Results and evaluation of the programme in Sierra Leone

In 2007 the Sierra Leone programme developed according to plan. The community-based programme was continued and was improved in terms of exit strategy and sustainability planning. Involving large numbers of people in a range of activities made it possible to create positive dynamics and to establish a stronger social cohesion in the communities. One of the perceived outcomes is increased respect and support for children and youth by their caregivers.

While implementing its rural community programme, War Child has perceived that the lack of future prospect for youth is one of the major factors that push them to Freetown. Once in town, many of them end on the streets in the slums. Within this context, War Child has realised there may be a need to broaden its view to other potential areas (see Prospect for further information).

Education pilot project
Non-formal education activities were launched successfully. One of the main lessons learned is the importance of further integrating life skills, literacy & numeracy and livelihood skills training.

Survey of the 2005-2006 community-based programme
In 2007, a survey report on the 2005-2006 community-based programme was published. It provided valuable input that helped improve the programme itself and to gave insight on how the measure the effect of psychosocial programmes. Some of the main conclusions include:

  • More play facilities are available to children and youth due to the creation of safer play areas. 
  • Children and adults are more awareness of the rights and responsibilities of children. The study also shows a positive change in attitude among adults. 
  • Adults support their children more then before. Parents are taking more time for their children and feel better equipped to help their children in solving problems.
  • Communication and mutual respect between children and adults improved. Both groups indicated that this has been caused by the programme.
  •  After the first year of the programme, children and youth were allowed to be more involved in decisions concerning their daily life.

Girl in front of chalkboard 2007 Programme evaluation
In December 2007 an evaluation was conducted to measure results in all 22 communities in which activities had been carried out that year. The conclusion was that the objectives have for the most part been achieved. With regard to raising awareness of child rights, it was shown that most caregivers gained and applied knowledge about care and protection of children. In many cases however, foster children were not given the same rights as biological children. In terms of community cohesion, great improvement was perceived in the involvement of children in community matters and in the interaction between community members (adults and children); but the fact remains that girls were not as often consulted as boys. The involved communities will take these learnings into account when defining objectives for 2008.

The evaluation clearly showed a difference between results achieved by those communities where War Child was active for the second year and those participating for the first time. Communities participating for the second time achieved better results across the board, thus confirming the value of a two-year intervention.

Lessons learned
Among the general lessons learned and developments regarding the 2007 programme in Sierra Leone are:

  • War Child's exit strategy for community based-programmes was revised. Lessons learned from discontinuing community-based projects in 2005 produced the following results: Planning of actions and sustainability improved; the communities were better informed about the steps to be taken, about the programme's gradual discontinuation and about the responsibilities of community structures. 
  • The evaluation of non-formal education activities indicated that learners made considerable progress. Problems did arise however, due to the fact that the training methodology turned out to of limited inappropriateness; the particular method and the vocabulary did not fit with the learners' background and daily context. All non-formal educational activities should primarily focus on livelihood education. Literacy, numeracy, and life skills training should become complementary elements with a direct link to the livelihood education. 
  • Partnerships: cooperation between War Child and the livelihood partners did not run smoothly. In addition to the developed monitoring tools, there should be more clarity and structure in terms of communication and coordination between War Child and its partners.
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17 year old Sorie from Sierra Leone

17 year old Sorie from Sierra Leone was kidnapped by rebels when he was very young. Extreme violence became part of his daily life.

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