The Sierra Leone Alcohol Policy Alliance (SLAPA) was launched on the 28th of October 2015 to advocate for a national policy on alcohol. Since its launch, the membership has increased from 21 to 74 non-governmental organisations. It has established district chapters in six out of 16 districts. The Steering Committee is functional.
SLAPA is growing into an effective alliance. There is now a growing awareness of the harm from alcohol and the need to control the production, sale and consumption of alcohol as a result of public education and stakeholder engagement. SLAPA has engaged diverse stakeholders in order to build a deeper understanding of the link between harm from alcohol and health and development issues, including human rights, and the need for advocacy and an integrated programmatic response to reduce harm from alcohol. SLAPA has targeted the media, organisations working on children and women’s rights, and organisations working on reproductive health. All District Chapters continued to increased advocacy campaign through regular phone-in radio programmes.
The government and other stakeholders now recognise SLAPA as the national advocacy platform for the control of alcohol in Sierra Leone. The alliance has established a strong collaborative relationship with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS). SLAPA and FoRUT have started participating in conversations that are integrated with ADD related issues, such as the National Tobacco Bill and the review of the policy and legal framework governing the national HIV/AIDS response.
SLAPA is making steady progress in advocating for a national policy in Sierra Leone. SLAPA will continue linking awareness raising and community mobilisation activities with strategic national levels efforts to galvanise support to influence the government to lead the policy development and implementation process.
FoRUT facilitated the formation of SLAPA in 2015. It held bilateral meetings with likeminded NGOs where it shared the relevance of a national alcohol policy. FoRUT serves as Secretariat for SLAPA and has dedicated staff to support the work of the Alliance. With request from MOHS, FoRUT spearheaded the drafting of the Cabinet Memorandum and support documents, which were reviewed by stakeholders and presented to MOHS in 2016 for approval of the development of a national alcohol policy and its implementation. Support documents prepared for the Memo were Terms of Reference for Policy Development Structures (the Secretariat, Lead Ministry and National Task Force), and an illustrative Work Plan and Budget to support the process. At the initial stage, the MOHS and FoRUT jointly hosted the first ever national conference on alcohol control and created the platform for dialogue on the need for a policy.
FoRUT leads the planning of activities, and helps to mobilise the membership for meetings, events and activities. Funds for all advocacy activities are part of FoRUT’s programme on ADD. Key support to SLAPA are advocacy training, district level media campaigns and development of the strategic plan. FoRUT also facilitates external meetings such as with Ministers to lobby them for the approval of the Cabinet Memorandum.
The formation, development and functioning of SLAPA is necessary for a nationwide effective advocacy for a national alcohol policy in Sierra Leone. SLAPA brings together interest organisations and groups that can grow into a strong voice with a human rights based approach to addressing harm from alcohol, free of commercial interest
World No Tobacco Day- Vine Memorial Secondary School
World No Tobacco Day