Sierra Leone adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2010 for the period 2010-2014. The NAP was developed by a collaborative process that was undertaken by a Government-Civil Society Task Force, led by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, and included government ministries, UN agencies, civil society groups, including women’s organizations, research bodies, and the media. The NAP was drafted following the findings of a nationwide mapping survey which sought to establish a baseline of existing initiatives on UNSCR 1325 and develop a plan that could integrate coordination efforts. The NAP compiles its objectives under five thematic pillars: preventing conflict; protecting women and girls, including holding perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence accountable; increasing women’s participation and representation; promoting the implementation of the NAP; and monitoring, evaluation, and reporting. Additionally, the NAP includes an estimated budget.
Sierra Leone reported on the implementation of its NAP, as well as WPS commitments, in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, the country stated that the implementation of the first NAP was affected by the advent of Ebola, and it expired in 2014 without achieving many of its strategic objectives. In November 2015, UN Women hired a consultant to undertake the final evaluation of the Sierra Leone National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 (2010-2014). Consultations were carried out throughout the country in collaboration with the National Steering Committee members, a structure formed for the implementation of the NAP, and offered recommendations for the second NAP.
Sierra Leone gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, after decades of colonial rule under the British empire. The country was subsequently ruled under a military dictatorship from 1967 to 1968. The most recent history of armed conflict in Sierra Leone is the civil war, which lasted from 1991 until 2002.
The war had a disproportionate impact on women and girls, with thousands of women subjected to sexual violence as a weapon of war. In 2004, the Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled that the systematic violence that women were subjected to as “bush wives” during the war constituted a new crime against humanity in the form of forced marriage.
Despite the grave human rights violations they experienced, women were excluded from the Lomé Peace Agreement signed in 1999, and thus were not among the negotiators, mediators, or signatories. The agreement included one provision on women’s role in post-conflict reconstruction, which stated that “special attention shall be accorded to [women’s] needs and potentials in formulating and implementing national rehabilitation, reconstruction and development programmes, to enable them to play a central role in the moral, social and physical reconstruction of Sierra Leone.”