Sierra Leone

Overseas Development Institute

Lisa Denney
Research Fellow Politics and Governance
203 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NJ
United Kingdom

The Sierra Leone research programme


The SLRC Sierra Leone country research programme, implemented over a two-year period from April 2013 to April 2015, focused on state capacity to address the country’s high malnutrition rates. Our research sought to understand why and how, despite multiple and ongoing efforts at prevention, malnutrition rates in Sierra Leone remain so high. Taking as its starting point Irish Aid-supported partnerships with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to build capacity to prevent malnutrition in Sierra Leone at the national, district and community level, the programme aimed to generate useful and relevant findings which would contribute towards evidence-informed policy making around this important issue.


Guided by an overarching research question – ‘How can development partners support improved strategies to prevent malnutrition in Sierra Leone?’ – the programme is comprised of three discrete phases of research activity, each with its own specific research question.


  • Research question 1: Are development partner approaches to capacity building appropriate to the challenges the nutrition sector is facing? Is the model of capacity building being used fit for purpose?
    • What is the nature of development partners’ approaches to capacity building?
    • How does capacity building support play out at the district and community levels?
    • What are the gaps?


  • Research question 2: What are the blockages to preventing malnutrition at the district and community levels?


  • Research question 3: How can broader stakeholders, beyond the immediate nutrition sector, be engaged to develop a more comprehensive approach to preventing malnutrition?
    • Who are the broader stakeholders necessary for a comprehensive approach to addressing malnutrition?
    • How can they be brought on board so that their activities are coordinated and nutrition-sensitive

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