SIERRA LEONE. National Population Policy for Development,
Progress and Welfare (Government Notice No. 82), 2 April 1993. (Sierra
Leone Gazette, Vol. 124, No. 15, 2 April 1993, pp. 73-81.)
1. BACKGROUND AND BASIC PRINCIPLES
1. Since Sierra Leone won independence in 1961, the Government
has been firmly committed to national development, social progress, self-reliance
and people's welfare. Sustained national development efforts have been
geared for well over two decades towards the furtherance of these fundamental
goals. The gross domestic product rose at the rate of 4 per cent per annum
during 1965-73. This rate declined to some 2.53 per cent during 1974-79
and since 1980 has virtually dropped to zero, largely due to unfavourable
trends in the world economy. In recent years, the Government has adopted
structural adjustment and economic recovery programmes with a target growth
rate in the gross domestic product of 3 per cent per annum. With population
growing currently at the rate of 2.7 per cent per annum, output per head
and people's living standards have been declining significantly during
2. The first Development Plan (1974/75-1978/89) drew attention
to the drag on the development process caused by rapid population growth
as early as in 1974 and even visualized the need for an institutional machinery
such as the National Population Commission. The draft Second Development
Plan further elaborated on this theme with special reference to women,
education, migration etc. During 1978-82 the Government designed and implemented
a project with UNFPA financial support and ILO technical co-operation to
integrate population concerns in development planning and policy which
led the way to the setting up of the National Population Commission in
1982 whose terms of reference include, inter alia, co-ordinating,
promoting and integrating population activities in the development process
and formulating a national population policy. Careful preparatory multi-disciplinary
technical work has been carried out by national experts towards this end
over the last few years. The time is now ripe to formulate and implement
a national population policy for Sierra Leone and its people. It would
confirm national commitment, provide a clear focus and impart identity
of purpose, a sense of urgency and fresh impetus to the multiple population
activities to be developed and implemented by numerous agencies.
3. In adopting a national population policy, basic principles
contained in paragraphs 4-9 below should be regarded as fundamental.
4. Population policy is no panacea or substitute for development policy. National development should be pursued vigorously and action in regard to population should be viewed as supportive in nature. Population and development should be viewed as two sides of the same coin and both sets of policy measures should be fully integrated.
5. Population policy does not address the issue of the
carrying capacity of Sierra Leone land and other resources i.e. whether
the country is over or under-populated on which views may diverge widely.
Its main focus is on current and prospective rapid population growth which
poses additional serious problems to economic development and social progress,
which have to confront at the same time, acute resource constraints.
6. Family Planning is usually an important component of
population policy but it should not be equated with population control.
Access to family planning services enhances the health and welfare and
enlarges the options open to families, especially women.
7. It is the sovereign prerogative of the Government and
the people of Sierra Leone to deal with and resolve their population problems
in the best way possible. This principle shall be scrupulously upheld in
accepting external population assistance.
8. Population policy should be humane and responsible,
fully respecting individual freedoms and rights as well as religious beliefs
and cultural values.
9. The national policy should recognize that all couples
and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly on
the number and the spacing of their children and to have information, education
and the means to do so. Only those means or methods deemed morally acceptable,
scientifically-sound, culturally appropriate and economically feasible
should, in practice, be made available in the implementation of the policy.
* * *
IV. NATIONAL POPULATION POLICY GOALS OBJECTIVES AND
29. Population policy should reinforce and enrich national
development, especially human resource development, improve the quality
of life of the people and enhance human welfare and dignity. Special emphasis
should be laid on regulating population quantity enhancing population quality
and on improving the health and welfare of women and children. The mutual
interplay between population and development should be constantly borne
30. In more specific terms, the goals of the national
population policy include the following:
(a) to make development planning and policy more
comprehensive and effective by the incorporation of the demographic dimension;
(b) to achieve a rate of growth of the population
that would be sustainable by the economy;
(c) to contribute towards meeting the basic needs
of the people and enhancing the quality and utilisation of the nation's
(d) to promote the health and welfare of the people
especially those in the high risk groups of mothers and children;
(e) to moderate initially the expected rise in
and later to reduce progressively population growth rates through the spread
of voluntary family planning and small family norms so as to facilitate
the attainment of national economic and social targets;
(f) to guide rural-urban migrations, so as to minimise
socio-economic problems and optimize benefits to migrants and non-migrants
alike in rural as well as urban areas.
31. In order to achieve these goals, the objectives of
the national population policy should include the following:
(a) to improve the demographic knowledge base,
i.e. data collection, processing, analysis, projections and research on
population, and development interaction on regular basis;
(b) and to actively promote and facilitate the
utilization of the knowledge base in social and economic planning, policies
and projects etc.
(c) to promote, clarify and sharpen the awareness
and understanding among leaders and the public at large of population and
development problems and issues;
(d) to provide men and women with information and
education on the value of reasonable family size and child spacing to improve
the welfare of the family and its members, the community and the nation;
(e) to pay special attention to selected groups
such as young persons and women of reproductive age, members of organised
groups in providing information and education relating to family life,
fertility regulation, etc.
(f) to improve the quality and availability of
maternal and child health care services so as to reduce infant, child and
maternal morbidity and mortality;
(g) to make family planning means and services
to all couples and individuals easily accessible at affordable cost and
to actively promote the acceptance of contraceptive practice;
(h) to design and implement programmes of integrated
rural and urban development, to moderate and orient rural urban migration;
(i) to review the existing legislation as it pertains
to key areas of population policy and provide for the improved quality
of life so as to enhance the welfare of men, women and children.
32. In view of the weaknesses in available population,
health and other relevant statistics, the current socio-economic situation
and the stage of policy and programme development, it would be premature
at present to attempt to set quantitative targets for the national population
policy. However, to facilitate implementation of the policy in the spheres
of family planning and related information and educational activities the
norms below are set forth to serve as indicative guide posts:
(a) Women should be encouraged to have a small
family say, 3-4 children;
(b) Age at first pregnancy should preferably be
16 years or higher;
(c) The birth interval should preferably be 24
months or more.
V. STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES
33. Population growth and other parameters influence and are influenced by different development programmes to varying extent. Under the national population policy, the utilisation of demographic data, projections etc. in various development processes will be further . . . intensified. For moderating population growth, for the present the primary focus of the policy will be on developing family planning and related mother and child health and educational activities, raising the status of women etc. As more insights are gained on the interplay between demographic and socio-economic factors, the scope of population policy to moderate fertility will be broadened.
34. Family planning and related information and education
components are at the centre of the national population policy in three
ways: improving the health and welfare of mothers, children and the family;
raising the status of women; and reducing fertility and population growth
which facilitate socio-economic and human resource development. Family
planning should be closely integrated with health services, especially
its maternal and child health component, and be fully supported by vigorous,
imaginative and many sided programmes of education and information. Effective
health measures and better education and living conditions directly affect
morbidity, mortality and fertility, improvement in women's role, and status
in the family, society and economy through such means as better education,
income generating opportunities etc. [and] hold the key to the success
of national and human resource development as well as of family planning.
Broadening access to education and expanding employment opportunities can
contribute towards fertility reduction less directly but they are at the
same time vital to the development of human resources.
35. Family planning programmes should be developed and
expanded progressively within the context of primary health care and related
36. The integration of family planning service delivery
with maternal and child health care provides an appropriate channel of
entry into the national primary health care strategy.
37. Family planning should be supported by appropriate
measures in spheres of law, education, social services etc. to protect
and promote the family as the basic unit of society.
38. Family planning services should include services to
sterile and sub-fertile couples and individuals, subject to available resources.
39. National family planning programmes should endeavour
to make available a variety of contraceptive methods to allow free choice
40. Appropriate health personnel should receive orientation
in family planning techniques through pre-service or in-service training.
Family planning matters should be incorporated in the curricula of medical,
nursing and other health professions. The training should include communication
approaches more responsive to local cultural values and individual couples'
41. Adequate arrangements should be made for the provision
of Staff, supplies, equipment and other facilities for the promotion and
delivery of family planning services. This should also include:
(a) expansion of static and mobile maternal and
child health family planning clinics;
(b) intensification of community-based delivery
systems of contraceptives to cover those not reached by the conventional
(c) distribution of conventional non-prescriptive
contraceptives, i.e. those not requiring medical prescriptions, through
the extension staff of appropriate sectoral ministries e.g. extension workers
responsible for rural development, social welfare adult education, etc.;
(d) where feasible, the provision by appropriate
sectoral ministries of family planning motivation and referral arrangements
for counselling and service to health outlets equipped for family planning.
42. Voluntary organizations, such as the Planned Parenthood
Association have been pioneers in the national family planning movement.
Such organizations should be provided with the appropriate encouragement
and support to enable them to continue to make their due contribution to
43. Adolescent fertility constitutes a serious health,
social and economic risk to young girls. Educational and information activities
should be backed up by readily accessible family planning counselling and
services oriented towards both girls and boys. There is need for research
on the incidence of adolescent fertility.
44. Relevant legislation should be reviewed with a view
to liberalising the sale, distribution and advertising of contraceptives
and access to family planning services. The special needs of young people
should be borne in mind in this review.
Health/Maternal and Child Health
45. Primary health care as the national strategy to ensure
health for all should be strengthened and expanded and proper emphasis
should be laid on its component relating to maternal and child health,
including family planning, as well as that of community participation.
46. Health and family planning manpower base should be
broadened to include, after appropriate training, nursing aids (SCHM) the
traditional birth attendants (TBA), traditional healers/herbalists and
other community volunteers (VMAs). Research in traditional health care
including family planning should be intensified to establish elements of
scientific basis that may exist and to extend utilisation of valid elements
of such care in the health services.
47. Special attention should be paid to health and nutrition
education of mothers complemented by effective food and nutrition programmes
for mothers and children. Particular emphasis should be laid on the promotion
of breast feeding. Local weaning foods, at reasonable price, should be
identified and their use should be actively encouraged.
48. In maternal and child health/family planning services
child spacing should be systematically promoted.
49. Wherever feasible, specific programmes should be devised
and put into effect to reduce the incidence of high risk births which occur
below the age of 18 years, over the age of 35 years, at intervals of less
than two years and more than four children in number. Special emphasis
should be laid on the education of these women in family planning as a
preventive and promotional health measure.
50. The expanded programme of immunization for women and
children should aim at achieving universal coverage as early as possible.
Information, Education and Communication
51. Information and Education strategy must play a key
role in dispelling misconceptions, doubts, traditional attitudes etc. in
population and family formation issues. This requires multipronged and
sustained action which is a pre-requisite to firm commitment to national
population policy by leaders and the public at large and the translation
of the policy into practice through adoption of contraceptive practice
and the small family norm by many couples. Numerous channels of communication
should be utilized and various target audiences should be addressed with
multiple educational contents and messages adapted to different needs.
52. Communication strategies which would be used through
the most suitable forms of media should be [devised] and utilized, to sensitize
leaders and the public opinion to population and family welfare issues.
This would need to be followed up by education and information processes
oriented towards smaller groups, families and individuals to promote better
understanding of the issues.
53. Seminars and meetings should be held to further sensitize,
to promote understanding of and to build consensus among leadership groups
on the population policy. The target group may include political leaders;
religious leaders; leaders drawn from industry, labour, co-operative and
other organised economic entities; representatives of medical, legal professions;
paramount chiefs; leaders of traditional secret societies etc.
54. Seminars of an in-depth nature or with greater technical
contents would be organised for policy makers, professionals, senior executives
etc. from various ministries, the University and professional institutes
for promoting better understanding of and enlisting their co-operation
and support for the population policy and its implementation.
55. Population education, including family life education,
should be incorporated in the educational activities of various ministries
such as those in the spheres of education, information, rural development,
social welfare, agriculture, labour, etc. In this context, it would be
most desirable to provide for education/orientation of the relevant professional
and extension staff of the ministries concerned.
56. Special efforts should be made to incorporate family
life education in the programmes of adult education, functional literacy
for the benefit of new literates, etc.
57. The organised sectors of the economy such as mines,
industry, trade unions, co-operatives etc. should receive special attention
since their existing educational and welfare facilities or programmes can
be readily adapted and uitlized at low cost with good result in short and
medium term for the propagation of population and family life education
among the population groups concerned. The educational efforts should be
linked with family planning counselling and services from health services
of industrial undertakings wherever feasible.
58. Consideration should be given to entrust the responsibility
to a central unit with expertise in developing prototype training modules
and educational and communication materials for integrating population
and family life elements in the educational programmes for adult audiences.
The instructional packages should be flexible for adoption for use for
different target audiences by the educational specialist of the implementing
agencies and institutions. Arrangements should be made for the training
of trainers in the use of these materials.
59. Family life education and family planning counselling
should be directed equally towards men as well as women to inculcate the
sense of joint responsibility in matters of sexual relations and family
60. Population education which has been incorporated into
secondary schools as part of social studies should be intensified and its
extension in appropriate forms to primary schools, technical and vocational
training institutions the university etc. should be progressively carried
out with a view to inculcating responsible sexual behaviour, marriage and
parenthood among the younger generation. The integration of population
education into Science, Home Economics, Biology and other subjects will
also be intensified.
61. Special educational programmes in family welfare planning
may be designed for out-of-school youths as well as for parents and guardians
as specific target groups.
62. Non-government organizations with primary focus of
interest elsewhere such as trade unions, workers education bodies, co-operatives
etc. should be encouraged and assisted in taking up or incorporating in
their on-going programmes population and family life education. Established
organization active in population and family life education should also
be appropriately assisted. They should benefit from and contribute to common
facilities and services set up by public authorities. As appropriate, they
should be used for the delivery of conventional contraceptives to their
63. Since a multiplicity of public agencies and other
bodies would be involved in information and education activities relating
to population and family welfare education, arrangements should be made
for pooling and sharing of experience and expertise and working out ways
and means of mutual collaboration.
Women in Development
64. Improvement in women's roles in the family society
and economy and women's effective practice of fertility regulation are
mutually reinforcing since high fertility is rooted in large measure to
women's socio-economic status, marital instability and insecurity in old
age. Purposeful involvement of women in rational development therefore
contributes directly to fertility reduction.
65. Census, survey and service statistics in spheres such
as health, education, employment should provide whatever feasible, separate
data sets for women. Women's participation in economic activities and contribution
to national income are grossly underestimated in labour force statistics
and national accounts. Efforts should be made, including field research,
to ensure better documentation of women's economic contribution in future.
66. Women's education should be promoted at all levels
and in various forms. Parents should be encouraged to send their girls
to school and try to ensure they complete this schooling. Young women should
be encouraged and assisted in taking up technical and vocational study
and training. Girls dropping out from the school due to early pregnancy
and child care responsibility should be enabled to re-enter formal and
nonformal education streams. Special efforts should be made to enable women
to benefit fully from adult education and functional literacy programmes.
67. Women should be enabled to benefit fully from the
various public extension services such as in the spheres of agriculture,
credit and marketing, rural development, social welfare etc. and their
specific needs and interests should be adequately met. In particular, to
lighten the heavy burden of work of rural women, the application of appropriate
labour-saving technology should be promoted in agriculture, cottage industry
and domestic chores through ready access to potable water, fuel and other
energy sources etc.
68. In recognition of the dual role of women as mothers
and workers, day-care centres for infants and children should be provided
on a voluntary basis wherever feasible.
69. Programmes designed to promote skill formation and
income generating opportunities for women should be intensified. In this
context, women co-operatives and other groups should be organised and strengthened
to further defend their interests and facilitate their access to credit,
raw materials, technology, marketing, etc.
70. Socio-economic, family and personal status laws should
be reviewed with a view to eliminating unjust, unfair or discriminatory
treatment of women. Special attention may be paid in this context to laws
relating to child marriage, child legitimacy and guardianship rights and
responsibilities, adoption family relations, inheritance and property rights
and labour. Consideration should be given to fixing 16 years as the minimum
legal age at marriage for girls. Support would be provided for the Women
Bureau at the Ministry of Rural Development, Social Services Youth and
Women [and for] the Women Association for National Development (WAND).
71. Education is the major means to develop the capacity
of the human mind, alter individual perceptions, induce change in the value
system and behaviour and transform the society including norms of family
formation as integral part of the social system as a whole. The educational
process is of a long-term nature. But the incorporation of population issues
in this process referred to earlier has effects in the short and medium-term
on norms and values relating to family size etc. General educational development
issues considered here influence the latter indirectly but are vital for
national and human resource development.
72. Every effort should be made to attain the national
goal of universal primary education as soon as possible. The problem of
high drop-out rates should be tackled keeping in mind the socio-economic
content and the needs of the labour market. Primary education should become
effectively available, free and compulsory, matched by legislation on the
prohibition of child labour and its effective enforcement. This may remove
an inducement to large family size when children would no longer supplement
73. Special attention should be attached to increasing
the enrollment rate for girls and achiev[ing] reduction in their high drop-out
rate to enable their further participation in national development.
74. There should be an increasing technical and vocational
bias in education at the secondary and higher levels. Current and prospective
high unemployment prevalent among the educated reflects, inter alia,
the mismatch between the output of the education system and the needs of
the labour market. Education and manpower planning should be dovetailed.
75. Continuing high priority should be attached to programmes
of adult education and functional literacy undertaken by various bodies.
Spread of literacy and education is conducive to national development and
cohesion and, as a by-product, would facilitate access to and the understanding
of population and family welfare education and information.
Labour and Employment
76. Productive work is the main source of livelihood of
the vast majority of the people of Sierra Leone and largely determines
their living standards. Indirectly, employment and income from work provide
the frame of family resources to meet the needs of family members and hence
an important factor in pointing to the size of the family which can be
afforded a decent living. However, the general level of employment and
income that the national economy can sustain hinges significantly on the
world economic context as well as broad national development policies and
programmes. It would be out of place here to enter into the issues of national
employment strategy or its international dimension. However, a few general
observations may be in order for greater development and utilisation of
77. There would appear to be scope for the development
of self employment and income generating activities. For this purpose,
technical managerial and entrepreneurial skills would need to be developed
and appropriate support in regard to training common services for power,
transport, credit and marketing facilities etc. would be needed.
78. Comprehensive manpower labour force planning should
be initiated without delay. Employment and manpower planning can provide
some indicators for development and education strategy. As regards the
latter, emphasis should be laid on vocational and technical education tailored
to the needs of the labour market for this purpose, vocational guidance
and counselling services should be increased. Outside the educational systems,
there should be accelerated training for skills where current and prospective
labour supply would not otherwise be able to match the demand of the employment
79. However, for the bulk of the labour force, labour
intensive methods of production, where appropriate, would raise employment
and income. There would appear to be good scope for this approach in agriculture,
rural development construction etc. and in the development of agro-based
80. Population pressure is a factor in upsetting the balance
between man, natural resources and the environment. A clean and healthy
environment is an important aspect of the quality of life.
81. Policy measures should be envisaged for the conservation
of land, air and water resources including the following:
(a) enforcement of laws on reforestation, forest
conservation and marine preservation;
(b) legislation on siting of industries;
(c) protection of the environment through the control
of industrial pollutions;
(d) land rehabilitation by the mining industry.
82. Environmental issues should be included in formal
and informal education and functional literacy programmes. The mass media
should be utilized to create awareness and to sensitize public opinion
on this subject.
Migration and Urbanisation
83. Excessive rural-urban migration stems partly from
population pressure. Successful implementation of family planning programmes
would moderate urban population growth, especially in Freetown area.
84. The development of the rural economy and the improvement
of living conditions of the rural community through extension services,
self-help and other measures are crucial to slackening the rural exodus.
Rural development should be intensified through measures such as the following:
(a) provision of reliable, safe water supply;
(b) provision of adequate power supply for domestic
and economic use;
(c) provision of adequate and accessible health
(d) improvement in the quality and expansion, where
needed, of primary education and non-formal educational programmes;
(e) dissemination of appropriate technology and
other key inputs to raise rural productivity;
(f) provision of adequate credit, marketing, storage
and distribution facilities for rural commodities;
(g) improvement in transport and communication
facilities in rural areas and between villages and small towns;
(h) decentralization of development planning and
programmes and of public administration.
85. Strategy to develop provincial, district and other
towns to act as poles of growth which may attract migrants as alternative
to Freetown should be intensified. This strategy requires a range of measures
in favour of small towns such as: incentives to private investment; development
of agro-based industries; improvement of physical and economic infrastructure
86. In urban areas, there should be adoption and enforcement
of town planning and zoning laws. Physical and other amenities should be
improved and expanded. Self-help and welfare measures should be devised
for the urban poor.
Population Data, Analysis Research and Training
87. Population data, analysis and research are inadequate.
Reliable and timely data are essential for demographic and related projections
in the fields of health, education, rural-urban distribution, labour force
etc. Population data and projections are further needed for sound planning,
implementing and monitoring of population and development policies. Efforts
should be intensified to generate more reliable data periodically and their
88. The national census, held more or less at decennial
intervals, is the primary source of population data showing distribution
by geographical areas, administrative units, sex and age group, educational
and economic characteristics, etc. Full attention should therefore be paid
to all census preparatory work, including consultations with the National
Population Commission and other major users, and the census data and related
analysis and interpretation should be published with minimum delay.
89. The 1985 National Population census questionnaire
includes data entries which may help to shed light on aspects of fertility
and migration. Due priority should be attached to the processing, analysis
and publication of the relevant data.
90. The system of vital registration now operating in
selected areas should be kept under review and periodically evaluated.
If the system be found effective and useful e.g. yielding reliable current
estimates of rates of fertility, mortality, etc., the feasibility of its
progressive extension to other areas may be explored.
91. Since an inter-censal interval of about ten years
is rather long, serious consideration should be given to the feasibility
of a demographic and health sample survey around 1990. Such a survey should
provide current estimates of mortality and fertility rates, checks on population
projections based on 1985 census, and very useful information for family
planning programmes such as contraceptive prevalence rates by provinces,
socio-economic groups etc. The expected enhanced national household survey
capability in the coming years should make this feasible if due priority
be assigned to this survey.
92. Population projections based on the 1985 census should
be prepared and published or made available for economic and social development
planning as early as possible.
93. Periodic training workshops should continue to be conducted at the national and provincial levels in the use of demographic data and projections in planning and programmes on specific aspects of population and development for planners, policy-makers, researchers, programme and project managers, etc.
94. The state of the arts in research on interrelationships
between population and socio-economic variables should be thoroughly reviewed
and existing gaps and future needs should be identified. The major focus
should be on policy and action oriented research. Due attention should
further be paid to operational research relating to family planning, health
and information and education programmes undertaken in implementation of
the national population policy. Priority should also be attached to research
relating to the problems of integration of women in development, taking
into account economic, socio-cultural, family and fertility aspects. On
a long term basis, national research capability in population and development
should be built up progressively.
VI. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK
95. The implementation of the national population policy
is a complex, multi-sectoral activity. Many agencies of the Government
and numerous non-governmental organizations at various levels should be
actively involved in a complementary manner to the largest possible extent.
96. The National Population Commission (NPC) was established
in November, 1982 with the principal objective of formulating the national
population policy. The Commission's mandate includes, inter alia,
the co-ordination, promotion and integration of family planning and other
population activities in Sierra Leone. NPC is composed of some 30 members
representing virtually all Government agencies, non-governmental organisations
and religious bodies likely to be interested or involved in family planning
and related educational and other population activities. NPC should therefore
be the logical body to provide overall supervision, guidance, monitoring
and evaluation of the implementation of the national population policy.
97. The composition and the terms of reference of NPC
are shown in Annex 1. These may be reviewed later in the light of experience
on the implementation of the national population policy.
98. The Population and Human Resources Section of the
Central Planning Unit in the Ministry of National Development and Economic
Planning serves as the Secretariat of the NPC. It provides technical and
administrative back-up services for the meetings of the NPC and its subsidiary
bodies; its other responsibilities include, inter alia, the co-ordination
of population activities and the integration of population parameters in
socio-economic planning policies and programmes. NPC Secretariat should
therefore serve as the focal point for promoting co-operation and co-ordination
among various implementing bodies on a day to day basis and for the periodical
monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the national population
policy. The Population and Human Resources Section should be put on a firm
institutional footing. The Section should be suitably strengthened to include
on its staff specialists in fields such as communication and education,
economic demography and should be provided adequate resources so that it
can competently discharge its greatly enlarged and diversified responsibilities
under the national population policy. Its terms of reference are shown
in Annex 2.
99. Numerous Government ministries would participate in
the different strategies and programmes of activities of the national population
policy. In particular, in family planning service delivery and related
activities, the principal agency is the Ministry of Health, especially
its Maternal and Child Health Division with its field outreach. In regard
to population and family life/family planning information and education,
the major participants include the Ministries of Health, Education, Rural
Development Social Services and Youth, Information and Broadcasting, Agriculture,
Natural Resources and Forestry, Labour, Trade and Industry and Energy and
100. Non-governmental organizations should be encouraged
to initiate or intensify participation in population activities. Due recognition
and support should be given to their work, expertise and experience and
their resources should be fully utilised. They should be provided appropriate
guidance so that their activities could respond most effectively to community
and national needs.
101. In addition to the Ministry of Health and the Planned
Parenthood Association, several other public and voluntary bodies have
been active in family planning services delivery. Consideration should
be given to setting up a Family Planning Committee, within the framework
of the NPC, to promote sharing and pooling of experience and expertise
and working out arrangements of national collaboration as appropriate.
The Ministry of Health (Maternal and Child Health Division) and the NPC
Secretariat would provide the back-up services to the Committee.
102. In the sphere of population and family life information
and education a large number of public agencies and non-governmental organisations
are expected to participate actively. Arrangements for sharing and pooling
experience and expertise as well as common facilities or services for curriculum
development, instructional and communication materials etc., would be to
mutual benefit. Consideration may be given to setting up for this purpose
a Committee on Population and Family Life Information and Education within
the framework of NPC. The back-up services to the Committee may be provided
by the NPC Secretariat in co-operation with the Ministries of Education,
Information and Broadcasting, and Rural Development, Social Services and
103. Since women are a special focus of the national population
policy, the NPC Secretariat should work in close co-operation with the
newly established Women's Bureau in the Ministry of Rural Development,
Social Services and Youth.
VII. MONITORING AND EVALUATION
104. Monitoring and evaluation processes should be built-in
elements of a sound programme and project design and essential tools of
good management. These processes are needed at various levels with different
ends in view. In the first place each agency implementing population activities
should undertake its own monitoring and evaluation exercise on a continuing
105. Several Ministries and non-governmental organisations
active in the social field are understood to have well-established traditions
in this matter. NPC Secretariat in collaboration with such selected bodies,
should organise training courses for the relevant staff of agencies implementing
population programmes to develop in-house capacity for monitoring and evaluation.
106. The implementing agencies should be assisted as needed
in designing a record-keeping and reporting system for their own use as
well as for the transmission of annual returns to NPC for its monitoring
107. It is particularly important that a system of data
gathering and record keeping be built into the family planning service
delivery system for effective follow-up, monitoring and programme performance
108. NPC Secretariat should prepare annually a monitoring
report based on returns from implementing agencies, supplemented by relevant
information compiled from other sources for review by NPC. The monitoring
report would assess mainly the operational performance and problems encountered
so that remedial measures, including improved co-ordination, may be recommended
by NPC for more effective operations in the future.
109. Evaluation of the programmes as a whole should be
undertaken by NPC periodically, perhaps at five-year intervals, when more
cumulative experience would have been gathered and suitable data, such
as from the demographic and health survey recommended earlier, might become
available. Evaluation may be undertaken at the aggregate and the household
levels. For the former, subject to data availability, the demographic impact
may be assessed by levels and changes in mortality and fertility rates
as well as behavioural changes in the society in terms of contraceptive
prevalence and knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of couples in reproductive
span as regards family planning. At the household level, the emphasis would
be on the effective outreach and utilisation of programmes of family welfare
education and information as well as of family planning counselling and
service delivery in different settings. In the light of the evaluation
results, the objectives and strategies of the national population policy
and related resource allocations may be suitably modified.
110. Consideration may further be given to periodic in-depth
reviews of selected aspects of policy implementation by NPC in conjunction
with the monitoring reviews or by one of its established committees or
by an ad hoc task force.
111. In view of the highly technical nature of the work
and the need for objectivity in the evaluation and in-depth services exercises
NPC may entrust this task in the first instance to a group of independent
experts which would submit the report of its findings for consideration
and action by NPC or its subsidiary bodies as appropriate.
* * *
National Population Commission Secretariat
The Population and Human Resources Section of the Central
Planning Unit in the Ministry of National Development and Economic Planning
serves as the Secretariat of the National Population Commission. Its terms
of reference are provisional as follows:
Terms of Reference
(i) To provide technical and administrative back
stopping for meetings of the Commission and Working Committee and any other
Committee etc., the Commission may set up;
(ii) To promote collaboration among the various
sectoral implementing ministries and NGOs;
(iii) To co-ordinate implementation of population
policies and programmes;
(iv) To co-ordinate the preparation and review
of a national population action plan to give effect to the national population
(v) To ensure that population variables are integrated
into all stages of socio-economic planning;
(vi) To establish a system for the mutual exchange
of general demography, economic and other information from responsible
agencies, including Government and research institutions;
(vii) To provide demographic data required for
population and human resources planning, programming and monitoring;
(viii) To help identify research and data gaps
and undertake, or collaborate with research institutions in research concerning
population development interactions and population policy programme management
(ix) To assist in the design and implementation
of an IEC programme aimed at spreading knowledge and promoting the small
(x) To establish a system for the monitoring and
evaluation of the implementation of the national population policy.
The Secretariat is making arrangements for carrying out
its functions in the provinces at the Regional Planning Offices in Bo,
Kenema and Makeni.
The staff of NPC Secretariat should be strengthened to
include relevant disciplines/specialisations such as education and communication,
economic demography etc., for it to discharge effectively its enlarged
and diversified responsibilities under the national population policy.
Terms of Reference
The Commission, which shall be an advisory body to Government,
will have the following terms of reference:
(a) formulate a population policy;
(b) promote and foster an integrated approach to
family planning development;
(c) promote and encourage integration of the various
aspects of family development;
(d) generally co-ordinate, promote and integrate
population activities into planning in Sierra Leone. In this context, population
activities shall include the following:
(i) demographic data collection;
(ii) population dynamics, that is to say, analysis
of demographic data, determinants of fertility, mortality, migration and
other population trends, consequences of population, interaction of demographic
and socio-economic variables including modelling and demographic projection;
(iii) the formulation and evaluation of population
policies and programmes and the integration of population factors in development
plans and programmes;
(iv) family planning programmes;
(v) communication and education, communication
for awareness of population issues, population education in school, out-of-school
(vi) social programmes affecting the status of
women, children and youth, the aged, the economically inactive, the disadvantaged
and other special groups;
(vii) reviewing population laws and regulations
to see what effect they may have on national demographic objectives.
The terms of reference for the working Committee will
(a) to carry out as far as possible research and
preparation of technical documents for the Commission;
(b) to advise the National Population Commission on all
technical matters relating to formulation and implementation of population
(c) to assist the Council in the execution of functions
and powers and generally in the achievement of its objectives.
Other committees and technical working groups will be set up from time to time as considered necessary.