REACH initiated operations in Sierra Leone in 2010 to address the underlying causes of mother and child undernutrition. These included a lack of harmonization among health-based and agriculture-based nutrition strategies, as well as a poor understanding of how to address nutrition problems and a corresponding low level of political commitment.
Over two years, REACH assisted the government in forging stronger linkages between agriculture, health and nutrition policies and programmes at national and subnational levels. REACH is currently in its final transition phase of mainstreaming its contribution into national sustainable mechanisms for nutrition governance.
The Government of Sierra Leone has embraced REACH recommendations to improve planning and management. This will optimise the use of scarce national resources and maximise nutritional impacts, especially in vulnerable populations. The Government has also shown commitment to using the findings and recommendations to improve policy formulation, programming and advocacy in key ministries. This will mainstream nutrition and food security and strengthen integrated planning, accountability and transparency in the National Agriculture Development Plan. A special emphasis will be placed on a smallholder commercialisation programme, as well as on nutrition programming in health and gender.
REACH recent work in Sierra Leone is a successful story about engaging with UN agencies and their partners in a country.
Focusing on bringing together the health-based and the agriculture-based nutrition strategies into a harmonized approach, within a two-year period REACH helped to dramatically change the understanding of how to address nutrition problems in Sierra Leone and to raise the level of political commitment with regard to preventing mother and child undernutrition.