Sierra Leone recorded its first Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case on 24th May 2014. By 7th November 2015, when the country was initially declared free from the EVD epidemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 8,000 people had been infected, resulting in more than 3,500 deaths and 4,000 survivors all over the country. On 31st July 2014, the President of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, declared a state of public health emergency that was maintained throughout the outbreak.
Several restrictive measures were accordingly adopted, including quarantine and banning of public gathering except for the ones related to Ebola sensitisation. This situation seriously impeded all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, and thus impacted the food security status of the population. Over 15,000 households were directly affected by the EVD and taken under weeks-long quarantines. In addition to loosing family members or surviving the virus, most of the directly affected households also lost their Income Generating Activities (IGAs) either as a result of stigmatisation, health impairment due to side effects of the EVD infection or even material loss of households’ goods (burnt after a case was identified in the household).
As part of its intervention in the Ebola and post Ebola context, Action Contre la Faim – Sierra Leone (ACF – SL) designed a project to address these needs, with the financial support from ECHO. The project, “Mitigating the dangers of localized food insecurity in Sierra Leone – Supporting the start or restart of income generating activities (IGAs) of EVD’s survivors’ households”, was implemented from July to December 2015. With the overall objective of addressing the problems of immediate food insecurity faced by directly EVD-affected communities, the project aimed at contributing to the livelihood recovery of these households by supporting them to start or restart IGAs at household level. The intervention was based on two main components including capacity building of the beneficiaries’ business development skills; and establishment of the IGAs through conditional cash transfer for the purchase of the necessary equipments.
After reviewing the humanitarian context, including the EVD outbreak impact on food security in Sierra Leone, this project case study takes you through the detailed rationale and implementation of the 2 components mentioned above, and presents its main impacts, challenges and lessons learnt.
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