COVID-19 response

Allocation: US$7 million

Years: 2021-2022

Grant agent: World Bank

Key documents:

The US$7 million grant supports:

  • working with community leaders and civil society to promote radio teaching programs and protection of girls and girls’ learning via radio programs or comic books
  • developing distance learning content through radio, television, mobile and other digital technologies
  • pre-loaded devices for students with special needs, girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, children in rural remote areas and low-income families
  • printed educational packets for students without access to technology and students with special needs
  • training teachers to improve digital literacy and delivery of lessons through innovative platforms
  • essential WASH supplies for schools and refurbish school facilities as needed
  • working with partners to design and implement community outreach campaigns to support girls, vulnerable children and other students at risk of dropping out
  • psychosocial support to children by upgrading training materials, providing training to teachers and ensuring parents are provided relevant information

These initiatives are based on the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 response plan.

In late March 2020, the UNICEF office in Sierra Leone received a GPE grant of US$70,000 to support the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education with its response to the pandemic.

The grant supports a radio teaching program, which started broadcasts on April 7. 41 teachers are involved in drafting and presenting the lessons. Lessons start around 10 AM until 6 PM from pre-primary to senior secondary grades, and includes life skills, with a particular focus on out-of-school girls.

Education in Sierra Leone

The 2018-2020 Education Sector Plan (ESP) was appraised in July 2017 and endorsed by the development partners in October 2017. The local education group in Sierra Leone is called 'education development partners' and has held quarterly meetings in recent years to discuss progress according to the ESP workplan and monitor key performance indicators.

The ESP 2018-20 intends to develop an inclusive education policy and equip at least 15% of existing schools with ramps for students with disability.

Many teachers are unqualified, with 41% of male and 28% of female teachers in 2016 lacking formal teaching qualification or teaching with a qualification below the required standard. In 2011, the government decided to establish the Teaching Service Commission (TSC), an independent government body that works on teacher recruitment, development and management, and launched the Commission in 2016 with support of the GPE-financed project.

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Latest grant

A child at school in Sierra Leone, with a globe showing Africa. Credit: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer

A child at school in Sierra Leone, with a globe showing Africa.

CREDIT: GPE/Stephan Bachenheimer
Development objective: Increase equitable access to education and improve learning outcomes for all boys and girls in pre-primary and primary schools
Allocation: US$17,200,000
Years: 2018-2023
Grant agent: UNICEF
Utilization: US$11,568,107

The GPE grant supports the "Getting it right; building strong foundations for learning" program, which has the following objectives:

  • Build strong foundations for learning through increased access to early learning for 3-5-year-olds
  • Improve learning outcomes in reading, writing, and math for early grade 1-3 students
  • Improve systems for decentralized school monitoring, data collection and management, create a learning assessment unit, and increase the availability of comprehensive sector analysis data.

To achieve these objectives, the program undertakes the following interventions:

  • Component 1: focuses on the expansion of preschool classes in primary schools and community-based early childhood education
  • Component 2: provides in-service teacher training for grades 1-3 in conjunction with the newly established Teaching Service Commission
  • Component 3: streamlines the data collection mechanism by integrating the Situation Room (special data units) with the EMIS and establish information feedback systems to schools and communities. This component also supports the full education sector analysis to be conducted in 2019
  • Component 4: focuses on program management including UNICEF's supervision operations.

The variable part of the grant is as follows:

  • The equity dimension aims to reduce the gap in access to early childhood education development services
  • The efficiency dimension aims to reduce the repetition rates at the primary level
  • The learning dimension aims to improve reading and math skills.


All amounts are in US dollars.

Grant type Years Allocations Utilization Grant agent  
COVID-19 2021-2022 7,000,000 0 WB  
Program implementation 2018-2023 17,200,000 11,568,107 UNICEF  
2014-2017 17,656,156 17,656,156 WB Completion report
2008-2012 11,691,406 11,691,406 WB Completion report
Sector plan development 2021-2024 450,000 211,702 UNICEF  
2017 361,000 361,000 UNICEF  
2012-2013 249,961 249,961 WB  
Program development 2023 157,680 0 UNICEF  
2012-2014 203,908 203,908 WB  
  Total 54,970,111 41,942,240    
Data last updated: March 17, 2023

As part of its investment in civil society advocacy and social accountability efforts, GPE’s Education Out Loud fund is supporting the Education For All Sierra Leone Coalition (EFA-SL) for the 2019-2021 period.

This builds on 11 years of Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF) support to national education coalitions for their engagement in education sector policy dialogue.

GPE had provided the Education For All Sierra Leone Coalition (EFA-SL) with a grant from the CSEF to support its engagement in education sector policy dialogue and citizens’ voice in education quality, equity, and financing and sector reform.

Last updated December 05, 2022