The Sierra Leone Web


February 8, 2002


Opening Remarks

It is indeed a pleasure to meet with this donor mission, the first in the year 2002 and also the first since our Donor Conference in Paris in June last year.  Although you are here largely in the context of the UN CAP, no doubt you have had the opportunity to see how this sits into the overall National Recovery Process following the dawn of peace in Sierra Leone.  My presentation this morning will provide an overview of the key element in his peace process, i.e. the DDR Programme - and Government's plans to further consolidate the gains made so far in collaboration with the key partners.

As we meet this morning, I am optimistic about the current status of the Sierra Leone Peace Process, which has delivered all known erstwhile combatants voluntarily to the DDR process for transition to civilian life.

I.  Introduction

Since the establishment of NCDDR in 1998, the DDR programme had aimed to support a strategy for peace and assist to consolidate the political process.  Phase I (June 1998- June 1999) of the programme was initiated in support of the ECOWAS intervention, which resulted in the restoration of the democratically elected government.  Phase II was initiated July 1999 following the signing of the Lome Peace Accord in support of the implementation of Article 16 of that accord, which was interrupted in May 2000 by the lack of commitment and political will. This led to security setbacks for the country and over 500 United Nations Peacekeepers taken hostage by the RUF. DDR programme activities were scaled down until a cease-fire was negotiated in November 2000. A political agreement was reached May 15th 2001 following the signing of Abuja II cease-fire.

A Joint Committee on DDR (GOSL/RUF/UNAMSIL) was set up at the initiation of ECOWAS/Government/ UN after ABUJA II in May 2001 to agree on modalities for the re-launching of DDR for all the factions. The Committee also provided the environment to address the political concerns of the fighting forces in order to gain their co-operation in the DDR process.

The first meeting of the committee was convened on 15 May 2001 in Freetown under the auspices of UNAMSIL. Thereafter, Phase III of the DDR was launched on May 18th 2001 with the commencement of disarmament in the Port Loko and Kambia Districts. Subsequently, it was agreed that given the need to build confidence with the fighting forces as well as to allow for time needed to mobilise and deploy United Nations Peacekeeping forces, the DDR programme would be implemented simultaneously in two districts a month, over a six month period.

Over the last eight months, and in collaboration with our key implementing partners (UNAMSIL, UNICEF, WFP, DFID, CPAs), NCDDR has been able to manage four operational elements simultaneously. This consists of disarmament and demobilisation of 47,766 combatants, payment of reinsertion benefits to 44,160 of the 49,732 registered and developing Opportunities for over 17,000 of the 28,000 who have registered with us.

II.  Completion of Disarmament and Demobilisation

  • D&D have been effectively completed in the country since January 2002. All armed units of both the RUF and CDF have been dismantled following procedures outlined in the Joint Operational Plan (JOP) developed in close consultation with our key partners. Over the May 2001- January 2002 period, the following was achieved.
  • Developed and established policy, technical and operational guidelines for disarmament and demobilisation.
  • Organised and conducted information and sensitisation sessions with combatant groups of RUF and CDF on the peace process, the DDRP and entry criteria, (disarmament policies, reintegration assistance and terms and conditions) in 12 districts and the Western Area.
  • Identified, established and managed 15 demobilisation centres located in every district prior to the commencement of DD in each. Some were located in logistically challenging environments with no normal access over a considerable period.
  • Procured and deployed over 200 field staff and beneficiary supplies to all the centres, and provided adequate food for all over their period of stay at the camp.
  • Disarmed, demobilised and discharged 47,766 combatants (43,496 adults and 4,370 children; by faction 19,264 RUF, 28,039 CDF and 463 others).
  • Established 7 Interim Care Centres managed by 5 Child Protection Agencies funded and supervised by UNICEF
  • Established policy and operational linkages with Ministry of Defence on the Military Reintegration Programme.
  • Supported the Sierra Leone Police in the development of the Community Arms Collection and Destruction (CACD) Programme.

The CACD programme is expected to mop up the other arms and ammunition in the hands of civilians that have not qualified for the DDR process and it is expected to be implemented over a one month period in every district. At the end of the period, it becomes illegal to possess arms.

III. Payment of Reinsertion Benefits

Donors endorsed Government's proposal to pay reinsertion benefit to ex-combatants at the Paris Donors meeting in June last year as part of the initial reintegration assistance to support the resettlement and maintenance of ex-combatants and families for the immediate period following demobilisation and discharge. It has also helped to bridge the gap between demobilisation and reintegration.

NCDDR initiated registration and payments in October 2001. By the end of December 2001, out of a total of 40,012 that had registered for cash benefit 40,012 had been paid in all but the two last districts of Kailahun and Kenema in Eastern Sierra Leone. (See Table)

We started the payment process in the two districts last month and expect to complete the process by the end of March 2002.

The reinsertion benefit is already contributing to effective demobilisation of the ex-combatants and cursory observations indicate a positive effect of the payment.  No doubt, it contributed to the relatively fast pace of disarmament around the country and reflected Government's commitment to ex-combatants and the peace process.


Although we have paid this benefit with very limited problems and hiccups, the environmental challenges must be acknowledged. Among these were the absence of banks in a large part of the country, movement of huge quantity of cash across the country, security for the process and co-ordination of various agencies involved within a tight timeframe.

IV. Expansion and Delivery of Short- Medium Term Reintegration Opportunities

The social and economic reintegration of ex-combatants is now the most important challenge for Government and all key partners in this post-disarmament phase.  Although NCDDR actually commenced the delivery of opportunities since 1998, expansion in quality ad quantity is only possible now that comprehensive disarmament has been completed all over the country.

On the basis of the preferences revealed by the ex-combatants registering for opportunities and our analysis of the limited opportunities available, NCDDR has identified five key sectors of support to this small but significant sector of our population.  Namely:

  1. Vocational and skills training and apprenticeship
  2. Formal education
  3. Agriculture
  4. SME, including TENAP (Training and entrepreneurial Programme)

Job placement/Employment

NCDDR has already developed a framework for delivery of the services to ex-combatants, endorsed by Government and Donors in Paris last year.  We are however continuously reviewing this in the context of progress made on the ground in our national recovery effort, availability of collaborative partners for funding and implementation, etc.

Our concept of operation is very clear: we are committed to short term support  (ranging from 6-12 months) to the ex-combatants in the various sectors.  The justification for this has been elaborated previously, including Government's commitment to the ex-combatants, the fast- track disarmament and demobilisation processes, absence of an immediate life-line to discharged ex-combatants and slow pace of reconciliation and social acceptance.  The dynamics and competition in the current political landscape are also compelling factors. We want to see the ex-combatants become members of their respective communities not as heroes, but as returnees who can also make a productive contribution to community recovery.  Our strategies include:

· the expansion of opportunities alongside the national recovery efforts of Government line ministries and national and international agencies, · promotion of social acceptance of the ex-combatants through intensive sensitisation activities at community level.

Up to this moment, we have made some progress already in the creation of reintegration opportunities.  Of the 29,656 ex-combatants that have registered with NCDDR for support, about 17,951 have been serviced to date in agriculture (4,552), Vocational Training and Small Enterprise development (5,331), Formal Education (3,871), Apprenticeship Schemes (3,240), and Public Works (589). About 368 child ex-combatants have also been supported in various training outlets.

Spatial analysis of the opportunities already utilised indicates that most of these are more available in parts of the country where rebels had not settled in the last 3-4 years.  Many recently disarmed and demobilised ex-combatants residing in different parts of the country, especially in the Northern and Eastern Regions previously occupied by the RUF, are yet to access reintegration opportunities.  The limited social and economic infrastructure in those areas and the slow return of public, non-governmental and private sector institutions and initiatives compound the reintegration challenge for the NCDDR.  Most institutions often require investment in capacity and infrastructure before they could contemplate on returning to these areas.


There are some issues being discussed and reviewed at the moment to help expand our capacity to deliver the required services in the next 3 months. Among these we have:

  •  the end-number of ex-combatants that are likely to need our collective support for reintegration opportunities
  • delivery rate for those services by our contractors
  • delivery rate by the parallel programmes provided by our partners
  • Current pipeline capacity of the potential service providers and its expansion on the basis assessments.
  • Identification of support needed from partners funding parallel programmes within the NCDDR assistance framework.
  • Exploring the mechanisms by which initiatives of ex-combatants themselves can be supported.
  • Reviewing staffing, logistics and funding needs.

V. Post-NCDDR Assistance to Ex-combatants and Linkages to Community- based Initiatives and National Recovery Activities.

As we meet now, we have the first generation of ex-combatants already graduating from short-term support. Over 4,600 are already out and this will grow in the coming months. Although some are participating in rehabilitation and re-construction activities in various communities, unemployment among them is a real possibility if our economy does not grow fast enough to create more durable opportunities.

In that regard, we support the National Recovery effort and programmes of the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) and other partners. We would need to transition the ex-combatants to such initiatives in a timely fashion in order to avoid disillusionment among this group and the wider community who need similar services. NCDDR and NaCSA have already started mapping out these strategies with support from other partners.

Strengthening of existing linkages with NaCSA and other institutions with a more medium to long term mandate for community recovery programmes is part of the long view we have.  The need to develop a smooth transition from targeted to community-based initiatives will be a major area of focus for us in order to create a more conducive environment for Community Reintegration.

On the wider-scale, there will be need for generation of much-needed opportunities, whether targeted or community-based, in specific sectors that can act as catalysts for stimulating economic recovery to absorb the trained/skilled ex-combatants and other community members at large. Agriculture, (re) construction (especially of shelter and roads/and mining are the obvious sectors in the immediate term already identified.

The basic ideas are summarised in the diagram shown.

VII. Funding

As ever, funding remains a critical factor in the implementation of the DDR Programme. Government established the Multi-Donor Trust Fund with the World Bank in 1998 to solicit grant funding from the donor community. I am very pleased to say that response has been very good, especially at the most critical times. To date, nine donors (UK, Germany, Norway, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Italy and European Union) have committed about US$28.9 million to the Trust Fund. We still have about US$2.5million in pledges from the USA and Canada.

NCDDR has also benefited from direct substantial contribution from the Government of the United Kingdom through DfID, especially in the initial phases I and II of the programme. We also used the World Bank/IDA credit to the Government's Community Reintegration and rehabilitation Project (CRRP) to finance the initial reintegration opportunities. Other channels of funding have been UNICEF for ex-child combatants and WFP for feeding ex-combatants. UNAMSIL has borne substantial unspecified costs during the last phase of disarmament.

Government has also continued to make substantial commitment to the programme, in spite of the precarious financial situation in the country. Up to Le 6 billion have been contributed already in counterpart funding.

As we look ahead to complete the programme, projections have been made of expenditures based on the more than expected number of ex-combatants that have become eligible for support. In this phase alone, we were expecting up to 30,000 ex-combatants. But we have ended up with nearly 48,000. On the basis of this and other key assumptions, the projected funding need is US$34.4million. About 77% of this for completing the payment of the reinsertion benefit and reintegration support to the ex-combatants. Projected funding from all the known sources stands at US$20.9 million. This gives a funding gap of about US$13.5 million.


Indeed, this is not a pledging conference for the DDRP, especially for reintegration. However, it is important that you have had the opportunity to hear this overview on a programme that has been at the heart of the peace process in the country and is now critical to the consolidation of that peace. As donors and potential donors to the programme, you needed to be given feedback on how it has gone and relevant information on what remains to be done for consideration at your respective Headquarters.

The programme remains very well conceived and its implementation, in tandem with the overall national recovery effort of all stakeholders, will provide the necessary condition for real medium to long term development of Sierra Leone.


Dr. Francis Kai-Kai
Executive Secretary