Foreign Aid Transparency (SL0013)
Action Plan: Sierra Leone National Action Plan 2016-2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
Support Institution(s): DACO, Anti Corruption Commission; Society for Democratic Initiative Budget Advocacy Network Non State Actor Federation SLANGO INGO forum
Policy AreasAccess to Information, Aid, Civic Space, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Freedom of Association, Health, Open Data, Public Participation, Public Service Delivery, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information
Status quo or problem/ issue to be addressed
A number of donor, INGO and NGOs do receive funds on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone to implement various activities geared towards providing service for the citizen. However, the citizens do not know the amount of resources and for what purpose these institutions receive funds on their behalf. Donors are funding different aid projects in Sierra Leone. Many of these projects are implemented unbeknownst to the government, which struggles to capture information about the diverse and competing initiatives in the country.
Increase transparency of aid for efficient and effective use of resources
Brief Description of Commitment (140 character limit)
Donor, NGO, INGO and CSOs will publish funds meant for the post Ebola recovery online and in an open data format. Also annual district meeting will be held for donors, INGO, NGOs and CSOs to disclose funds meant for that particular district and detailed activity level budget shared
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 2. Foreign Aid Transparency
Donor, NGO, INGO and CSOs will publish funds meant for the post Ebola recovery online and in an open data format. Also, annual district meeting will be held for donors, INGO, NGOs and CSOs to disclose funds meant for that particular district and detailed activity level budget shared.
- DACO to publish details donor fund meant for the post Ebola recovery online according to the standard established by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the on the open data portal including activity level budget
- INGOs and NGOs to publish details of donor funds meant for the post Ebola recovery online according to the standard established by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the on the open data portal including activity level budget
- Donor, INGOs and NGOs hold annual District public meetings to disclose fund meant for that particular district and for what purpose and detail activity-level budget shared
- Donor publish all funds that go directly into the national budget according to the IATI Standard.
Responsible institution: Development Aid Coordinating Office.
Supporting institution(s): Society for Democratic Initiatives, Budget Advocacy Network, Federation, Sierra Leone Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (SLANGO), INGO Forum.
Start date: July 2016 End date: June 2018
This commitment aimed to improve information available to the public on foreign aid received by Sierra Leone for poverty resulting from the 2014−2015 Ebola epidemic. Sierra Leone is a major recipient of foreign development assistance and joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative in 2011, committing to follow their standards.  Transparent provision of information to the public on foreign aid should improve the effective use of resources.
By the midterm, two activities under this commitment (Milestones 1 and 2) were already completed prior to the start of the action plan. First, donor project information was being published on the Development Assistance Data (DAD) website, which launched in 2013, prior to the development of the action plan.  Second, entries in the DAD showed project histories with profiles created from as early as January 2015 regarding the publication of international development assistance toward post-Ebola recovery projects. There was no further action on these milestones. For more information, please see the 2016−2018 midterm report. 
End of term: Limited
Milestone 1: Information on donor funds meant for the post-Ebola recovery were not published on Sierra Leone’s open data portal, as required by the milestone.  At the midterm, this milestone was coded as completed because the researcher only looked at one aspect of the milestone: the publication of donor project information on the DAD. However, the milestone also intended to put Ebola-fund information on the Sierra Leone Open Data Portal. This did not happen by the midterm, and therefore did not warrant “substantial” progress at the time. At the end of term, Ebola-fund information was still not on the Sierra Leone Open Data Portal as required by the milestone. Implementation of the milestone was therefore not completed; while donor information was online via the DAD and other websites, it was not on the Sierra Leone open data portal.
Milestone 2: By the midterm, this milestone was reported as completed before the action plan was developed. This status was because the researcher did not look at the second aspect of the milestone: requiring local and international NGOs to publish details, including activity-level budget information, of post-Ebola donation funds to the open data portal. By the time of this report, the researcher realizes this was not accomplished by the midterm, nor was it accomplished by the end of term. 
Milestone 3: According to this milestone, donors and NGOs were to hold annual, district-level public meetings to disclose funds meant for particular districts. The Coordinator of Budget Advocacy Network, a CSO involved with the commitment, confirmed that these meetings did not occur.  The government provided no information as to why the meetings were not held.
Milestone 4: There was no publicly available evidence showing that donors had published their contributions to the government budget. The Coordinator of Budget Advocacy Network confirmed he had no evidence that donors published their financial contributions to the government budget for the financial years 2017 and 2018. 
Did it open government?
Access to information: Marginal
While public disclosure of the volume and use of foreign aid remains a debate in Sierra Leone, this commitment was concerned about foreign aid to the country specifically aimed toward dealing with the aftermath of the 2014−2015 Ebola epidemic. Disclosure of foreign assistance toward post-Ebola recovery on the open data portal, and through district-level meetings, would have expanded citizens’ access to information on the volume and use of Ebola-related foreign funds, enabling them to better demand accountability and effectiveness. Most of the milestones, however, remained incomplete. Thus, this commitment only marginally improved the amount and quality of information citizens received.
The government had not released the third action plan at the time of this report. Stakeholders involved with the commitment say it should not be carried forward into the next action plan as Ebola aid information is available from both the government and international NGOs. Information on development assistance for Ebola recovery was published on the websites of the Ebola Recovery Tracking Initiative and the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund.  For NGOs’ disclosure of information on the amount and uses of their foreign funds, there would need to be a comprehensive study to identify the level of the problem and debate whether to create a commitment on it in the future.
 International Aid Transparency Initiative, “Sierra Leone endorse [sic] IATI” (11 Feb. 2011), https://iatistandard.org/en/news/sierra-leone-endorse-iati.
 Charlie Hughes, Sierra Leone Mid-Term Report 2016-2018 (OGP, 9 Jul. 2018), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/sierra-leone-mid-term-report-2016-2018-year-1/.
 Sierra Leone’s open data portal is available at: opendatasl.gov.sl (currently under maintenance).
 Coordinator of the Budget Advocacy Network, interview with IRM researcher, 13 Aug. 2018.
 Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Community-Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti, The Ebola Recovery Tracking Initiative (accessed 2019), https://ebolarecovery.org; UNDP, “Ebola Response MPTF” (17 Jul. 2019), mptf.undp.org/factsheet/fund/EBO00.
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