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19 Nov 2010
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Sierra Leone elections survey
Research & reports
The Research and Learning Group carried out a survey of 2,600 18- to 59-year-olds across eight districts/areas of Sierra Leone during February and March 2007. The findings were presented in two separate research reports.
One research report looked at media consumption patterns and preferences. The other explored knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around Sierra Leone's forthcoming elections.
The survey explored five key themes:
  • Media consumption and levels of trust in sources of information
  • Knowledge and attitudes in relation to forthcoming and previous elections
  • Political knowledge and attitudes towards political processes and institutions
  • Political priorities; and
  • Participation in social and politically motivated activities and membership of voluntary community groups (e.g. church, sports, etc)
The sample group was divided equally between men and women, and separated into four age bands. Distribution across bands of educational attainment and occupation was also recorded. Those with no formal education (39%) and those working in farming and livestock (24%) formed the biggest group in each section respectively.
Media consumption
The survey found that access to radio is high in most of the country. Over 80% of respondents reported having access to radio. Over 70% of these respondents listen most days.
Knowledge and attitudes to elections
The survey explored knowledge and attitudes to politics and the electoral process in Sierra Leone.

  • 83% of respondents report having voted in the last national election, and over 90% place a high value on the importance of voting
  • 80% of men, compared with only 65% of women report knowing the date of the next national election in Sierra Leone
  • Only 25% of women report having a high level of knowledge about the electoral process, compared with 36% of men
  • 48% of respondents felt strongly that political parties in Sierra Leone do not offer real policy choices
  • Only 26% of respondents felt strongly that their views are reflected in political discussions
  • People's key political priorities are education, water, and electricity
  • 86% of respondents place a high value on the protection of minority rights
  • Only 17% of respondents report having a high degree of trust in national politicians, compared with 31% in local politicians
The results of the survey were used to inform the development of journalism training programmes designed to improve radio coverage of the electoral process.
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