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. 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 the eighties.

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.

Basic Principles

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.

* * *



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 in mind.

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 human resources;

(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.

Guide Posts

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.


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.

Family Planning

35. Family planning programmes should be developed and expanded progressively within the context of primary health care and related system.

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 to users.

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' preferences.

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 delivery channels;

(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 national efforts.

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 formation.

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 target audiences.

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 family income.

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 labour.

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 market.

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 industries.


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 facilities;

(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 etc.

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 timely analysis.

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.


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 Power, etc.

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 Youth.

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.


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 basis.

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 in turn.

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 assessment.

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 policy;

(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 (operations research);

(ix) To assist in the design and implementation of an IEC programme aimed at spreading knowledge and promoting the small family norm;

(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 education;

(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 be:

(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 programmes;

(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.