Sierra Leone

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.

  • As a starting point, REACH helped to prepare and organize, under a high-level leadership, a national nutrition forum where all main actors, including NGOs and donors, were represented. The forum identified key linkages and areas of collaboration between the health and the agriculture sector at all levels and initiated the preparation of a joint National Food and Nutrition Action Plan.  
  • Once finalized, this action plan was brought to a district-level nutrition planning workshop with extended support from the REACH facilitators.
  • Finally, the work was further guided by REACH-supported operational research into potential nutrition value chain opportunities that would help create nutrition-sensitive agriculture and rural development. 

In particular:

  • REACH carried out of a comprehensive nutrition and food security situation analysis for Sierra Leone.
  • REACH facilitated a mapping exercise of nutrition and food security stakeholders and their activities in Sierra Leone.
  • With support from REACH, Sierra Leone defined for the first time key priority interventions in nutrition and food security. This is critical for prioritization of interventions in an economy that needs to achieve maximum impact from its limited resources. The five priority areas selected in Sierra Leone are:
    • improvement of breastfeeding and complementary feeding;
    • improvement of diarrhoea and parasite control;
    • treatment of acute malnutrition;
    • improvement of household food security;
    • improvement of maternal nutrition and education.

Source: Google Maps

Poverty & nutrition facts

  • 60% of population lives below the poverty line
  • 34.1% of children under 5 years old are stunted
  • 6.9% of children under 5 years old are wasted
  • 18.7% of children under 5 years old are underweight

Additional country information


© WFP 2012