Sierra Leone adopted its second National Action Plan (NAP) for the period 2019-2023. Its first National Action Plan (NAP) adopted in 2010 for the period 2010-2014 was developed by a collaborative process that was undertaken by a Government-Civil Society Task Force.
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 outbreak 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.
The NAP in 2019, SiLNAP II, built upon this final evaluation, as well as in-country monitoring and evaluation reports. It aligns with the national priorities contained in The National Gender Strategic Plan, the Draft Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy, and the Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan. SiLNAP II focuses on six pillars of action: prevention of conflict in communities and addressing the root causes of conflicts at all levels; protection and support of women, girls and SGBV survivors and other vulnerable persons; prosecute and punish perpetrators of SGBV effectively and safeguard women’s, adolescent’s and girls’ rights at all times as well as rehabilitate perpetrators; participation and representation of women in leadership at all levels of decision-making in peacebuilding and development processes; promote peace culture and empower communities to generate and sustain their own well-being, environmental security and early response to health emergencies; promote effective coordination implementation monitoring and evaluation and reporting of the National Action Plan. It has a comprehensive and detailed framework for monitoring and evaluation, as well as a concrete budget.
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. Similarly, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) increased alarmingly in the Ebola outbreak of 2014, including an uptick of girls impregnated by a male household member or security agents enforcing quarantine. On the 7th February 2019 Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone, made an official declaration of a National Emergency on Rape and Sexual Violence, as a prevention and response mechanism.
Despite the grave human rights violations they experienced and the fact they were at the forefront of peace, security and reconciliation efforts, 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.”
National Action Plan (2019-2023)
Global Gender Gap Index 2020
111 out of 153
Arms Trade Treaty Ratified
Military expenditure (2019)
$25.6 million USD
Explore Sierra Leone's National Action Plan
Sierra Leone’s NAP development was initiated by The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, with National Steering Committee on the implementation of UNSCRs 1325 & 1820 (NSC), in close consultation with a variety of stakeholders and actors working with WPS, such as gender focal point officers, Monitoring and Evaluation officers, Paramount Chiefs and other Community/Chiefdom level traditional authorities, UN agencies including UN Women and UNESCO, and civil society organizations.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs (MSWGCA) will mainly coordinate the implementation. However, it will be inclusively implemented through the application of a localisation strategy, with the strong collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, MSWGCA and local councils. This is a ‘is a people-based approach premised on the rationale that local ownership and participation enables more effective policy action taking’ (p. 12).
NAP monitoring and evaluation
The NAP stipulates a long list of institutions that will be involved in the monitoring and evaluation process, with responsibilities such as the production of data and reporting on the implementation. They include various governmental departments like MSWGCA, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence; Local Government and Councils; Family Support Units (FSUs)/Special Unit on Sexual Penetration of Minors and the Sierra Leone Police 69 (SLP); The Human Rights Commission in Sierra Leone (HRCSL); National Committee on Gender-Based Violence (NAC-GBV); Traditional Authorities, Chiefdom Councils, and the Communities.
Civil society is included through non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), women’s organizations, and community-based organizations (CBOs).
The implementation period for Sierra Leone’s NAP is five years (2019-2023).
The NAP is organized into six overarching pillars, based on the priorities identified in consultations:
- Prevention of conflict in communities and addressing the root causes of conflicts at all levels;
- Protection and support of women, girls and SGBV survivors and other vulnerable persons;
- Prosecute and punish perpetrators of SGBV effectively and safeguard women’s, adolescent’s and girls’ rights at all times as well as rehabilitate perpetrators;
- Participation and representation of women in leadership at all levels of decision-making in peacebuilding and development processes;
- Promote peace culture and empower communities to generate and sustain their own well-being, environmental security and early response to health emergencies;
- Promote effective coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting of the National Action Plan.
The NAP is comprehensive in its approach to the specified overarching goals. It breaks each of the six pillars into output objectives, each with a set of strategies and specific activities.
For example, under Pillar 1 of ‘Prevention of conflict in communities and addressing the root causes of conflicts at all levels’, the first output objective is ‘Communities’ stakeholders’ commitment to promoting peaceful coexistence by addressing the root causes of conflict at community level increased/strengthened’ (p. 22), with two strategies:
- Ensuring the establishment and approval and implementation of bylaws that seek to prevent VAW/GBV and protect women, girls and adolescent youth, and vulnerable persons
- Parliamentary Finance Oversight Committee examination and assessing existing national budget allocation to GE and specifically to SiLNAP implementation
Specific activity for these strategies: ‘Harmonise/ align the relevant provisions of and remove inconsistency between the Child Rights Act and the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act with respect to age of marriage’ (p. 22).
Each output objective within the six pillars is given a set of indicators (with an emphasis on quantitative indicators throughout the NAP), as well as primary stakeholders, other partners and timeline for completion.
For example, under Pillar 4 of ‘Participation and representation of women in leadership at all levels of decision-making in peacebuilding and development processes’, the output objective ‘Representation of women in Security committees at provincial, district and chiefdom levels and other governance committees at especially chiefdom levels’ (p. 33) is given 3 indicators:
- Number of meetings held with officials in the security sector
- Percentage of women made aware of their roles and responsibilities in peacebuilding
- 100 women trained in peacebuilding and human rights in districts and chiefdoms
The list of stakeholders for this goal is naturally long, given the aim of participation throughout all levels, and includes ONS, Regional, District, and local council officials, Chiefdom Council officials, community women, traditional authorities, the parliamentary Female Caucus, the Legislative committee, ‘Male Champions’, and women’s organizations. Other partners identified are bilateral and multilateral organizations, as well as the United Nations Development Programme. The timeline indicated for this particular output objective is 2019-2022.
The NAP includes a robust framework for implementation. There are four objectives for the framework (p. 54)
- Determining the institutional readiness at all levels (national and local level) for the monitoring and evaluation of the National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of UNSCRs 1325 and 1820.
- Defining an institutional framework with clear roles and responsibilities for all relevant actors.
- Identifying monitorable indicators and developing a results framework that will guide the tracking of progress in the implementation of the NAP.
- Setting up data collection guidelines for measuring progress in the implementation of the NAP.
The framework is based on the same objective outputs, and summarized strategies with an output, indicator, MoV, baseline data, four milestones and a target per strategy.
For instance, Pillar 3 of ‘Prosecute and punish perpetrators of SGBV effectively and safeguard women’s, adolescent’s and girls’ rights at all times as well as rehabilitate perpetrators’ includes the objective output of ‘Institutions and other justice sector mechanisms committed to protect women, adolescents and girls from, and respond to VAW and sexual violence offences’. For the strategy ‘Enhance the effectiveness of gender justice institutions’ (p.56):
- Output: Capacitated gender justice institutions
- Indicator: Number of gender related issues speedily investigated, prosecuted and verdict passed
- MoV: FSU, Courts and related NGOs, e.g., Rainbow Centre records
- Baseline data: To be determined
- Milestones: Gaps in gender justice sector institutions identified; Capacitated gender justice sector institutions; Period for investigation, prosecution and verdict passed on gender related issues reduced by 20%; Period for investigating, prosecuting and passing verdict on gender issues reduced by 20%
- Target: Period for gender related trials reduced by 40%
Each specific action within the six pillars is given a budget estimate in USD($) for each year of implementation, as well as a total budget for all years.
For example, under Pillar 2, the fourth output objective of reducing teenage pregnancy in local communities, is broken down into five specific activities including:
- Action 1 of ‘Hold dialogue sessions with key communities’ stakeholders, including traditional leaders, male champions, parents, especially fathers and teenagers’ (p. 38) is allocated $50,000 USD per year for 2019 and 2020, and $40 000 USD per year for 2021, 2022 and 2023. The total budget for Action 1 is $220,000 USD.
- Action 3 of ‘Provide livelihood skills training in agriculture, and other sectors’ (p. 39) is allocated $80 000 USD per year for 2019, 2020 and 2021, and $60 000 USD per year for 2022 and 2023. The total budget is $360,000 USD.
In addition, the NAP includes a section on resource mobilization. A list of potential sources of donations across multilateral and bilateral organizations, the private sector, NGOs/CSOs/CBOs, and other sources can be found on p. 46. A budget for the implementation of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan is also included (p. 68). It is broken down into three sections of capacity building ($115,000 USD over 5 years), running institutional framework ($135,000 USD over 5 years) and support to routine data systems ($150,000 USD over 5 years).
The NAP does not include provisions for disarmament nor does it address small arms or weapons. Despite a focus on SGBV in two of the six pillars and the country’s post-conflict context, the NAP does not address small arms and light weapons (SALW), control measures of SALW, nor the gendered impacts of their illegal circulation, particularly in increasing the risk of SGBV.
Civil Society were extensively involved in the development of the NAP through pre-drafting lobbying and advocacy and then through the Government- Civil Society Task Force. The Task Force included the following Civil Society representatives: Civil Society Movement; The 50/50 Group; Sierra Leone Women's Forum; Gender Research and Documentation Center of the University of Sierra Leone; Sorotipmist International Club; Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET); Mano River Women's Peace Network (MARWOPNET); Sierra Leone Labor Congress; International Alert; ENCISS; Justice Sector Coordinating Office ( JSCO); AMNET; Sierra Leone Association of Non Governmental Organizations; Campaign for Good Governance; Sierra Leone Association of Journalists.
Development was led by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children's Affairs. A Committee was formed with the involvement of relevant civil society and government ministries.
The NAP was developed in close partnership between government and Civil Society Organizations and it is articulated within the NAP that full implementation must to continue adopt the same inclusive approach. Beyond an ongoing strong role through the Government- Civil Society Task Force, which is elaborated in Pillar IV, there are no further strategies articulated.
Government agencies involved in the implementation include: Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Information and Communication, Internal Affairs, Local Government, Sierra Leone Police and Prisons Departments, Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Ministerial Interagency Relations Dept., Office of National Security, Drafting Parliamentary Female Caucus, National Forum for Human Rights
NAP Monitoring and Evaluation
Women’s Civil Society Organizations are also actively engaged in supporting implementation, oversight and monitoring of the NAP independent of formal government processes. For instance Women's Civil Society, in collaboration with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) concluded a national monitoring review on implementation of the NAP, which made the following recommendations: Lead efforts in partnership with the National Task Force on NAP 1325 to mobilise resources and institutionalise operations of the National Steering Committee for the coordination of the full implementation of UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 as mapped out in the NAP 1325 and 1820. Intensify actions to coordinate with other Ministries, Departments, Agencies and structures in Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Internal Affairs and Local government, Lands and Environment, Education and Health, for instances, in the engagement with women, gender, peace and security issues. Earmark resources from its quarterly allocations and other sources for routine monitoring of implementing gender perspectives in MDA’s policies and continuous sex dissagregated data collection, including documentation for reporting and accountability on women gender, peace and security matters. Coordinate with the Ministry of Finance and Development as well as the Statistics Sierra Leone to ensure that sex disaggregated data on budget allocations and spending on peace building, peace and security consolidation processes and interventions are collected and published. Development partners, particularly the UN Country Gender Team, Bilateral Agencies and Institutions to support technically and to allocate resources to women’s organizations at national and community levels, in efforts of institution building and strengthening of succession planning in peace and security fields.
A Steering Committee led by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Children's Affairs is tasked with heading up the monitoring and evaluation process.
Although the period of the NAP is from 2010-2014, Sierra Leone does not specify timeframes for each sub-activity.
The Sierra Leone NAP includes five Pillars and each is correlated with the relevant UNSCR 1325 and 1820 text:
- Prevention of Conflict including Violence Against Women and Children (SGBV) Protection, Empowerment of Victims and Vulnerable Persons especially women/girls
- Prosecute, Punish Perpetrators effectively and Safeguard Women and Girls' Human Rights to Protection during and post conflict as well as Rehabilitate Victims/Survivors of SGBV and Perpetrators.
- Participation and Representation of Women.
- Promote Coordination of the Implementation Process, including Resource Mobilization,
- Monitoring and Evaluation of and Reporting on the National Action Plan.
Each pillar contains an Outcome Objective and Output Objective. For example, Pillar 2: “Protection, Empowerment of Victims and Vulnerable Persons especially women/girls” includes the following objectives:
- Contribute to increased Protection, Empowerment and support of Victims and Vulnerable Persons especially women/girls.
- Reporting of SGBV cases at national and community levels increased Health (psychosocial) economic and legal and support provided to vulnerable persons including victims and survivors.
- Government measures and benefits for women and girls in vulnerable situation increased to ensure the respect for their social and economic rights
Sierra Leone's NAP has a set of strategies and specific activities for each Pillar. For example, Pillar 2 'Protection,Empowerment ofVictims andVulnerable Persons especially women/girls' gives the following strategies:
- Alliance building with law enforcement agencies and the courts
- Strengthening existing mechanisms/procedures
- Networking with NAC-GBV Security and Justice Sectors Coordinating Institutions;
- Court Monitoring, and reporting; ?Intensifying community sensitization and advocacy;
- Dialoguing with parents and community leaders
- Enhancing data base
- Improve health -care delivery services, conditions of services for medical personnel; equip health care facilities and training on SGBV issues.
- Ensuring that victims of SGBV have access to free medical report across the country
- Lobby for lawyers to be available at regional and district levels and ensure sustainability and incentives to provide legal services to women and girls.
- Intensify access to Adult/functional literacy class,
- Training in specialized skills for older girls attending in adult education classes
- Role modeling/mentoring school age girls to stay in school complete and perform well.
- Strengthening/building institutional capacities in gender responsive programmes/projects, including gender sensitive parenting
- Data base development
Each Pillar has a set of indicators associated with it. For example, Pillar 2 has the following indicators:
Percentage increase in the number of cases reported to law enforcement agencies. Information management and dissemination systems developed.
Percentage increase in the number of victims receiving psychosocial support and treatment within a minimum time
Percentage number of victims receiving economic support including micro Finance
Percentage increase in number of victims having access to legal aid.
Percentage increase in the number of new government programs skewed to wards benefiting vulnerable women and girls
Increase in the number of vulnerable women and girls benefiting from such programs.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs is responsible for steering the overall Monitoring and Evaluation process which will occur at multiple levels.
The National Steering Committee will review progress on the NAP’s implementation, make recommendations to enhance its success and update the government, UN, and donor community. A core technical group comprised of government bodies will provide support to the National Steering Committee by gathering and analyzing national data. The group is comprised of government bodies. The Regional Gender Office will monitor implementation on the regional level, collaborating with the regional judiciary system, Family Support Unit, the Provincial Secretary’s Office, Regional Minister’s Office and NGOs.
A Regional Steering Committee will collect and analyze data and prepare reports to the National Steering Committee. Local Councils will chair District Steering Committees supported by the District Gender Offices. They will provide reports to the Regional and National Steering Committees and coordinate efforts on the community level. Councilors, Chiefdom Police, village leaders, and community women’s organizations will gather and provide data at the district level. Ward committees can also coordinate community level efforts. The NAP does not articulate the composition of the various Steering Committees. It is not stated in the NAP if these documents are to be made publicly available or disseminated beyond the various Steering Committees and concerned Ministries.
Civil Society has concluded an independent monitoring report, coordinated by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, which you can view here. The NAP elaborates on risks for implementation and evaluation which including, institutional readiness, technical capacity, data storage and management and financial constraints. The NAP identifies strategies to mitigate against these risks, which includes advocacy, capacity building, the development of a database and data storage and management guidelines and fundraising activities. The costs of these activities are included in a Budget for Monitoring and Evaluation.
The NAP does not have a dedicated budget, but includes a projected cost of the NAP is USD $21,301,314. The NAP includes a budget for the implementing the Monitoring and Evaluation strategy at USD $1,625,750. The government recognizes within the NAP that it holds the primary responsibility in providing funding for the plan, and commits to specified progressive increases in overall funding within the Results Framework. However, it is recognized that funding will need to be sought from national and international donors, public, non-government, faith based and private sector. The NAP also includes the need to include private citizens in fundraising activities in order to enhance local ownership of the NAP. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs is tasked with the lead role in fundraising activities and coordination of donors.
Despite a recent history of conflict that involved small weapons, there is no mention of disarmament, small arms, or illicit trade in Sierra Leone's NAP.