Final Evaluation: Standing Together for free, fair and Peaceful Elections in Sierra Leone (September 2018)
Dr Gassan Abess, Dr. Joseph Marcarthy & Andrew Konneh
The project Standing Together for Free, Fair and Peaceful Elections in Sierra Leone was funded by the UK Aid through the Department for International Development (DFID) – Sierra Leone, and implemented between December 2016 and July 2018.
The overall goal of the project was to contribute to creating the conditions for free, fair, and peaceful elections in Sierra Leone. The 2018 elections marked the end of the governing period of President Koroma, leading to internal conflicts both in the ruling APC party and its main competitor, the SLLP. This, as well as further challenges, made the electoral context tense, unpredictable and prone to violence. The initiative implemented a variety of capacity building and violence-preventing activities. It employed information and education campaigns in order to increase citizens’ understanding of their civic rights, duties and obligations, and in order to empower marginalized groups in the context of the elections. Moreover, the project also helped with the monitoring of the elections.
The project contributed to enhancing the knowledge of citizens and to building mutual trust among Sierra Leone’s civil society, citizens, institutions, and decision-makers. This, in turn, has minimized the immediate risks of violence as well as consolidated the capabilities of all stakeholders, including women, to engage in constructive policy-based dialogue. Despite the competitive nature of the elections and the close outcome, the party that lost and its supporters accepted the results. This was due to the credibility that the deployment of the project’s observers had lent to the election process.