Education to reduce gaps in Sierra Leone
Higher employment and reducing gaps are key in maintaining the peace and strengthening democracy in Sierra Leone. The country’s young people, who have been suffering tremendously as a result of the war, are in great need of education.
According to the strategy for development cooperation with Sierra Leone 2009 - 2013, we support the education sector as expressed in Sierra Leone's national education plan. In 2009, Sweden entered into an agreement for support to basic education in Sierra Leone for three years. The total amount was SEK 70 million. These funds have not been fully utilized, partly because of capacity problems. When such things happen, it may be a need to reclaim funds not spent.
Sida has no representation in the country, monitoring and dialogue has taken place through cooperation with other donors and through visits by Sida staff. Now we are planning for a responsible phasing-out of our cooperation with Sierra Leone, according to decisions taken by the Swedish government. A plan has been prepared and our support will be completed in December 2012.
Major efforts still required
The country’s situation is troublesome. Many people cannot read and there is great poverty. Sierra Leone also has the world’s highest maternal and child mortality figures.
Conflicts can escalate quickly. The high level of youth unemployment is also causing many youngsters to become involved in crime or prostitution.
The work of creating a functioning society has taken longer than expected. The UN’s peace-building commission, which was established in 2006, has therefore selected Sierra Leone for one of its first projects. Sweden was one of the countries that were selected to work with Sierra Leone. Our efforts within the education sector was part of this project.
Humanitarian aid, if necessary, can still be provided after the long-term development cooperation has been phased out.