This report offers a survey of lessons learned and guidance for reforming governance and improving service delivery in environments similar to that of Sierra Leone. It is important to note what this ‘environment’ is: Sierra Leone is one of the 44 countries classified as ‘fragile states’ under the OECD DAC’s definition. The DAC characterises fragile states as countries which demonstrate a lack of political commitment and/or weak capacity to develop and implement pro-poor policies. They have often experienced, or are experiencing, violent conflict. There are differing degrees of fragile states, ranging from deteriorating, to those with arrested development due to low political will and capacity to implement policies; and from countries undergoing post-conflict transition to states in early recovery.
For the purposes of this report, ‘environments similar to that of Sierra Leone’ are taken to mean fragile states undergoing post-conflict transition and/or arrested development. Here they are referred to more generally as ‘difficult environments’. The lessons presented here therefore reflect attempts to synthesise and document efforts at governance reform and service delivery in such environments. Although preference was given to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, some of the information presented refers to countries currently undergoing conflict (e.g. Afghanistan) and countries with a much higher GDP than Sierra Leone (e.g. Lebanon).