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Project Case Study

Supporting the national water and sanitation policy in Sierra Leone

Technical assistance to the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Health & Sanitation

The lack of safe drinking water for millions of people in Sierra Leone is a significant barrier to alleviating poverty. Following a ten-year civil war, government has struggled to implement effective water reform policy, due in part to the destruction of much of the country’s water supply and water resources monitoring infrastructure during the conflict.

Adam Smith International is supporting the Government of Sierra Leone in implementing the National Water and Sanitation Policy.

Project info

Sierra Leone Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project


  • DFID

Funded by DFID since 2010, our team has been supporting Ministries and District Councils with advice and practical support towards achieving legislative reform and building the capacity of institutions to develop a multi-sector approach to tackling water sector reform.

To date, our team has supported the execution of the National Water Resources Act and the Sierra Leone Water Company Act: legislation that will define the governance of the day-to-day water supply and distribution across Sierra Leone, and will facilitate major improvement in the effectiveness of the national water suppliers.

Such legislative reform has resulted in major advancements in the sector: billing has increased by close to 40%, and revenue has soared by over 125%. Such progress has encouraged significant reinvestment into the sector, enabling the nation to roll-out lasting water services to wider swathes of the population.

We have also worked to establish and strengthen central and local government institutions including the Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission and the National Water Resources Agency. Our team initiated a process of decentralisation, building the capacity of local government to support community water management groups.

Key among the Government of Sierra Leone’s targets is the provision of water supply services to the nation’s rural poor. Our team facilitated the mapping of close to 30,000 water points, to enable the government to plan for servicing these communities. As a result, 35% of the country’s rural population now have access to a reliable water supply.

In addition to the technical assistance we provide to institutions, our team also manage a water, sanitation and hygiene facility: a fund of £5million dispersed among 36 projects across 14 districts. These projects range from supporting associations to improve financial planning and investment in the water sector, to developing schemes to improve authorities’ ability to manage and preserve water resources.

As a direct result of Adam Smith International’s support, more than 3million people – or 60% of the nation’s citizens – now have access to a safe and reliable water supply; an increase of 20% since the project started.

"The sustained support provided by DFID, and particularly the embedded technical assistance provided through Adam Smith International has been instrumental in the significant progress in the WASH sector in Sierra Leone."

H.E. Momodu Maligi III, Minister of Water Resources, Government of Sierra Leone

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