DEMOCRACY, GOVERNANCE, AND PEACEBUILDING
Since 2002 Sierra Leone has held four consecutive free and fair national elections, two of which resulted in transfers of power between the two major parties. Despite this demonstrated commitment to democratic processes, Sierra Leone continues to struggle with political accountability and civic engagement beyond the electoral cycle. An unmitigated zero-sum pursuit of electoral gains risks undermining national cohesion, political inclusion, rule of law, and government effectiveness.
USAID’s program centers on fostering accountability of local government to citizens and preventing and mitigating political violence. We aim to strengthen democratic governance by working with Sierra Leoneans to build government accountability, ensure responsive public institutions, and promote strong democratic norms and processes. We also support violence and conflict prevention programming to address political tensions and address underlying cleavages in communities. Additionally, USAID is working to achieve gender equality in Sierra Leone where customary laws, institutional and economic barriers and widely held cultural and social beliefs act as significant barriers to women’s full integration into the decision-making sphere at the household, community, and national levels.
The Government of Sierra Leone is making positive strides in the health sector. Various policies and reforms, such as the Free Health Care Initiative and the Basic Package of Essential Health Services have been put in place to improve the health status of women and children. Despite these positive strides, there are still big challenges with inadequate human resources, and the lack of equipment and infrastructure. USAID supports the nationwide expansion and scale-up of life-saving, high impact health interventions in public and private health facilities in the areas of neglected tropical diseases; malaria prevention and control; global health security; maternal child health; and family planning. USAID also provides technical assistance, commodities and equipment to Sierra Leone’s primary health care delivery system and the community health worker program. Under the Global Health Security Agenda program (GHSA) USAID works with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency to pursue a multilateral and multi-sectoral approach to strengthen Sierra Leone’s capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to human and animal infectious disease threats.
In addition to its primary bilateral programs in health and democracy, human rights and governance, USAID is also helping to advance the Government of Sierra Leone’s development priorities in combating gender-based violence, energy development, the environment, and aquaculture development