Sierra Leone

National Recovery Strategy: Sierra Leone 2002 - 2003

Originally published



With Sierra Leone's destructive eleven-year conflict formally declared over in January 2002, the country is at last beginning the task of reconstruction, reconciliation and consolidation of peace. The challenge is enormous, as are the financial and human capacity constraints faced. However, with security and unhindered access to all parts of the country now enjoyed, government has joined with its international and national partners to make a concerted push towards recovery. This National Recovery Strategy, based on needs assessments conducted in every district in the country, provides a framework for these recovery efforts.

While certain vital cross cutting issues such as HIV/AIDS and preventive health, Youth, Gender and the Environment are acknowledged as important, the overall recovery strategy is broken down into four priority areas of intervention:

1. Restoration of State Authority;

2. Rebuilding Communities;

3. Peace Building and Human Rights; &

4. Restoration of the Economy.

In all of the key intervention areas of recovery, progress made to date is highlighted, target benchmarks to be achieved by the end of 2003 are set (unless a different completion date is specified) and general strategies for achieving these benchmarks are articulated. Where possible, geographical priorities are also highlighted, and the indicative financial requirements for achieving benchmarks are calculated.


1. District Administration and Councils

Tangible progress has been made over the past year in the deployment of key district officials; all District Officers are now in post and representatives to the District Councils are scheduled to be elected in 2003. Most representatives of line ministries have also returned to the districts, but all local government officials suffer from inadequate office facilities, logistical and staffing conditions.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Deployment of remaining district officials, including representatives of line ministries to all districts (by March).

  • Elections of District Councils completed and elected District Councils established (by June).
2. Sierra Leone Police

The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) have now deployed to all districts in the country, but despite recent rehabilitation of key infrastructure and retraining and re-equipping, their capacity is generally constrained by the destruction of most police stations, police posts and barracks throughout the country. A total of 700 new officers were recruited into the force in 2001-2002 and there are plans to recruit a further 1,000 officers in 2003.

Benchmark for 2003

  • Increased SLP strength from the current level of 6,500 to 7,500 (trained, equipped and deployed).
3. Courts

Despite considerable improvements made during this year, the extension of the judiciary throughout the country remains inadequate, held back by lack of court infrastructure, qualified judges, magistrates and court officers.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Justices of the Peace appointed for all districts.

  • Magistrates appointed and functioning Magistrate Courts established in all districts.
4. Prisons

Despite some progress being made this year, the majority of prisons in the country had been either destroyed or had sustained major damage during the last ten years, and substantial rehabilitation of facilities is required in all districts across the country.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Priority prisons rehabilitated in Kambia, Makeni, Bo and Koidu (by June).

  • Number of prison officers and personnel increased to 1,140, from current level of 790 .
5. Native Administration

Paramount or Regent (caretaker) Chiefs are now in post in every chiefdom in the country. However, despite the rehabilitation of 36 Court Barries to date, the extensive destruction of related infrastructure (including Court Barries and chiefdom lock-ups) continues to hamper the effectiveness of the native administration.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Elections completed to fill 63 vacant Paramount Chiefs positions (by January).

  • Training workshops conducted in all chiefdoms for Paramount Chiefs, local court chairmen and chiefdom police (by May).

  • Court Barries and lock-ups rehabilitated in fifty chiefdoms.

1. Resettlement of IDPs and Refugees

The Government Resettlement Programme has now successfully resettled virtually the entire registered IDP caseload (206,000), and over 97,000 returnees. While IDP resettlement is expected to be completed in 2002, support interventions will continue in 2003 to facilitate the resettlement of returning Sierra Leonean refugees.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Repatriation and resettlement of at least 50,000 returnees.

  • If not achieved in 2002, completion of the resettlement of the outstanding caseload of 10,000 IDPs.
2. Ex Combatant Reintegration

Of the 72,490 ex-combatants disarmed and demobilized, 56,351 subsequently registered for reintegration opportunities. Of these, 32,472 excombatants (58%) have so far been provided with reintegration opportunities. The largest outstanding caseloads yet to be serviced are in Kailahun District, followed by Kono, Bo, Bombali and Pujehun.

Benchmark for 2003

  • Programmes identified for the remaining caseload of 23,879 registered ex-combatants.
3. Health

An additional 221 Peripheral Health Units (PHUs) have been made functional this year, bringing the national total of primary healthcare facilities to 631 PHUs, 86% of the pre-war number. District hospitals are functional in all but two districts.

However, the severe shortfall outside of Freetown of technically qualified health staff remains a huge impediment to progress. Average full immunisation coverage of under one-year-olds remains low (34%), and the high maternal mortality rate (1,800/100,000) shows no sign of decreasing. Access to primary health care services (in terms of population per PHU) is worst in Kailahun district, followed by Kono, Bombali, Koinadugu and then Kambia.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • All Community Health Centers (CHCs) and Community Health Posts (CHPs) rehabilitated, staffed and equipped appropriately

  • All CHC staff quarters rehabilitated and equipped.

  • A functional referral hospital in every district.

  • Increased number of medical doctors serving outside of the Western Area.

  • Increased level of full immunization coverage (target of 60% national average).
4. Water and Sanitation

Sierra Leone suffers from an acute lack of safe drinking water sources and sanitation facilities. Estimates of access to safe drinking water range from 35% to 54% and access to sanitation facilities range from 15% to 63%. District assessments highlight Kailahun, Kono, Bombali and Tonkolili districts as having particularly low levels of access.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Safe drinking water source provided to an additional 846,000 beneficiaries.

  • Sanitation facilities provided to an additional 550,000 beneficiaries.
5. Education

The introduction in 2000 of free primary school education up to Class 6 has continued to stimulate enrolment levels, and primary school enrolment increased by 20% in the last year to 660,000 pupils. A substantial gender imbalance remains, however, as shown by the male/female pupil ratio of 156:100, and only 52% of teachers are qualified. In the last three years approximately 472 primary schools and a total of 60 secondary schools have been rehabilitated or reconstructed by government and development partners. However, the demands for destroyed or dilapidated schools to be rebuilt or rehabilitated remains enormous, with priority for rebuilding being in Kailahun, followed by Koinadugu, Kono, Port Loko and then Kambia districts.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • An additional 200 Primary Schools rehabilitated.

  • Two secondary schools rehabilitated and at least three functioning per district.

  • Technical vocational training opportunities established in each district.

  • Monitoring and evaluation capacity of the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. strengthened in each district.
6. Child Protection and Social Services

In Sierra Leone, vulnerability has been exacerbated by the impact of the war. Widespread human rights abuses have left tens of thousands of people profoundly affected, either through amputation and war wounds, sexual violence, loss of parents or general trauma. This in turn has greatly increased the need for social service support through psycho-social care, counselling, foster homes and disability programmes.

Children have been particularly affected by the war, being forcibly recruited into fighting forces as combatants, porters and =80ewives' (sex slaves). At the end of the conflict, 6,845 children were released by the fighting forces, of whom 5,037 were registered for support with child protection partners. An additional 2,097 children have also been registered as separated. To date a total of 6,869 of these children (92%) have been successfully reunified with their families. The challenges now lie in reintegrating children back into normal life and supporting the restoration of basic state social services.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Functioning tracing/reunification services in each district (by end 2002).

  • An operational MSWCGA office established in each district.

  • Community based support available to all registered child soldiers and separated children.

  • Child protection committees created in all districts and provision of support to 800 street children.

  • Reduction in the number of children working in diamond mining by 30%.

  • Basic disability programmes established with extension capacity in each region.

  • Six drop-in centers set-up and outreach services extended to four urban centers providing referral services and appropriate medical care for survivors of abuse and sexual violence.
7. Shelter

It is estimated that over 340,000 homes have been destroyed during the war, with destruction levels highest in Kono, Kailahun and Pujehun districts. Kenema and Tonkolili districts have also sustained considerable damage and are badly affected.

Benchmark for 2003

  • Community based shelter programmes expanded and reconstruction of at least 20,000 houses.

Thousands of people died during the conflict as a result of summary executions, mutilation and torture and many suffered from serious human rights abuses such as abductions, sexual abuse, forcible recruitment of children into fighting forces and displacement. For reconciliation, long-term stability, integration of communities and sustainable development to be achieved, peace building and human rights interventions must be supported at both the national and community level. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Special Court will be integral components of this strategy.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Inclusion of civic/human rights in the general curriculum for all schools.

  • At least 1,000 police, military and prison staff sensitised in civic/human rights.

  • In each district 100 community members trained in conflict resolution and civic/human rights.

  • Peace Building Committees to be established in each district.

1. Agriculture and Food Security

Eradicating hunger in Sierra Leone is the Government's primary objective over the next five years. Revitalising the agricultural sector is an essential component to meeting this challenge and will contribute enormously to the restoration of the country's economy. Over 75% of the country's labour force is employed in agriculture, but the sector has been severely affected by the war. In terms of a district's ability to produce its population's requirement for cereals (rice, maize, millet and sorghum), Kono district is currently the most vulnerable, followed by Bombali, Kailahun and then Kambia.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Food Crops: Raised production levels for paddy rice, millet and sweet potato to pre war (1991) levels and increased production (by 50% from 2001 figures) for cassava, maize and groundnut.

  • Lowland Rice Cultivation: Increased Inland Valley Swamp area used for rice cultivation by 13% to 85,000 hectares, and mangrove, boliland and riverine areas by 15% to 57,500 hectares.

  • Cash Crops: At least 25% of pre war plantations1 rehabilitated.

  • Livestock: Stock levels of cattle, sheep and poultry increased by 10%, stock levels of goats increased by 20% and pig stocks increased by 100% (over 2002 stock estimates).

  • Fisheries: Achieve 25% increase in fishery production and provide 100 additional artisanal fishing boats with engine and nets.

  • Food Aid: Through agriculture and food security interventions, reduce requirement for Food Aid in 2004 by at least 50% (to less than 31,000 MT).
2. Mining

Before the war, mining generated about 20% of the GDP; in 2000 this figure had fallen to just 0.1%. Nonetheless, the sector has the potential to employ large numbers of workers, and to be an important source of income at both a local and national level.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • Increase diamond exports to 300,000 carats valued at US$ 40 million in 2003.

  • Recommence production of rutile.
3. Infrastructure

Communication (telephone, radio and internet) and dependable energy services need to be made more efficient, more financially competitive, and to be expanded more widely throughout the country. Improving the country's poor transport infrastructure is critically important for the recovery of the economy, and also for the maintenance of security.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • 1,840 km of trunk road to be rehabilitated, and 2,140 maintained.

  • 1,690 kms of feeder roads to be rehabilitated, and 1,300 km maintained.

  • At least 600,000 man/days of labor generated through road works.
4. Micro Finance

The country's large informal economy has the potential to absorb huge numbers of the working population, and micro finance is a key policy tool to stimulate this potential.

Benchmarks for 2003

  • 20,000 new clients reached with micro-finance loan.

  • Micro-credit and micro-finance established services in all districts.

  • 50% of micro finance loan recipients from rural, rather than urban, areas.

  • A countrywide system established providing basic training for all Micro Finance Providers.

  • Recovery rates of micro finance programmes of over 90%.

1 Due to the severe slump in coffee prices, it is recommended that a full study of the economic viability of Sierra Leone's coffee plantations be undertaken before extensive resources are committed to their rehabilitation.

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