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Ranking 181/188 in the Human Development Index, Sierra Leone remains one of the countries with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates. According to the 2014 National Nutrition Survey, the Global Acute Malnutrition, Severe Acute Malnutrition and stunting (chronic malnutrition) rates in Sierra Leone stand at 4.7%, 1.0% and 28.8% respectively. The Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) signed up to various commitments in the context of regional and global movements. As part of the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G, London, 2013), the GoSL committed to reduce stunting in children under 2 to 11.7% and global acute malnutrition in children under 5 to 2% by 2020 while increasing exclusive breastfeeding to 70%. They also committed to increase funding for nutrition; create budget lines under Ministries of Health and Agriculture; and to ratify the Code of Marketing of Breast-milk substitutes (CMBS).

In May 2016 ACF in Sierra Leone conducted, in cooperation with the local NGO Focus 1000 and the SUN Movement civil society platform, a budget tracking of GoSL expenditure on nutrition from 2012 to 2015, as part of an analysis of the progress made on their commitments at the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G, London, 2013). This exercise is the very first to be done in the country on nutrition expenditure, and is an effective tool for the government’s accountability on their commitments. This advocacy report budget summarises the findings of this study and presents our recommendations for an improved funding for nutrition in Sierra Leone.

Main findings:

  • A budget line for nutrition was created within the Ministry of Health (for the Directorate of Food and Nutrition) and enabled an improvement of recording and thus accountability;
  • A budget line for nutrition created within the Ministry of Agriculture in 2014, but was never used;
  • The GoSL expenditure increased both for nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions between 2012 and 2015;
  • However in 2015 GoSL expenditure for nutrition still represented only 0.98% of the country’s GDP and 32% of the estimated cost of the implementation of 2015 activities comprised in the Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan.

Main recommendations:

  1. The FNSIP and its costed plan be monitored and evaluated on an annual basis;
  2. The GoSL ensure that line ministries develop a set of nutrition activities based on the FNSIP and are provided with adequate funding for nutrition;
  3. Activity codes are created for all FNSIP’s activities;
  4. MDAs are trained on the use of these new activity codes;
  5. Clarification is made on the set of activities from the FNSIP that the MAFFS budget line is meant to be associated with;
  6. Budget transparency on nutrition is improved by making the information on nutrition funding public;
  7. Action be taken by the GoSL to ensure timely disbursements.

These documents were presented to nutrition stakeholders in Sierra Leone (ministries’ representatives, parliamentarians, UN agencies, donors, civil society) during a workshop organised by ACF for the N4G media event in Rio that took place in Rio (Brazil) on 4th August.

You can consult the technical report here and the advocacy report on progress made on all N4G commitments here. For more information please contact Laetitia Battisti (advocacyexpert@sl.missions-acf.org), advocacy officer for ACF in Sierra Leone.

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