, for example, to identify violence where it is simply part of the fabric of their daily lives.This report was born out of a recognition that all of this rich data is available and should be shared with the world, particularly given the relative rarity of girls' voices being foregrounded in the Sierra Leonean context. It presents an opportunity for a 'state of the nation' summary about the lives of girls who are often most marginalised in Sierra Leone, and the findings are grounded in what girls themselves and their mentors are telling us about their lives.The availability of this nuanced data and verbatim accounts has enabled the report to go beyond the simplified or binary narratives often presented about girls, to present the realities of their lives, in their words. We hope this provides deep insight into their experiences and what lies behind these, as well as the possibilities for positive change.

A Synthesised Report on the Impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic on Civil Society Organisations in West Africa

July 5, 2021

This report presents a synthesis of the findings on the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic on civil society organisations (CSOs) in West Africa, with particular focus on Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. In particular, the report document show the COVID-19 pandemic has affected CSOs' operations, funding prospects and relationships with donors and stakeholders. Given that CSOs are agile actors with an agency, this report further analyses' strategic responses for mitigating the effects of the pandemic in ensuring their short-term survival and long-term sustainability. The findings, therefore, present data-based evidence to inform stakeholders' engagement with West African CSOs.The implications of the findings for policy and practice are further discussed.The findings in this study are informed by a sequential explanatory mixed-method design which involves first collecting and analysing the quantitative data followed by qualitative data. As part of the quantitative phase of this study, a survey questionnaire was administered to 313 CSOs across the six countries (i.e., Cameroon – 36 CSOs; The Gambia-16 CSOs; Ghana-86CSOs; Liberia-27 CSOs; Nigeria-80 CSOs; and SierraLeone-68 CSOs) between June and July 2020. Following the quantitative data administration and analysis,6 focus group discussions were conducted with 48 CSOs who first participated in the quantitative phase between July and September 2020. Additional, key informant interviews were conducted as part of the data collection in each country. The final analysis in this report integrated the quantitative and qualitative data, which provided nuanced perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on CSOs' in West Africa. 

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Civil Society Organisations in Sierra Leone

March 30, 2021

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has plagued Sierra Leone since March 2020. Since the first reported case on 31 March 2020, the number of confirmed cases has increased to 1, 947, with 1, 502 recovered, and 69 deaths as of 14 August 2020 (NACOVERC, Daily Media Update 2020). The pandemic has affected every facet of Sierra Leonean society, including the civil society sector. Some civil society organisations (CSOs) closed their offices and cancelled operations, programmes and project activities in communities either because of loss of funding, increased organisational costs or restriction of staff' movements.However, while some organisations adopt a work-from-home policy, many more CSOs are struggling in this transition. This is mainly either because these organisations do not have in place policies to work remotely or lack the required resources and capacity including computers and internet connectivity to work remotely.

YOUTH PARTICIPATORY GRANT-MAKING IN SIERRA LEONE: LESSONS FROM THE TAR KURA INITIATIVE

March 22, 2021

For nearly twenty years, the Fund for Global Human Rights has been a vocal champion of participatory philanthropy. We provide flexible general support that allows local groups to define and lead their own agendas. Fund grantees identify their priorities and approach and collaborate with program staff on defining measures of progress toward their intended outcomes.To us, participatory grant-making—which empowers affected communities to decide what and who to fund—is a further step in shifting power to grantees and movements.In 2019, the Fund partnered with Purposeful, a feminist movement-building hub for adolescent girls, to pilot a participatory grant-making initiative in Sierra Leone aimed at promoting youth leadership and amplifying the voices of young people.As our first foray into realizing the potential of participatory grant-making, this experience taught us many valuable lessons about how to foster genuine participation of children and young people.A targeted and intentional approach to reach a diverse group of children and youth is essential. This helps prevent a participatory process that only benefits young people in urban areas and those from higher socio-economic backgrounds.We also learned that true participation requires letting go of power while ensuring that young people have what they need to make meaningful and informed decisions. Support to child and youth-led groups should go beyond grant money to include a comprehensive package of grantee-led learning and accompaniment.The biggest lesson is about the need to be open and flexible throughout the process. Being willing to adapt as we went along allowed us to respond and make changes (almost) in real time. It also allowed us to learn from the young people about what it means to use your voice and make yourself heard in ways far beyond what we could have anticipated.

Reducing Abortion Stigma: Global Achievements since 2014

February 10, 2021

Abortion stigma affects everyone: individuals, communities and service providers. Young women and adolescent girls bear the brunt of abortion stigma. It causes delays in people seeking abortion and stops others from accessing it, leading to unintended pregnancies. Stigma drives abortion underground, where it is more likely to be unsafe.Since 2014, the support of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation has enabled IPPF to reduce abortion stigma affecting young people around the world, working directly with Member Associations in six countries (Bénin, Burkina Faso, India, Pakistan, Ghana and Nepal). Meaningful youth participation has ensured that young people's lived experiences were central in every aspect of this work. This project has also supported smaller ground-breaking youth-led projects in 14 different countries: Albania, Colombia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Macedonia, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Puerto Rico, Sierra Leone, Spain, Tanzania and Venezuela.This document highlights the achievements and learnings from the Abortion Stigma Project between 2014 and 2020, including case studies, research and evidence generated around abortion stigma, and popular resources and tools developed throughout the project, and more.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Contain COVID-19 in Sierra Leone

April 20, 2020

On April 11, the Republic of Sierra Leone marked the start of a fourteen days inter-district lockdown (from 11 to 24 April 2020) to combat the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic in the country.The fourteen days inter-district lockdown is a significant milestone. It refers to the incubation period – 14 days – of the virus, as stipulated by the World Health Organization. If Sierra Leoneans show the maximum compliance to all social distancing regulations, it will be a remarkable turnaround for the Republic of Sierra Leone and a testament to the bravery and dedication of health workers, some of whom have been infected with the virus while treating the sick.Sierra Leone as of Friday, 17 April 2020 has recorded 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a total of 531 in mandatory quarantine homes. This number keeps rising. The very first Coronavirus case was documented in Sierra Leone on 31 March and it involved a 37-year-old man who arrived in the country from France on an Air Brussels flight on the 16 March. Once she tested positive, she was immediately put into quarantine.  It is prudent that the government has introduced social-distancing rules of varying strictness to combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, but, the question of how long these measures should remain in place has sparked vigorous debate. Many economists and psychologists have warned that a lengthy period of de facto home detention will damage people's financial and mental health, while epidemiologists argue that maintaining lockdowns will help to flatten the contagion curve more quickly. Policymakers designing measures to inform the countries' response to COVID-19 would have to take both views into account – a challenging dilemma and dire reality!

Transparency is more than dollars and cents: An examination of informational needs for aid spending in Sierra Leone and Liberia

August 22, 2017

Transparency in international aid is not just about fulfilling a requirement based on people's right to access information, but also about making aid more effective. Transparency can help improve coordination and planning, enable accountability, and build trust. Accomplishing these goals can be a challenge when there are many partners involved in channeling funds through a complicated web of service delivery without clear public information explaining who did what where.This research looks at the information needed by in-country development stakeholders with an emphasis on accountability actors including civil society organizations, charities, government workers, and the media. To collect this information, semi-structured interviews were conducted in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The majority of interviewees wanted information about financial resources and the channels they flowed through, and all respondents wanted information on the services provided and where the work was happening subnationally, suggesting that these two sets of information may be the most important. Unfortunately, information on subnational locations and services provided is infrequently available through open aid data portals, implying a need to update what aid information is shared.