Publication Date: 20240416

This Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA) report presents findings from the gender and power analysis carried out in November and December 2023 in Falaba, Kambia, Bonthe, Tonkolili, Kenema, Karene, Kailahun, and Pujehun districts of Sierra Leone. The purpose of the RGA is to understand how gender and social norms, roles, relationships, and dynamics influence health outcomes and health-seeking behavior in Sierra Leone, especially for vulnerable populations. The report will inform the development of CARE’s future health programming and proposed interventions for health funding opportunities.
The document is structured into four primary chapters – Background, Methodology, Findings: Results and Analysis, and Recommendations—each containing sub-chapters. The background section outlines the study’s purpose, objectives, and underlying rationale. The methodology section describes the research design, applied approaches, data collection methods and participant information. The study’s key findings are categorized into distinct thematic areas aligned with CARE's Good Practices Framework for Gender Analysis and includes the following Core Areas of Inquiry:
• Household decision-making, division of labor and control of productive assets
• Control over one’s body
• Access to public spaces and services
• Claiming rights and meaningful participation in public decision-making
The RGA also applies the above domains related to health outcomes, behaviors, and health-seeking behavior, including gender dynamics within the Sierra Leone health system with recognition that unequal gender dynamics gaps impact health care providers and their ability to deliver quality services. Finally, the recommendations section outlines actions or interventions CARE should consider in future programming.
Key Findings:
* Men have more influence over decisions for the household than women—including the seeking of healthcare—and women lack control over key decisions related to sex, marriage, and children, including if and when to use contraception. Women’s mobility is limited by social norms which require male permission for movement.
• Contraceptive use is low. Despite around 70% of people knowing about contraceptives and where to get them, only 50% are currently using them. Many community members believe modern forms of family planning are haram or unhealthy, with anecdotal evidence suggesting there is perception that it promotes extramarital affairs.
• Front Line Health Workers (FLHW) face major barriers to effective service delivery: almost half of FLHWs interviewed are unpaid, effectively operating as volunteers, struggle with difficult living conditions and lack of supplies, and report inequitable treatment between male and female workers.
• There is a lack of evidence-based health information for pregnant women: only 27% of pregnant women in the study reported having received any information related to sexual and reproductive health or associated risks.
• Despite generally positive health-seeking behavior, both women and men are concerned by lack of availability of medicine.