Sierra Leone

WFP Sierra Leone Country Brief, December 2020

Situation Report
Originally published


In Numbers
- 1,005 mt of food assistance distributed
- USD 0 cash-based transfers made
- USD 6.6 m six months (January-June 2021) net funding requirement
- 365,000 people assisted in December 2020

Operational Context

Sierra Leone is a low income country marked by food-deficit, with 63 percent of Sierra Leoneans estimated to be food insecure (June 2020 Food Security Monitoring System survey). Food security has drastically deteriorated since January, demonstrating the considerable impact of COVID-19 on households that rely on fragile livelihoods. Poverty levels are high, with 53 percent of the population living below the income poverty line (with less than USD 1.25 per day), and the country is still socially and economically recovering from the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak which ended in 2016.

Since the country registered its first COVID-19 case in March 2020, cumulative confirmed positive cases stand at 2,635as of the end of December. The pandemic led to the closure of schools and disruption of supply chains. Nutrition and livelihood activities have been affected by measures geared towards breaking the chain of transmission.

About half of the adult population is illiterate (44 percent among women) and the country ranks 150 out of 160 countries assessed on the Gender Inequality Index. WFP has been present in the country since 1968, helping to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition challenges among vulnerable groups. The launch of the Country Strategic Plan (CSP 2020 – 2024), in line with the new United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF 2020-2023), is an opportunity for WFP in Sierra Leone to build upon the lessons learned to achieve Zero Hunger.

Operational Updates
• WFP and partners distributed the second round of food assistance to over 3,800 households in the most vulnerable border communities whose livelihood were affected by COVID–19 socioeconomic impacts and border closures (as part of COVID-19 containment measures). They received mixed commodities of rice, pulses and vegetable oil.
• Ready-to-use therapeutic food was delivered to 53 peripheral health units in Karene district for beneficiaries under treatment for moderate acute malnutrition, whose situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• WFP in consultation with national stakeholders (National School Feeding Secretariat, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Directorate of Food and Nutrition, etc.) has completed data collection on key food commodity valuechain assessment aimed at identifying local procurement opportunities under the home-grown school feeding initiative. Analysis of data is ongoing and final report and validation are expected in March 2021.
• WFP donated online teleconferencing and other information and communications technology (ICT) office equipment to all 16 districts to strengthen the ICT and coordination capacities of the National COVID-19 Emergency Response Centre. Also, in order to support the Government in breaking the chain of transmission, WFP handed over more than 97,000 facemasks to the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Health for onward distribution to the most vulnerable affected groups.