FAO in Sierra Leone

Success stories

The outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease has a multi-sectoral adverse impact in Sierra Leone, including on agriculture, which is one of the major income generating sector in the country. The outbreak caused the disruption of farming activities, the closure of periodic markets, price volatility, and the depletion of revolving funds of individual farmers and groups.

In the framework of its support to the government of Sierra Leone, FAO received timely financing from the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) to mitigate the negative effects of the outbreak on farmers' livelihoods.

The declaration of the end of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone brought relief to the government and citizens, after a 72 week-long outbreak that has caused over 3 500 deaths and disrupted economic and livelihood activities.

In order to help cushion the adverse effect of the outbreak on the farming communities in the country, the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF)  provided timely financing to FAO. Mr. David Mwesigwa, FAO’s Head of Programme Implementation, explains that thanks to these funds, an assessment of randomly sampled Agribusiness Centres (ABCs) was conducted across the country in July 2015 to ascertain the impact of the outbreak on their farming activities, and identify areas and beneficiaries for immediate support.

Robust social mobilization activities including sensitization has largely contributed to the increase in the survival rate. In August 2014, 127 agriculture extension agents across Sierra Leone were trained on social communication to engage the farming communities in thirteen districts with preventive and behavior change messages on Ebola control through community meetings, sensitizations and radio discussions. This was made possible thanks to joint collaboration between the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, FAO and UNICEF.

Last 24 May 2015 marked one year since the first case of the Ebola Virus Disease was reported in the country. FAO toured three districts in the South, East and Northern Provinces to assess the impact of the social mobilization activities.