Safety Nets, Health Crises and Natural Disasters: Lessons from Sierra Leone
Since the early 2000s, interest has been increasing in the use of cash transfers as a key program modality for the response to and recovery from shocks. As more and more countries put in place long-term safety net programs, the value of scaling up existing programs and systems in response to disasters has gained prominence.
Sierra Leone is among these countries. Following a decade long civil war and with high rates of poverty, the country established the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) in 2011 and launched a social safety net in 2014 as part of its efforts to reduce poverty. NaCSA implements the Ep Fet Po program. Initially, it aimed to cover 12,000 households in four of Sierra Leone’s 14 districts. One district from each of the country’s four provinces was selected for inclusion in the program on the basis of its poverty rates.