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ReliefWeb - Updates on Sierra Leone

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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

    COUNTRIES REQUIRING EXTERNAL ASSISTANCE FOR FOOD

    FAO assesses that globally 37 countries are in need of external assistance for food.
    Conflicts continue to be the main factor driving the high levels of severe food insecurity.
    Weather shocks have also adversely impacted food availability and access, notably in East Africa.

    REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

    AFRICA Drought conditions in parts of East Africa curbed cereal production in 2017, intensifying food insecurity in several areas, while the persisting conflict in South Sudan contributed to the drop in the 2017 national cereal harvest to its lowest level since 2013. For 2018, countries in North and Southern Africa are likely to gather reduced harvests due to dry weather conditions. In the remaining subregions, planting of the 2018 cereal crops will start from April.

    ASIA Conflicts continue to acutely debilitate food security in Yemen and the Syrian Arab Republic, where large numbers of people require urgent humanitarian assistance. The 2018 main wheat production outlook in the Far East is overall favourable, while dryness has lowered expectations in the Near East and CIS countries.

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN Following record cereal outputs in Argentina and Brazil in the previous year, production in 2018 is expected to fall, but to remain above average, in South America mostly owing to reduced plantings after consecutive years of record crops.


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    Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
    Country: Haiti, Sierra Leone, World

    Epidemics are a constant threat to the well-being of communities everywhere, and more especially so in societies where resources are scarce. Managing epidemics, or preferably preventing them, is a priority for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The role of communities in preventing, detecting and responding to local health threats is critical in improving the lives of millions across the world. One of the principal advantages of community- based surveillance (CBS) is that it ensures effective communication of unusual events or changes in the health status of residents in a community to authorities and, importantly, gives a voice to communities. This channel of communication enables an early detection and response to potential epidemics, making it possible to stop them before they start.

    With 190 National Societies and 17 million volunteers, the Red Cross is uniquely placed to implement CBS in collaboration with local Ministries of Health and partners to ensure the early detection of public health threats, and to taking pre-emptive action before the situation worsens. Taking an all-hazard approach to health threats, CBS supports the early detection of human, animal and envi- ronmental changes that could impact health outcomes .

    This set of guiding principles, builds on the eld experience of many communities, as well as the National Societies that support them. These principles will continue to be re ned as the experience and lessons from implementing CBS is gained across the world, supporting communities to play an essential role in their own health security and contributing to improved resilience of those most at risk.


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    Source: Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
    Country: Sierra Leone

    It has been more than half a year since Mount Sugarloaf collapsed in Regent, Sierra Leone, killing at least one thousand people and leaving thousands homeless and in tears. The world mourned with Sierra Leone as the people of that nation suffered yet another calamity after experiencing war, Ebola, and ongoing poverty. Like many other humanitarian organizations, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation with its partners, Healey International Relief Foundation, Caritas Freetown and Lanyi Foundation responded with needed emergency relief, including food support, blankets and psychosocial support.

    Before the closing of temporary shelters, Tzu Chi made a commitment to the survivors and Sierra Leone to follow up with more support in 2018. From February 12 to 16, Tzu Chi volunteers and local partners distributed rice to the August 14 mudslide survivors for their daily sustenance.

    Not knowing the whereabouts of the mudslide survivors to inform them of the distributions, Tzu Chi and partners made a public announcement on local radio stations and urged the public to disseminate the information by word of mouth. Beneficiaries were required to present the Government issued Mudslide survivor identification for verification. A database from the Office of National Security (ONS) used to verify principals of households and their number of beneficiaries.

    All households received 10 kg for each member of their household as recorded by ONS. There were hundreds of beneficiaries with Government issued identification cards but not listed in the ONS database. All persons who presented authentic Government issued identification cards benefited accordingly.

    The distributions at the Caritas Headquarters in the St. Edward’s Compound, Kingtom, Freetown, benefited thousands of mudslide survivors and renewed hope for the many who thought the world has forgotten them. The head of households were close to 3,000, benefiting well more than 10,000 persons. The beneficiaries comprised of six communities: Dwazark, Lumley, Culvert, Kamayama, Kaningo, and Regent. In all, over 100,000 kg of rice distributed to mudslide survivors.

    Beneficiaries thanked Dharma Master Cheng Yen and the entire Tzu Chi Family and local partners, Caritas Freetown, Healey International Relief Foundation and Lanyi Foundation for their kind support. The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation committed yet again to providing mudslide and flood survivors with additional support by midyear.


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    Source: United Nations Population Fund
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, World

    Over the last ten years, it has become evident that the demographic dividend framework offers a strategic basis for focusing and prioritizing investments in people in general and youth in particular, in order to achieve sustainable development. The demographic dividend framework is in line with Africa’s Agenda 2063 and its’ ‘First Ten-Year Implementation Plan’ which together lay a strong foundation for the vision of African leaders in all facets of the continent’s development.

    Likewise, it also underpins the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Young people comprise a significant percentage of the population. While many countries have already made progress in investing in young people, they must do much more if they want to harness the demographic dividend in this region. Young people in West and Central Africa face considerable challenges. This region has some of the world’s highest levels of child marriage, adolescent pregnancy and maternal mortality rates (especially among adolescents). Young people often do not have access or opportunities for the right education that provides them the knowledge and skills to protect their health, or to prepare them adequately for the labour market.

    This position paper presents several strong arguments about why it is imperative to address child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, if we want to succeed in harnessing the demographic dividend in West and Central Africa. It also provides recommendations on the key actions different stakeholder groups can take to make this a reality. UNFPA is committed to supporting Governments and other stakeholders to harness the demographic dividend including through actions to end child marriage and reduce adolescent pregnancies in the region.


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    Source: African Union
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Freetown, 6 March 2018 – Ahead of the March 7 general elections all International Election Observer Missions (IEOMs) in Sierra Leone have tasked stakeholders to work towards a peaceful process.

    A joint statement issued by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), European Union (EU), and The Carter Center in which said that they were following closely and with much interest the upcoming vote and welcomed the efforts made by the National Electoral Commission for the preparation of the polls and also welcomed the deployment of short- and long-term national and international observer missions

    The statement, however, expressed concerns over the recent incidents of election-related violence and intimidation and encouraged candidates to accept the outcome of the elections in line with Article 9 of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001) and, in the event of complaints or disputes.

    The statement noted the efforts of the National Electoral Commission, the Political Parties Registration Commission, the Judiciary, the Office of National Security, the Sierra Leone Police, civil society, the media and other key institutions towards the conduct of peaceful and transparent elections and encouraged candidates to seek redress through legal channels.

    The statement called on the political leaders, parties and their supporters to ensure peaceful elections and respect for the rule of law as they go to the polls tomorrow and through the results tallying process. Further urge them to uphold their commitments under the ‘Freetown Declaration’, which was signed by presidential candidates on 28 February 2018.

    “The IEOMs present in Sierra Leone would like to take the opportunity to wish the citizens of Sierra Leone well in the exercise of their democratic rights; and pledge our unequivocal commitment to support the people of Sierra Leone to ensure a peaceful and credible conclusion of the electoral process.”, the statement concluded.

    The different IEOMs have deployed over 250 international observers across the country to follow all aspects of Election Day and some will remain to observe the tallying process and post-election period.

    The presidential, parliamentary and local council election is the fourth major election since the return to multi-party democracy in 1996.

    For more information, contact: Mr. Samuel Atuobi, Senior Political/Elections Officer, Department of Political Affairs, African Union Commission (AtuobiS@africa-union.org).

    For interview requests, kindly contact the members of the AUEOM media contact:

    Mr. Gamal Ahmed A. Karrar | Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission | E-mail: Gamalk@africa-union.org |


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    Source: Salesian Missions
    Country: Sierra Leone

    (MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been serving in Sierra Leone since 2001, when they began working to rehabilitate former child soldiers. In the years since, Don Bosco Fambul, located in the country’s capital city of Freetown, has become one of the country’s leading child welfare organizations—offering food, clothing, crisis intervention services, shelter, educational opportunities, long-term counseling and family reunification.

    Don Bosco Fambul reaches out to an estimated 2,500 street children in the region each year. Transformation for street youth starts with the Salesian rehabilitation and reunification programs operated at Don Bosco Fambul. The success of the street children rehabilitation program is credited to the organization’s holistic approach focusing on attending to basic needs (food, clothing and a safe place to sleep) as well as personalized medical, psychological, pedagogical, social and spiritual care of the children. This gradual process includes formal classes, daily games, sports, music, singing, drama, dancing, counseling and prayer. Parents and extended families are contacted several times by social workers before final reunification.

    Osman has found great success through Don Bosco Fambul. He did not know how old he was, nor did he remember the last time he had learned something at school. He said he did not have a family. Osman first learned about Don Bosco Fambul while living on the street. He was told that a bus would arrive to take care of children like him, that it would stop at various points in the capital and that he could play there and even get something to eat. But Osman wasn’t convinced.

    For a long time, he attended only the Don Bosco Fambul night program. Standing at the door, he talked to the people at the entrance. It was his way of feeling safe. He always asked, “What do I have to do to become one of Fambul?” He saw other street children come to the program and make great changes. Eventually, he wanted to be like them and grew to trust that Salesian missionaries could help him make the changes he desired.

    When Osman entered into the program, he played with the other children and was fed meals. He was able to take a shower and was given clean clothes. He also started school. Even if he did not understand everything that was said in the classroom, Osman was learning little by little. Without realizing it, he ended up becoming a big part of the Don Bosco Fambul program, distinguishing himself for the joy and the effort he was putting forth to make changes in his life just like his friends.

    Today, Osman is still at Don Bosco Fambul, attending school and wanting to find out more about his family. He says, “If they have not lost the hope of seeing me again, we will be very happy, given the desire I have to find them.”

    According to the World Bank, more than 60 percent of Sierra Leone’s population lives in poverty with many living on less than $1.25 per day. The literacy rate is only 41 percent and 70 percent of young people in Sierra Leone are unemployed or underemployed as a result. The country was hard hit by the Ebola crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that there were more than 14,124 total cases of Ebola and 3,956 deaths from the virus in Sierra Leone alone. Don Bosco Fambul was on the forefront of efforts to help prevent Ebola in communities throughout Sierra Leone and provide care for children left orphaned by the deadly epidemic. The organization recently received Sierra Leone’s Presidential Award in recognition of its contribution in fighting Ebola.


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Moldova, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Zambia

    Investment surpasses April 2016 commitment three years ahead of schedule

    WASHINGTON, March 7, 2018 – The World Bank Group (WBG) has invested US$3.2 billion over the past two years in education projects benefiting adolescent girls, surpassing its April 2016 commitment to invest US$2.5 billion over five years, the organization announced today on the eve of International Women’s Day.

    The investments, largely concentrated across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are helping provide adolescent girls (ages 12-17) with access to quality education at the secondary level, and ensuring they are enrolled in and stay in school through a number of initiatives, including scholarships, conditional cash transfers, and basic facilities at school like clean drinking water and toilets.

    “Investing in gender equality and girls’ education isn’t just the right thing to do; economically, it’s one of the smartest things to do,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “Accelerating these investments is a critical part of our strategy of investing in people to drive inclusive, sustainable growth. This milestone is an important reminder – if girls are equipped with the education and human capital they need, they have the potential to secure the future of their countries.”

    New WBG education programs that include support for adolescent girls focus on education quality and access in 21* countries, including some of the world’s poorest. A project in Bangladesh, for example, is providing educational stipends for girls, building separate toilets, and introducing a girls’ empowerment curriculum that promotes health and hygiene. In Lebanon, the WBG is working with the government to promote equitable access to education, with a focus on girls and refugees, while in Tanzania, it is boosting girls’ enrollment by making schools affordable, reducing the time and distance to school, and proving teacher training on ways to reduce gender-based violence.

    Today, some 130 million girls around the world between the ages of 6 and 17 are still not in school—75 percent of whom are adolescents. A World Bank study found that every year of secondary school education is correlated with an 18 percent increase in a girl’s future earning power.

    Research consistently shows the importance of girls’ education: better educated women are healthier, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and provide better health care and education for their children.

    The WBG has long been committed to girls’ education, with current and past projects focused on adolescent girls in Haiti, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria and dozens of other countries. Previous projects have already borne results: In Pakistan, for example, a program that provided tuition vouchers and cash stipends for 400,000 girls increased girls’ enrollment in Punjab’s secondary schools by nine percent.

    Educating adolescent girls and promoting gender equality is part of a broader and holistic effort, which includes financing and analytical work to remove financial barriers that keep girls out of school, delay child marriage, improve access to reproductive health services, and strengthen skills and job opportunities for adolescent girls and young women.

    * Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Moldova, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Zambia.

    For more information, please visit:

    www.worldbank.org/education

    Follow us on: @WBG_Education

    PRESS RELEASE NO: 2018/111/EDU

    Contacts

    In Washington
    Patricia da Camara
    +1 (202) 473-4019
    pdacamara@worldbankgroup.org

    Karolina Ordon
    +1 (202) 458-5971
    kordon@worldbankgroup.org


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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Sierra Leone

    FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE — Sierra Leone's main opposition leader called for calm Wednesday night after his supporters engaged in running street battles with police, resulting in at least one injury at the end of an otherwise peaceful day of polling in the West African nation.

    "I want every Sierra Leonean to behave themselves in a very peaceful manner so that we can have a peaceful election once in our lifetime," Julius Maada Bio told reporters at Sierra Leone People's Party headquarters in Freetown's posh Goderich neighborhood, where he was holed up at dusk after his supporters clashed with police on the street.

    "We hope this does not mar the whole election, which has been relatively smooth," said Bio, a retired general who briefly seized power in a 1996 coup before handing power to civilian authorities.

    Sierra Leone held general elections Wednesday in what analysts said was one of the most hotly contested races in the country's history. Bio was running for president against Samura Kamara of the ruling All People's Congress and 14 other candidates. The current president, Ernest Bai Koromo of the APC, must step down after serving two terms.

    The vote went mostly smoothly across the country, but after polls closed, tensions rose in Goderich following an alleged incident outside the SLPP headquarters, where party officials said they were conducting a vote tally.

    Bio accused police of trying to enter the compound without a warrant and putting him under "siege." He said police accused him of "hacking" and threatened to use tear gas and force to enter. Bio rejected the hacking allegation.

    SLPP supporters then amassed in the streets, facing off against police carrying shields who had deployed. Police used pepper spray and electric shocks to disperse the growing crowd, and SLPP supporters then began throwing rocks and glass bottles at police. Police responded by throwing rocks back, prompting running battles.

    At least one SLPP supporter was injured.

    Claude Robert, with a gash on his forehead, said police hit him as he tried to block them from entering the SLPP compound.

    A few armed soldiers were also on the scene but did not participate in the melee.

    VOA was unable to reach police for comment, but officers withdrew from outside SLPP headquarters after the skirmishes.

    As the clashes died down, Bio met with police and election observers, including former Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan, head of the African Union observer mission to Sierra Leone.

    Sierra Leone has enjoyed relative peace since its bloody civil war ended 15 years ago, but the country has been hit by crises recently, including the devastating 2014 Ebola outbreak and a deadly mudslide last year.

    The APC has been accused of responding poorly to those disasters and of corruption. The party's supporters point to newly built roads and electricity connections during Koromo's decade in power.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    POPULATION OF CONCERN: 11,557

    WORKING WITH PARTNERS

    • UNHCR works with the Government of Liberia through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and provides funding to the following NGOs to provide protection and assistance in favor of refugees and asylum seekers:

    • African Initiatives for Relief and Development (AIRD)

    • Special Emergency to Restore Children's Hope (SEARCH)

    Context Highlights

    • George Manneh Weah, new President of Liberia: On 22 January 2018, George Manneh Weah took the oath of office as Liberia’s 24th President, taking over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who presided Liberia for the last 12 years. UNHCR among other UN Agencies attended the ceremony. Liberia’s vice-president, Jewel Howard-Taylor, took over from former Vice President Joseph Boakai (Unity Party).
      Two of Weah’s main issues to tackle are corruption and unemployment, mainly affecting youth. More than 60 percent of Liberia's 4.6 million citizens are under 25, and many voted for President Weah.
      President Weah thanked UNMIL for its efforts in re-establishing peace and security following the two civil wars spanning over 14 years between 1989 and 2003.
    • One-year abolition of FGM: Before stepping down, former President Sirleaf signed on 19 January 2018 an Executive Order on Domestic Violence Bill and a one-year abolition of FGM for the girls under 18.
    • The African Development Bank (AfDB) commits USD10 million as budget support to George Weah’s administration: Speaking 15 January 2018 at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia, AfDB president Dr. Akinwumi Adesina also committed USD7 million to Liberia’s agricultural sector and an additional USD33 million to improve the energy sector.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    POPULATION OF CONCERN: 11,533 By country of origin

    WORKING WITH PARTNERS

    • UNHCR works with the Government of Liberia through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and provides funding to the following NGOs to provide protection and assistance in favor of refugees and asylum seekers:

    • Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA)

    • African Initiatives for Relief and Development (AIRD)

    • Special Emergency Activity to Restore Children’s Hope (SEARCH).

    Context Highlights

    2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections

    • On 29 December 2017, the National Elections Commission (NEC) declared Senator George M. Weah, candidate of the Coalition for Democratic Change, winner of the Presidential runoff election held on 26 December 2017. Weah attained 61.5 % of the votes, while his contender, Joseph Nyumah Boakai of the former ruling Unity Party attained 38.5% of the votes.
    • In a nationwide address, Boakai congratulated Weah and conceded his defeat appealing for unity. The elections were conducted in a peaceful manner and there were no incidents reported in any of the refugee camps in Liberia: PTP Camp (Grand Gedeh), Little Wlebo Camp (Maryland) and Bahn Camp (Nimba), or any of the hosting communities.
    • The UN Security Council encouraged the incoming government and the UN to continue to coordinate on the transfer of responsibilities, taking into account UNMIL’s closure at the expiration of its final mandate extension on 30 March 2018 -Resolution 2333 (2016).
    • The President-elect is due to be sworn in on 22 January 2018, taking over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who has presided Liberia for the last 12 years leading Liberia's transition from a 14- year civil war.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone

    POPULATION OF CONCERN: 11,557 By country of origin

    WORKING WITH PARTNERS

    UNHCR works with the Government of Liberia through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and provides funding to the following NGOs to provide protection and assistance in favor of refugees and asylum seekers:

    • African Initiatives for Relief and Development (AIRD)

    • Special Emergency to Restore Children's Hope (SEARCH)

    Context Highlights

    President George Weah faces criticism over call for citizenship to be granted to non/Negro descendents: Some Liberians have shown their opposition to Weah’s call to amend Articles 22a and 27b of the Liberian Constitution, which would allow people of non-Negro descent to become citizens of Liberia. Weah, addressing the Legislature in his first Annual Message to the Nation, described the two articles as “racist” and called for a repeal of the clauses of the constitution limiting citizenship to only those of Negro descent and limiting land ownership to only citizens.
    - The Chair of the House Committee on Good Governance declared that “If you give Liberian’s white counterparts the right to become citizens in Liberia and own properties, they have the money, and will buy all the land from our people”.
    - Other groups opposing the amendment of the Constitution include the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia and the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship, which represents Liberians in the Diaspora.

    Liberia secures more than USD55 million from World Bank and the French Government

    • On 1 February 2018, during the visit of the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the World Bank committed USD24.7 million, covering the Fourth Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Operation.
    • On 21 February 2018, Weah met with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in his first official travel to Paris as head of state. Macron announced a 10 million euro (USD12.31 million) grant for immediate road maintenance. In addition, Macron committed 15 million euro (USD 18.5 million) to create a "platform for transformation through sport in Africa", headed by the French Development Agency and the African Development Bank.
      • Weah also met the vice president of the World Bank, Makhtar Diop, and an additional budget support of USD20 million was announced to the Liberian government in June 2018.

    Liberian government calls for stronger action against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

    • UNHCR attended the ceremony on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM on 6 February 2018. The government, through the National Working Group Against FGM in collaboration with the UN, and civil society called for stronger actions to end FGM in Liberia, a practice currently been carried out in ten out of fifteen counties

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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Jason Patinkin

    FREETOWN — Partial results released Saturday in the race for Sierra Leone's new president show no one has a strong enough majority so far to win Wednesday's polls as election observers criticized the country's police for intimidating opposition members before and after the vote.

    With results in from 25 percent of polling stations from each of the country's 15 districts, the ruling All People's Congress party candidate, Samura Kamara, is in the lead with 44.6 percent of the vote, trailed by the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party's Julius Maada Bio, who garnered 42 percent so far, according to the country's independent National Electoral Commission (NEC).

    Third-party candidate Kandeh Yumkella of the newly formed National Grand Coalition, which had hoped to break decades of dominance by the country's two leading parties, earned just 6.6 percent of votes counted. There are 16 total presidential candidates.

    A presidential candidate needs to garner more than 55 percent of the vote to win in the first round, or else there will be a run-off between the top two candidates. The NEC will release another round of partial results once ballots from 50 percent of polling stations are counted.

    Analysts say this year's election is one of the most hotly contested polls in the West African country's recent history. Over three million Sierra Leonians were registered to cast ballots for a new president, parliament, mayors, and local councils.

    The APC ran on a track record of completing new roads and other infrastructure during the tenure of outgoing President Ernest Bai Komora, who must step down after serving two terms.

    But opposition groups have criticized the government for corruption and its handling of the 2014 ebola crisis and a 2017 mudslide in the capital, Freetown, twin disasters which together claimed thousands of lives.

    While Wednesday's voting took place mostly smoothly, two observer missions accused the police of misconduct before and after the vote.

    "Voters were able to exercise their democratic rights peacefully, however intimidation and instances of violence marred the election," said a preliminary report from the European Union observer mission, which deployed around 100 observers to the country, pointing to arrests of dozens of candidates and party campaigners in the run up to the vote.

    Another mission from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan expressed concern over an incident on Wednesday evening when police attempted to enter an SLPP headquarters, leading to a brief skirmish between officers and opposition supporters.

    The EISA mission termed the police's action as an act of "aggression" which threatened peace and security.

    Meanwhile, opposition groups have complained about flaws in the vote count.

    The NGC party said there were "blatant irregularities" and demanded a review of results from some polling stations. SLPP Secretary General Umaru Napoleon Komora said his party presented evidence to NEC of other alleged problems, including that their party agents at some polling stations were not supplied with copies of vote count forms for inspection.


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    Source: Leonard Cheshire Disability
    Country: World, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia

    Bridging the Gap

    Over the course of this three-year project, research teams in four countries (Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia) set out to better understand the relationship between disability and development in each country across four domains (education, health, labour markets and social protection). These countries were chosen as they demonstrate a range of socioeconomic stages of development. All have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

    We wanted to explore the hypothesis that as socioeconomic development improves access to healthcare, education, employment and social protection, people with disabilities are at risk of being left out or left behind, creating a disability and development gap. Our aim was to identify where the gap exists, see whether it widens as development progresses, and understand the mechanisms needed to close the gap.

    Methodology: This mixed-methods research used a range of interrelated components, including policy and secondary data analysis, a household survey of 4,839 households (13,597 adults and 10,756 children) and more than 55 focus group discussions, 65 key informant interviews and 130 in-depth interviews across the four countries.

    Key findings

    1. A disability and development gap exists.
    It exists even in countries where comprehensive policies are in place to support inclusion and equity. While there are variations across all countries and all domains, evidence suggests that as socioeconomic development increases, this gap increases. Adults and children with disabilities are thus at risk of being left behind in education, employment, healthcare and social protection compared to their non-disabled peers.

    2. The disability and development gap also exists at the household level.
    People with disabilities may be left behind compared to other members of their households as development progresses, for example in access to employment. The gap may continue to exist even in more advantaged households.

    3. Accountability mechanisms are missing. Even where policies are in place, a consistent finding across all the countries was weak implementation due to a lack of monitoring, specific budgetary allocation and accountability mechanisms. This limited the effectiveness of existing policies.

    4. Mainstreaming people with disabilities is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for equity.
    While current mainstream development efforts go some way towards addressing disability and poverty, they will not close the gap alone. Evidence shows that additional targeted and specific programming needs to be put in place to address and reduce the equity gap experienced by people with disabilities.

    5. Inequity is not static. Intervention strategies must consider that inequity between disabled and non-disabled populations is not static but dynamic. Ongoing effective interventions must work towards closing gaps and ensuring that they remain closed.


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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, World

    Tokyo – The Government of Japan has donated USD 30.5 million to support IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in its 2018 operations – assisting vulnerable migrants such as displaced persons, refugees, returnees and affected communities, in the midst of various conflicts and crises continuing around the world. With this donation, Japan will also support increasing the capacity of various governments in their humanitarian border management efforts.

    Almost half of the contribution (USD 14 million) has been allocated to support IOM programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, including in Sudan, the Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lesotho.

    In Asia, the Japanese funding will be used to respond to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, and will be put towards the provision of shelter, health assistance, and alternative fuels so as to preserve the forestry surrounding refugee sites. It will also assist vulnerable Afghan returnees from Iran with life-saving post-arrival humanitarian assistance, and fund the returns of skilled nationals from Iran.

    The Government of Japan has provided substantial funding for IOM activities in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Specific portions of the funding were designated for the regional response to the Syrian crisis, assistance to internally displaced persons in Iraq and improved border management in Libya.

    In Ukraine, the Japanese funding will support IOM’s efforts to enhance social cohesion amongst selected communities in the conflict affected Donbas region.

    The Government of Japan remains a strong partner of IOM. Its generous support has helped strengthen the organization’s humanitarian, transition, recovery, and peace building programmes, including through the delivery of immediate lifesaving relief; community stabilization and early recovery activities; emergency return and reintegration assistance for migrants caught in crises.

    For more information, please contact Yuko Goto at IOM Tokyo, Tel: + 81 3 3595 0108, Email: iomtokyo@iom.int


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    Source: UN Country Team in Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    By Harriet Mason, Communications Officer with UNICEF Sierra Leone

    KORTUHUN, Sierra Leone – Zainab Conteh and her team are on a mission to improve the quality of data received from health facilities in Bombali district, northern Sierra Leone.

    At the end of every month, the 112 health centres in the district are supposed to send data on more than 13 different areas of work, from the numbers of births and deaths, the types of illnesses being treated, and the numbers of women coming for antenatal and post-partum clinics. Until recently, most were not filling on time, and many were sending data that couldn’t be used.

    “When you don’t get complete or reliable data, it means that decisions you make will be misinformed,” said Zainab Conteh, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Bombali District Health Management Team (DHMT).

    With funding from USAID, UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) in the districts of Bombali, Tonkolili and Port Loko improve their data flows through supportive supervision, including health centre visits by the district monitoring and evaluation staff.

    When I joined them, their first stop was the health centre in Kortuhun village. “We are here to give them on-the-spot training and coaching,” said Zainab. “This will help guide them to capture the right data and collate them correctly, to improve the quality of data they provide to the DHMT and at national level,” she added.

    Strong health systems require effective information management systems. That means that the data are accessible and of a high quality – complete, timely, accurate and consistent. Over the years, MoHS in Sierra Leone has faced challenges in collecting, reporting and using quality data, and the Ebola outbreak 2014-2016, in particular, revealed weaknesses in the health management information system.

    To help address this, the Ministry set an objective to improve capacity for data management – and with funding from donors including the European Union, USAID and DFID, UNICEF supported the Ministry to establish the Directorate of Policy, Planning and Information.

    The Kortuhun health centre lies 65 minutes’ drive from the district town Makeni, serving a rural community where most people are subsidence farmers. The small centre sits on the edge of the village, surrounded by a green scenery. According to Margaret John, who works as a community health officer at the centre, supportive supervision is very useful as it helps them identify their weaknesses and offers them the opportunity to improve. “We have learnt a lot from this,” said Margaret. “Now we really know how to fill out our registers and tally our data in the correct way,” she added. She believes that these sorts of exercises allow health workers to have one-on-one mentoring.

    The work is already contributing to strengthening the district and national level health information systems with 99 per cent of all required reports being sent to national level – up from 60 per cent when the project began in September 2016; and 97 per cent of expected reports from all district sent to national level on time – up from 34 per cent.

    Although it has been a busy day, Margaret and her staff feel their time and energy wasn’t wasted: “It was worth it because our data management skills have improved,” she said. “I believe the data we will be sending from now on will be of high quality,” she added with a smile.

    As Zainab and her team review the updated data sheets of the Kortuhun health centre, they feel pleased that they visited. “Getting accurate data like this first time around from every health facility in the country will be a dream come true,” said Zainab. “The health system will not only be informed correctly, it will also be in a better position to make critical decisions that will ultimately help improve the health service delivery in the country, especially for women and children.”


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, World, Yemen

    Crisis is becoming a new normal in the world today. Over the past 30 years, the world has lost more than 2.5 million people and almost $4 trillion to natural disasters. In 2017 alone, adverse natural events resulted in global losses of about $330 billion, making last year the costliest ever in terms of global weather-related disasters. Climate change, demographic shifts, and other global trends may also create fragility risks. Currently, conflicts drive 80 percent of all humanitarian needs and the share of the extreme poor living in conflict-affected situations is expected to rise to more than 60 percent by 2030.

    In a world increasingly filled with risk, social protection systems help individuals and families cope with civil war, natural disaster, displacement, and other shocks. Social protection systems also help build human capital by connecting people to jobs, investing in the health and education of their children, and protecting the elderly and other vulnerable groups.

    Adaptive social protection systems (ASP) go one step further by helping ensure that these critical investments in human capital are not undermined by a crisis or shock. Such systems share many of the same features as regular social protection systems to help meet critical needs, but they also include features that allow us to know not just who is poor right now, but who is vulnerable to becoming poorer in the face of a shock, what they may need to recover, as well as how to finance and deliver support to them in times of crisis. These systems can then be used as a platform for other interventions in health, education, and other social services.  

    The World Bank is already helping countries develop systems for responding to crises through identifying risk through risk modeling and mapping, strengthening early warning systems, ensuring that a country has financial protection (e.g., insurance, catastrophe bonds) before a disaster, “building-better” and by investing in social protection.

    While the Bank traditionally works in the development sphere, we have increasingly been working in complement with humanitarian actors as we increase our engagement in fragile and conflict affected countries, and in responding to other shocks such as natural disasters and climate change.

    In response to the devastating food crisis in North-East Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen last March, the World Bank mobilized a $1.8 billion package consisting of 17 projects to deliver cash to affected population to enable purchase of food, strengthen community resilience, and maintain service delivery to the most vulnerable in those countries.  Famine in Yemen has been so far averted as a result of concerted efforts including those cash transfers.

    In 2015, the Government of Pakistan joined hands with the World Bank to launch the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Temporarily Displaced Persons Emergency Recovery Project (TDP-ERP) to support the return and rehabilitation of the displaced families through an early recovery cash grant program.

    And when pandemics such as Ebola struck, the Bank provided support for essential supplies and drugs, surges of foreign health workers to stricken communities, and psychosocial support for those affected by Ebola. The Bank also provided budget support to help the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone cope with economic impact of the outbreak and finance the scale-up of social safety net programs for people in these three countries.

    Given the critical role social protection systems can play in responding to crises and addressing vulnerability, we continue to partner with governments and other development and humanitarian actors to call for increased coverage of Social Protection systems to reduce the burden on humanitarian systems and put the government in the driver’s seat in responding to the shocks wherever possible.

    This week, approximately 240 policymakers from 70 countries are gathering in Frankfurt to discuss these important issues at the 7th South-South Learning Forum (SSLF). The event will cover all aspects of ASP from policies and programs for effective crisis response, sustainable financing, and information management systems, to all manner of shocks from natural disasters to refugees and economic crises. We look forward to learning from our colleagues from around the world.

    This is the first in a series of blogs on adaptive social protection. Click here to read about the South-South Learning Forum. Find out more about World Bank Group Social Protection on Twitter.

    You can also watch a moving slideshow about adaptive social protection here.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, occupied Palestinian territory, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

    YOKOHAMA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed the announcement of a US$72.3 million contribution from the Government of Japan. The generous infusion of funding will enable WFP to provide vital food and nutrition assistance in 23 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

    “WFP deeply appreciates this substantial injection of support from Japan which comes at a critical time when the organization is simultaneously responding to an unprecedented level of need for food assistance in countries such as Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Myanmar and South Sudan,” said Naoe Yakiya, Director of the WFP Japan Office. “Today, we are living in a world where 815 million people are hungry primarily due to conflicts. We are most grateful for Japan’s leadership in promoting the humanitarian-development-peace nexus through sustainable solutions that address urgent hunger needs and their underlying causes.”

    More than half of the funding provided by Japan, or US$40.5 million, will support WFP operations for the most vulnerable people affected by conflict and displacement in seven countries in the Middle East. This is in line with the pledge made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the UN Refugee Summit in September 2016 to provide US$2.8 billion in humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants, and support to host countries and communities from 2016 to 2018.

    WFP logistics operations will also benefit from Japan’s donation in Afghanistan and South Sudan, where the organization runs the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service, which provides critical air transport and cargo services for the entire humanitarian community.

    Japan’s allocations to WFP operations are broken down as follows:

    Yemen (US$16 million), Iraq (US$10 million), Syria (US$8.3 million), Myanmar (US$5.2 million), Somalia (US$4.5 million), South Sudan (US$4 million), Ethiopia (US$3 million), Turkey (US$2.8 million), Chad (US$2.5 million), Mali (US$2 million), Guinea (US$1.8 million), Niger (US$1.8 million), Sudan (US$1.5 million), Palestine (US$1.3 million), Afghanistan (US$1 million), Burkina Faso (US$1 million), Jordan (US$1 million), Malawi (US$1 million), Mauritania (US$1 million), Uganda (US$1 million), Sierra Leone (US$0.6 million), Swaziland (US$0.5 million), and Zimbabwe (US$0.5 million).

    # # #

    WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

    Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media @WFP_JP @WFPGovts

    For more information please contact:

    Eriha Hashimoto, WFP/Yokohama, Tel. +81 (0)3 5766 5364, Mob. +81 (0)90 9844 9990


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

    High levels of food insecurity persist in the world, due largely to conflicts and to adverse climatic shocks that are taking a toll, particularly in East African and Near East countries, where large numbers of people continue to be in need of humanitarian assistance, a new FAO report notes. Some 37 countries are in need of external assistance for food, unchanged from three months ago, according to the Crop Prospects and Food Situation report issued today.

    Civil war and insecurity are direct reasons for high hunger rates in 16 of those countries, ranging from Burundi to Yemen. Conflict is displacing millions of people, hampering agricultural activities and, in many cases, also driving basic food prices up sharply, the report notes. Inflation in the Democratic Republic of Congo more than doubled in 2017 to a 42 percent annual rate. Violence has disrupted traditional trade routes around the Sahel, driving up prices, while food shortages are reported around southern and eastern Libya. Meanwhile, inadequate and erratic rainfall poses a growing threat to food security in Southern Africa as well as in Eastern Africa, where many rural households have suffered from four consecutive drought-affected agricultural seasons.

    Dry weather impacts East Africa

    The overall cereal output rebounded in Africa in 2017, mostly due to strong gains in Southern Africa following the sharply reduced harvest in 2016. Cereal production in East Africa, however, saw a 7.2 percent drop, leading to increased stress in various countries. Recently-concluded harvests of secondary season cereal crops are forecast to be below average in southeastern Kenya, northeastern Tanzania and southern Somalia, the report warns.

    Aggregate cereal production from Somalia's "deyr" rainy season is estimated to be 20 percent below average as seasonal rains had a late start and an early cessation. A similar pattern in rainfall and yields was observed in northeastern Tanzania. South Sudan's cereal output from the 2017 planting seasons is estimated to be the smallest since the conflict started at the end of 2013.

    Drought conditions in parts of Ethiopia and Somalia have eased, but not enough to fully offset accumulated deficits in soil moisture. Pasture availability is still below average and livestock body conditions are generally poor. In Kenya, seasonal rainfall was up to 80 percent below average levels, warranting close monitoring of rangeland conditions in eastern areas of the country.

    Prices of staple cereals are also high in Ethiopia and the Sudan, where retail prices of sorghum, millet and wheat have doubled since last October in the majority of local markets. The price jump was triggered by the removal of government wheat subsidies, which increased demand for substitute cereals, and by weakening currencies.

    Unfavourable seasonal rains in southern Madagascar are expected to result in a further drop in crop yields in 2018, which, coupled with historically high prices of rice, should put additional stress to food security conditions especially in southern areas. Elsewhere, in Southern Africa, production is expected to fall from the record highs of 2017, heightening concerns about food security, which FAO flagged in a Special Alert issued last week.

    The 37 countries currently in need of external food assistance are Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.


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    Source: UN Development Programme
    Country: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Guinea, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, World

    In countries affected by fragility and conflict, state institutions (i.e. public administration) co-exist among formal and informal arrangements that mirror ineffective power arrangements. These arrangements are products from protracted power struggles between elites struggling to remain in power and control the distribution of rents and resources. The challenges facing situations of fragility and violent conflict are daunting and multidimensional. The strengthening of weak public institutions to enable them to perform the core functions of government lies at the heart of the process to start restoration or reform. Indeed, the 2030 Agenda confirms that effective and legitimate institutions are central to provide a secure social, economic and political environment for the broader objectives of poverty reduction, sustaining peace and development.

    This note aims to provide practitioners with useful guidance and up to date knowledge as they deliver policy and programme advice to national counterparts; and design and implement evidence-based programming to support countries in conflict-affected settings in restoring and/or reforming the civil service, which is indispensable for restoring or improving basic government functionality. The note does not aim to determine what should be done, when or for what types of governments; rather it lays out a series of priorities and concerns to keep in mind, based on UN learning from experience that will, it is hoped, enable more informed decision-making.

    This guidance note was produced in consultation with members of the UN Interagency Platform on Core Government Functions (CGFs) in Countries Impacted by Fragility and Conflict (IPCGF). The Interagency Platform is co-chaired by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Department of Political Affairs and comprises of the UN Secretariat and UN agencies, funds, and programmes mandated to and involved in supporting the strengthening of CGFs in fragile and conflict-affected settings. UNDP led the development of this guidance note with the generous support of the Government of Switzerland.


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    Source: African Union
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Addis Ababa, 15 March 2018: The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, wishes to congratulate the people of Sierra Leone for peaceful, transparent and credible General Elections. The Chairperson has taken note of the peaceful atmosphere within which the 7 March 2018 General Elections took place and wishes to seize the opportunity to applaud the efforts of all electoral stakeholders including political parties and the National Electoral Commission.

    The Chairperson further takes note of the fact the presidential election remains inconclusive and that, in line with the Constitution and the electoral laws of Sierra Leone, a second round will be held between the two leading candidates.

    In view of this, the Chairperson would like to appeal to all electoral stakeholders, particularly the candidates of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the All People’s Party (APC) to maintain peace and to do all they can to ensure the successful completion of the electoral process.

    The African Union remains committed to supporting the consolidation of democracy in Sierra Leone and in all its other member states through peaceful, transparent and credible electoral processes.


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