Project: Monitoring Post Ebola Recovery Funds: A Focus on Service Delivery
Country: Sierra Leone
Sectors: Education & Health
Executing Agency: Oxfam Sierra Leone (SL)
Grante Amount: $684,000
Closing Date: In preparation
Frame and Challenge
Sierra Leone and its neighbors recently emerged from a devastating Ebola epidemic, which affected its health and economy. The outbreak revealed the precarious nature of a decade of post-conflict reconstruction efforts and reform in Sierra Leone, including poverty reduction, and interventions in the health and education sectors.56.6% of the Sierra Leone population lives below the international poverty line of $1.25 per day, while 82.5% live on less than $2 per day. In addition to systemic poverty, Sierra Leone braves governance challenges as a contributing fact that exacerbated and prolonged the Ebola outbreak. Despite the fact that one third of combined government and donor budgetary allocations is dedicated to the health and education sectors, Sierra Leone did not meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in health, water and sanitation.
The deep impoverishment of Sierra Leone's rural and peri-urban population is reflected in health and education statistics. While life expectancy has improved (2002 to 2014) to the regional average of 57 years, the under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) is 156 (compared to a global average of 48 and a regional average of 95) and maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births is 857 (compared to a global average of 210 and a regional average of 500). Sierra Leone also has problems in education that span all levels, from enrollment, school completion, quality of education, learning outcomes, coordination, management and financing to civil society's limited role in education. Such problems are reflected in the adult literacy rate which is 56% for men and 34% for women compared to a sub-Saharan average of 68% for men and 50% for women. Enhancing accountability and contributing to the achievements of post-Ebola recovery targets in health and education, which were set out by the government, will help to empower Sierra Leoneans to ultimately emerge from poverty.
To carry out the implementation of the project, the GPSA awarded a grant to Oxfam, an organization which has been operating in Sierra Leone since 1998. Oxfam will work with the Institute Governance Reform (IGR), a locally registered CSO in Sierra Leone. The ultimate objective of the project is to empower citizens through social accountability interventions, to improve the utilization of post-Ebola recovery funds in the health and the education sectors in three (of fourteen) districts. The project also aligns with the World Bank’s Joint Country Assessment Strategy. The project will be accomplished in three components: 1) deploy social accountability tools to monitor the provision of education and health services in targeted districts, 2) build state-citizen interfaces on public service delivery and community based structures for social accountability, and 2) facilitate knowledge and learning to enhance effectiveness of interventions and project management. Direct and indirect beneficiaries of this project include the service users and providers in targeted health and educational facilities, as well as the public sector institutions most relevant to the project.
Although this project is not set to be completed until 2022, there are still preliminary outcomes noteworthy planning progress, including but not limited to, that:
The project is raising citizen awareness of the health and education services that they are entitled to receive.
The project is monitoring the ratio of service issues complaints raised to those resolved.
An annual service delivery index and citizens budget monitoring are being established. The resulting information will be shared with the decentralized units of the Ministries of Finance, Health and Sanitation, Education, Science and Technology.
Meetings between authorities and citizens will be established to discuss service delivery and contribute to the development of sustainable community-based structures for social accountability.
This project is in its early stages, and more lessons learned will be added as they become available. Still, however, several lessons emerged from project planning. One lesson, which especially informs the scale and resilience of this and future projects, is that:
Knowledge products and learning generated by projects are important in maintaining outcomes and project sustainability. In Sierra Leone’s case, Oxfam’s partner, IBIS, expects to utilize the knowledge and learning to expand the social accountability platform built by the project countrywide as part of its planned partnerships with other CSOs and NGOs, such as Restless Development, UNICEF, and eHealth.
Click on the following links to learn more about the Oxfam grant and goals in Sierra Leone:
Video: Sierra Leone (IBIS)
Website: Oxfam in Sierra Leone