Sierra Leone continues to recover from the social and economic disruption of a decade of civil war that ended in 2002. Recovery has been hindered by economic shocks that have affected livelihoods, eroded the resilience of the most vulnerable and altered social cohesion. The transition from emergency to recovery is difficult: there are few employment opportunities and limited government capacity to provide social services and safety nets; 70 percent of the population live below the national poverty line of US$2 per day; and 70 percent of young people are unemployed. Factors such as the global financial crisis have hampered the rebuilding of infrastructure.
Child and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. The lifetime risk of a woman dying in childbirth is one in eight; national prevalence of global acute malnutrition is 10 percent and reaches emergency levels in some regions during the July–October hunger season; high child malnutrition rates are compounded by very high levels of anaemia, poor access to health services and endemic malaria. A recent analysis found that 29 percent of rural households have an inadequate diet and are food-insecure; the situation has since deteriorated as a result of high food prices and the economic recession.
This operation is aligned with the Government’s Agenda for Change 2008–2012 and the United Nations Joint Vision programme that replaced the United Nations Development Assistance Framework. It aims to improve food security and child nutrition in vulnerable communities affected by conflict and characterized by gender inequalities and increasing numbers of unemployed young people.
The relief component focuses on nutrition and includes targeted supplementary feeding for children under 5 suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, blanket feeding for children under 2 during the hunger season and supplementary feeding for pregnant and lactating women. The early recovery component focuses on rebuilding livelihoods through food for work and cash for work to rehabilitate productive land, assets and infrastructure. Food for training focuses on agricultural and vocational capacity-development.
In an environment of high levels of sexual and gender-based violence, WFP and its partners will ensure that livelihood-support activities do not inadvertently encourage violence against women and girls.
The objectives of the operation are to: i) reduce acute malnutrition among children under 5 in targeted populations in line with Strategic Objective 1; and ii) rebuild the livelihoods of food-insecure households and increase their access to food, markets and social services in line with Strategic Objective 3. The activities contribute to Millennium Development Goals 1, 3, 4 and 5.