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CEPPS in Sierra Leone

CEPPS has been working in Sierra Leone since 2017 to strengthen and consolidate the country’s democratic transition by encouraging more participatory, transparent, representative, and accountable processes within core democratic institutions.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

CEPPS works with civil society, political parties, elected officials, media, community leaders and the National Election Commission (NEC) to support free and fair elections, promote political participation of all citizens including women, youth and other traditionally marginalized groups, and to enhance the professionalism of media practitioners.

CEPPS Approach:

CEPPS uses a multi-faceted approach to support elections and a peaceful and democratic political transition in Sierra Leone. The project supports mass media programming to improve the professionalism of Sierra Leone’s press, and to increase the participation of women and disadvantaged groups in debates and dialogue sessions.

CEPPS conducts nationwide public opinion polling to identify the priorities and perceptions of citizens. Poll data is then used to inform technical assistance provided to key stakeholders in Sierra Leone’s democratization (namely media practitioners, civil society, political parties, and government officials) to strengthen citizen responsiveness and government accountability. CEPPS also enhances civil society, political parties and local leaders to improve the participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in political processes.

CEPPS Key Achievements in Sierra Leone:

CEPPS conducts nationwide polling and research to better understand citizen preferences across the country by:

  • Conducting two public opinion surveys, one before and one after the 2018 elections to assess citizen priorities and trust in national institutions. CEPPS also conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) prior to the historic 2018 general elections to compliment quantitative data collected through the public opinion polls and to better identify gaps in governance that CEPPS can address through its Sierra Leone programming. Poll and FGD data are used to track changes in citizen perceptions overtime and inform government policy decisions to better respond to citizen needs.

CEPPS enhances the capacity of media and journalists to improve their professionalism and report more accurately and effectively on electoral and governance-related issues in Sierra Leone through:

  • Roundtable events, CEPPS connected the NEC with individuals representing 25 different Freetown-based newspapers, online news sites, radio and TV stations as well as the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Independent Radio Network (IRN), Sierra Leone Reporters Union (SLRU), and Women in the Media Sierra Leone (WIMSAL);
  • Interactive workshops, CEPPS enabled the journalists’ ability to report more accurately and effectively on post-election and governance-related issues, as well as skills and techniques covering legislative processes and activities of parliament; and
  • Awarding a total of 20 travel stipends to journalists through its 2018 and 2020 Reporting Fellowship Program – aimed at supporting Freetown-based journalists to produce in-depth post-election news stories which focus on issues and residents outside of the capital city.

CEPPS increases the inclusion of women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized groups in Sierra Leone’s political process and improves overall level of participation in national level policy debates by:

  • Inclusion and participation in violence mitigation events coordinated by CEPPS, youth groups committed to supporting peacebuilding efforts and collaborating with local authorities – including the police – to maintain peace in communities;
  • Providing capacity building to local authorities on conflict prevention techniques, early warning signs of violence, improved their capacity to respond to early warning signs and to proactively build peace and community resilience to violence; and
  • Providing technical support to 11 organizations which established the National Political Debates Committee (NPDC) to enhance democratic processes in Sierra Leone through inclusive political and public policy debates. The NPDC established a mission and vision for the organization, created an organizational structure, and identified the committee’s key objectives.
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