Statistics and Evidence
In international development work, the role of statistics cannot be undervalued. Without reliable statistics, the impact and effectiveness of development work will be based on superficial results. Hence, reliable data is key to successful implementation of our programmes. We believe that without trustworthy statistics and evidence, we would not be able to understand whether our programmes are fit for purpose or whether they work for families and communities. We aim to invest in areas where statistics show that our programmes will make positive impact. Hence, improving the quality of education, tackling undernutrition, providing access to information and youth development are areas we aim to invest in. Our projects will contain full impact appraisals as well as public perception surveys and systemic assessments to monitor progress.
Evidence on Poverty
In past years, there has been small, but significant increase in per capita GDP, and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) (see table below). In 1990, PPP was $1,330 and, increased to $1,865 in 2013. However, poverty remains stubbornly high. In 1990, 75% of Sierra Leoneans lived on less than $2 per day. In the same period, 63% of citizens lived on less than $1.25 per day. This is unacceptable in a world of plenty.
A Gini index of 35 (table on left below ) also indicates high socio-economic inequalities. The Poor gets poorer, and the Rich gets richer. Research here shows that the Poor find it extremely difficult to access finances; thereby stifling wider wealth creation, which in turn exacerbate inequality in Sierra Leone. We also found out that only a small elite group of people has adequate access to finance and economic opportunities. However, this group has no interest in involving the poor in economic expansion for common good. As a result, Sierra Leone’s pre Ebola economic growth was far from inclusive.
Note: all our programmes will be aligned with the (SDGs) Sustainable Development Goals
Evidence on Nutrition
The tables below allow us to again understand issues impeding development in Sierra Leone, and why we make these issues our priority. A constant thorn in the development process in Sierra Leone is high rate of infant (0-5 years old) mortality. According to available data, out of every 1000 live births, there are presently 161 deaths. Our findings also highlighted the issue of undernutrition and poor medical care as main causes of infant deaths in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone suffers chronic problems of undernutrition. In 2010:
- 417,000 children (0-5 years old) suffered from stunting – 86,000 children suffered from wasting – (9%) of the child population
- 4% of children (0-5 years old), were victims of severe wasting – [table on the left]
- 11% of children (0-5 years old), had less than the acceptable weight at birth – [table on the left]
- Stunting was prevalent in 45% of children (0-5 years old) – [middle table]
Evidence on Education
By 2020 GoSL needs to increase present education capacity to 56%, this is to accommodate the rapid increase in primary and lower secondary school enrolment. It is expected that, enrolment for children of primary school going age (6-11 years old), will increase from 0.98 million in 2010 to 1.32 million in 2020, and that enrolment for children of junior secondary school going age (12-14 years old), will increase from 395,000 to 506,000 (UNESCO, 2013). This is a huge task for a government that is struggling with the aftermath of Ebola, and the problems of youth employment. Although, GoSL spends large amount (circa 50% in 2010) of its education budget on primary education, only 3.2% of that money was spent on (TVET) Technical and Vocational Education Training. This needs to change since we believe that TVET can be main driver for socio-economic change.
Education: Factors impacting quality
- Very low amount of education budget is spent on teachers salaries
- Underutilization of teachers at secondary school level
- Supply and demand side of the social and economic scale greatly influence educational attainment
Evidence on Gender Imbalances in Education
Gender disparities have also contributed to lack of quality outcomes in the education sector in Sierra Leone. The teaching profession is male dominated. In 2010/2011:
- Only 25% of primary school teachers were women
- Only 14% of Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) teachers were women
- Only 8% of teachers at Senior Secondary Schools were women
Qualification issues in the education sector
In 2010 – 2011
- Less than half of active teachers were qualified at their levels or position
- 52% of primary school teachers were less qualified
- 41% of JSS teachers where less qualified
- 31% of SSS teachers where less qualified
Working with leaderships in communities, we seek to enhance teaching methods, improve the training system for teachers and make the teaching profession attractive to women.
What is A-fID doing about these?
We are seeking to reverse a trend in economic and social poverty, by concentrating our efforts in four areas (quality of education, nutrition, information and youth development). We believe opportunities in these areas allow the poor to move out of poverty and sanction Sierra Leone’s economic development in a structured way. Our programmes will ensure that people become employable and are able to use skills & knowledge to improve their living standards. Our programmes will seek to prepare children for high socio-economic productivity in adulthood.
Together with partners:
- We seek to create 250 young entrepreneurs by 2020. They will be catalysts to social and economic transformation in their communities.
- We aim to impart knowledge using our information to empower centres
- We will set up 20 of these centres by 2020
- We aim to improve the quality of education and make teaching profession attractive to women
- We will train 100 female teachers and 100 male teachers by 2020
- We seek to give children (0-5 years old) better life chances by providing free, healthy and well-timed nutrition.
- By 2020, we aim to reduce stunting in children (0-5 years old) by 20%, and reduce wasting by 10%
- We aim to provide free basic healthcare for young mothers benefiting from our nutrition programmes
- We aim to change perceptions on nutrition
Note: the under 5 population in Sierra Leone in 2012 was 928,000. Out of this number, almost 600,000 suffered some form of disease related to undernutrition. Number one in under 5s mortality – 182 of every 1000 child die before the age of 5 years old (UNICEF, 2012).