What We Do
Save the Children is seeking solutions to the challenges faced by children in Sierra Leone through our development and humanitarian work. In 2012 we reached 220,915 children directly and 1,759,621directly (Basic Country Information) with our work across the three districts of Kailahun, Pujehun and Freetown (6 slum communities and 6 city sections) with national reach through our Everyone Campaign work.
Our current Country Strategic Plan covers 2011-14 and sets out our Overall objectives in four core thematic areas:
- Child Protection
- Newborn & Child Survival (including health and nutrition components)
- Child Rights Governance
Child Protection program:
Our Child Protection program focuses on strengthening systems for protecting children at national, district and community levels. Thematic priority areas are children without appropriate care, sexual abuse and exploitation of children and harmful traditional practices.
To reach our overall goal, our Child Protection team work to support the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs to develop a Child Protection policy/strategic plan, and to advocate for the ratification and implementation of laws aimed at protecting children. Moving forward, building on lessons learnt from previous years, we will increase focus on strengthening the links between formal and informal Child Protection mechanisms and systems at all levels; implement targeted interventions aimed at improving access and quality of services for children at risk of or experiencing violence; and use innovative techniques such as consultative conferences and inter-generational dialogues to work at community level to influence understanding, attitudes and practices of duty bearers in relation to children and child abuse.
Within Basic Education, Save the Children focuses on quality education, emphasising evidence-based approaches and/or direct interventions that will contribute to improved learning outcomes for children. We will continue to strengthen, and focus on developing the capacity of, the partners we established in 2012 Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Civil Society Organizations such as Education for All - Sierra Leone and District Education Networks.
Within our Basic Education program, we will be integrating an Early Childhood Care and Development component looking at the affects of access to age-appropriate pre-school education with relation to access to attendance and completion of Primary Education. To further build on this, we are piloting an integrated nutrition element with half the centres to look at the correlation between nutrition and successful and timely transition to Primary Education. And subsequent support to marginalised boys and girls to access Junior Secondary Education and capacity building of teachers and head teachers on leadership and monitoring for school improvement.
We also work with youth in Sierra Leone through our Vocational Education and Skills Development Project for unemployed youth under the Education for Youth Empowerment program. The overall objective is Economic, Social and Political Empowerment of vulnerable youth.
Maternal and Child Health and EVERYONE Campaign
Our Maternal and Child Health work focuses on strengthening of District Health Systems; improving the quality of maternal, new-born and child health services including emergency obstetric care from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation health facilities; supporting community mobilization; implementing a new Integrated Community Case Management project to improve the coverage of basic maternal, new-born and child health services with targeted interventions particularly in the hard-to-reach areas in Kailahun. In Freetown, we are improving the quality of maternal, new-born and child health services, water and sanitation facilities and community mobilization in six slum communities. We are also expanding quality and coverage of Integrated Community Case Management project; implementing a three year Infant and Young Child Feeding program and seek funding for Maternal Newborn Health with a focus on Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health in Pujehun.
We are integrating health activities more closely with the Education and Child Protection teams, particularly in the area of Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health. We are also working in partnership with other organizations in Sierra Leone to explore the care practices of teenage mothers and it is hoped that results from this will form the basis of a teen-focused nutritional and care practices program in 2014.
Save the Children’s EVERYONE Campaign in Sierra Leone was established in July 2011. We have established extensive grassroots advocacy networks throughout the country, aimed at mobilising the public to engage with decision makers on Maternal and Child Health issues. The four key advocacy issues that we focus campaign efforts on are:
- Tracking health and sanitation budget allocations and spending at National and District level, keeping decision makers accountable to the Abuja Target (15%)
- Monitor and verify progress on government commitments in implementing the Agenda for Prosperity, feeding back to decision makers and the public.
- Monitoring the implementation of the Human Resources for Health Strategic Plan 2012, ensuring that there are a sufficient number of health workers in post, and that they are being adequately supported.
- Continuing to raise public awareness and sensitization on Maternal Newborn and Child Health and Water Sanitation and Hygiene.
We will have also strengthened our engagement with national level decision makers, specifically the Health Parliamentary Oversight Committee, and will be organising regular meetings and forums at which we will further their understanding of relevant child health issues.
Child Rights Governance:
CRG became a stand-alone program in 2012 with the main focus being on strengthening national systems and supporting monitoring of children’s rights through working with the national government, and the Child Rights Coalition of Sierra Leone We will implement various interventions, particularly with child-led groups, to increase knowledge and awareness of children’s rights in Sierra Leone through our Child Right Governance program.
Save the Children in Sierra Leone is committed to intervening into emergency situations that affect the wellbeing of children.
In August 2013, some of project communities (Kroobay, Murray Town, Susan’s Bay, Connaught and Marbella) were hit by high seas leading to the destruction of 46 dwellings affecting 96 families. Children were temporarily displaced and their school and learning materials destroyed. Save the Children responded with an assessment of the affected communities followed by a one-day trauma healing and post disaster management training for the affected children. We supported 150 children with materials including books, files, geometrical sets etc.
In 2012, Sierra Leone experiences the worst cholera outbreak in the last 15 years – the situation was declared a National Emergency by the country’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, on 17th August.
Save the Children in consultation and coordination with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and other stakeholders, responded in five of the city sections of Freetown and in the district of Pujehun. We targeted the entire population of these areas – 70,447 people in 12 city sections and 254,425 in Pujehun (total population: 324,872) and reached 249,000 people (76.6% of the population in the target areas).
19,500 direct beneficiaries were targeted in Western Area under the DFID Rapid Response Fund grant. Out of them, 1,500 received health care and 18,000 received household water treatment kits (2,500 households).