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Statistics Sierra Leone records resounding achievements

April 24, 2019

By Alusine Sesay 

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Professor Malam O.Sancoh, captain of the ship

Headed by  hardworking and result oriented personality, Statistics Sierra Leone has within a short period of time- between April 2018 to March 2019- recorded enormous remarkable achievements that have uplifted the standard of the institution. 

Professor Malam O. Sancoh and team at Statistics have strengthened collaboration with global development partners including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) and the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC).

With effective synergy, UNFPA, World Bank, USAID, Global Fund, CDC and DFID – provided Support to Demographic Health Survey(DHS) activities and made the National Statistical System (NSS) one of three components of the proposed World Bank’s $18m Statistics project, with a proposed budget of $1.5m over 5 years for the NSS.

In order to protect the rights of women, UN Women, as one of the key partners to Statistics Sierra Leone had raised $50,000 to develop a project for the compilation of Gender Statistics including Gender-Based Violence. 

Aside from partnering with donor agencies, the institution has successfully partnered with organizations across the country to bring better information about Sierra Leone for Sierra Leoneans, and has as well advocated the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development to make the NSS an integral part of the Mid-Term National Development Plan, ensuring better decision making for Sierra Leone.

The institution has also convinced the Immigration Department for the need to provide training on migration policy and data collection on migration statistics, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary School Education – to collect data for the National School Census, as well as the Ministry of Health and Sanitation – to implement the DHS and to implement the Public Health Surveillance Systems survey.

Through the astute leadership of Professor Malam O.Sancoh, the institution has engaged the National Commission for Democracy on the need to produce the State of Democracy Report, while the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat should support the DHS data collection activities.

To help collaborate with countries across the Global South and North and help sustain the country’s development path, the institution has further worked to making Sierra Leone a leader among Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) in ensuring full transparency of data and development and in using data to ensure achievements targeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Among the few public institutions, Statistics has developed and submitted its Proactive Disclosure Scheme as requested by the 2013 RAI Act, which made it one of the few National Statistics Offices (NSOs) in Africa to implement a Publication Scheme proactively.

Professor Malam O.Sancoh and team have helped Sierra Leone move upwards (from position 122 in 2018 to 86 in 2019) in the Open Data Inventory (ODIN) 2018/19, by demonstrating Sierra Leone’s commitment to the coverage and openness of official statistics to help identify gaps, promote open data policies, improve access and encourage dialogue among National Statistical Offices (NSOs) and data users in 178 countries, including almost all OECD countries.

In its quest to stage the country at an international level, the institution had strengthened its international reputation and visibility by presenting the situation of multidimensional child poverty in Sierra Leone at the UN Statistical Commission in New York.

It has won  a permanent membership of the Expert Group on Measuring Violence against Children in New York, further garnishing Statistics- Sierra Leone’s international reputation and cemented its international reputation and visibility at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland, when the instruction’s  work in conducting verbal autopsies for under-five’s was presented at the Maternal and Child Epidemiology Estimation Group Meeting.

In order to inject new ideas into the system, the institution has launched new initiatives and completed others to collect better data and strengthen development across Sierra Leone, and has as well commenced a four-year COMSA project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which seeks to undertake mortality surveillance in Sierra Leone using a Sample Registration System (SRS).

Through  proactive leadership, the institution has successfully launched, nationally the 2017 Sierra Leone Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)  Report, which was the first of the sixth round of the surveys to be conducted globally, clearly placing Sierra Leone as a global leader in the current data landscape.

Statistics Sierra Leone has successfully completed the data collection for the Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey (SLIHS) 2018 that produces poverty figures for Sierra Leone and ensured essential transparency for the institution, making it a leader amongst LMICs.

The institution has provided effective, transparent and accountable leadership to management and Staff in the executive of it operations.

Among the several remarkable achievements, Statistics Sierra Leone has developed processes of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) across the borad, compiled its annual report and submitted to the Parliamentary Committee on Development and Economic Planning in October 2018, compiled and submitted the 2018 Stats SL annual report to the Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of Civil Service in January 2019, and completed first, second and third quarterly 2018 financial year (FY) audit.

To maintain transparency, the institution has increased effective procurement processes through strengthening of the procurement committee, as well as introduced an Integrity Management Committee (IMC) that works with Anti-Corruption Commission and ensured more efficient management of the institution’s assets.