Sierra Leone is emerging from an Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak that claimed the lives of 3,955 people and left more than 13,000 survivors and orphans. Ebola crippled the economy, increased food insecurity and reversed upward trends in health and nutrition indicators that had not yet fully recovered from the years of conflict between 1991 and 2002.
In 2014, prior to the outbreak, stunting levels in children under 5 exceeded 30 percent in at least seven districts, and 4.7 percent of children were wasted. EVD further weakened Sierra Leone’s fragile health system and public confidence in government institutions. Usage of non-Ebola related health services declined, resulting in increased maternal and child mortality and poor adherence to essential therapies. Prevalence of teenage pregnancies – already ranked among the highest in the region – spiked during the outbreak.
The 2015 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis indicates half the population is food insecure, with levels of food insecurity exceeding 60 percent in some chiefdoms of every district.
This protracted relief and recovery operation reinforces three priorities of the Government's “building back better” Ebola recovery strategy:
- Restore and rebuild livelihoods devastated by EVD, focusing on the most food-insecure populations and Ebola survivors,
- Enhance utilization of health and nutrition services weakened by the Ebola outbreak, and
- Strengthen national capabilities to prepare for and respond to future emergencies, including Ebola flare-ups and localized flooding.
This operation will support Government efforts to rebuild and restore livelihoods and incomes by providing critical safety nets in areas with high food insecurity. WFP will leverage experience working with farmers' organizations under the Purchase for Progress pilot to strengthen agricultural value chains and access to markets for smallholder farmers. In partnership with Government, Rome-based agencies, the private sector, and other stakeholders, WFP will support activities that improve agriculture practices and climate change adaptation techniques.