Gap Tracker survey results on existing COVID-19 Response Gaps for market women in Freetown


We designed a survey questionnaire to collect responses from market women across six major markets in Freetown municipality on the 15th and 16th of April 2020. We administered questionnaires to 390 market women. Followed by interviews and observations conducted in addition to questionnaires. The confidence interval of the study is +- 4.77 with a confidence level of 95% , with a sample proportion estimated at 50% and is reflective of a population size of 5000 market women in Freetown that the Freetown City Council(FCC) intends to target for the distribution of face masks.

Our Respondents

Our respondents are market women who sell within designated Freetown municipality markets.

11% of respondents do not have any knolwedge on coronavirus.

  • Gap Result for knowledge on coronavirus 11% 11%

Community Intervention Suggestion

Stakeholders such as Freetown City Council(FCC) and Government of Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 Response Task Force should take coronavirus messages to the market. This can be done by setting up Public Announcements (PA) system onsite various market location to play coronavirus jingles and messages that are already being aired on radio, TVs, and social media. Ideally, messages should be played between the morning hours (7:00am -9:00am) and in the evening hours (4:00pm-6:00pm). These hours are ideal since market women have relatively less traffic from selling and would be able to listen and understand the messages on PA systems without the interruption of tending to customers .

19% and 20% of respondents do not know how coronavirus is transmitted and what is meant by social distancing,


  • Gap on knowledge of transmission 19% 19%
  • Gap on understanding the meaning of social distancing 20% 20%

Community Intervention Suggestion

Stakeholders responsible for designing and disseminating COVID-19 sensitization messages should consider working with internal structures such as market women  organizations or associations to engage in peer to peer sensitization messages on ways coronavirus can be transmitted and what is meant by social distancing. With social distancing in mind, stakeholders should engage market women associations to do audio and audio-visual recording of sensitization messages explaining to their peers the meaning of social distancing and ways coronavirus can be transmitted. Playing of these recordings onsite market venues using PA system will prove effective.

34% of respondents do not have access to water for hand washing. 63% in addition do not have hand sanitizers.

  • Gap on access to water for hand washing 34% 34%
  • Gap on access to Hand Sanitizers 63% 63%

Community Intervention Suggestion

Access to water for market women is hard. This is due to the positioning of water tanks mostly at the entrance of the markets. Since Freetown markets are extensive in length, market women who are positioned at the back of the market cannot easily have access to water to wash their hands with soap. Stakeholders such as the Freetown City Council, should consider doing either one or all of the following:

  1. Place a second water tank at the back of the market to enable market women stationed at the back easily have access to water.
  2. Prioritize the regular  availability of Hand Sanitizers to market women throughout the markets instead of the option to place a second water tank; given their constant high-traffic interactions with buyers which often leaves them with little or no time to resort to intermittent handwashing.

92% of respondents do not use face mask/cloth face covering.

  • Gap on use of face mask/ cloth face covering 92% 92%

Community Intervention Suggestion

In order to change market women’s behavior toward wearing face mask. Stakeholders should canvass the influence of market women leaders such as “Chair Ladies” and executive members of the associations  within the markets  to take an emulating lead in the wearing of face masks or face cloth coverings. This approach can simultaneously complement stakholders staff sensitization processes using PA systems across various markets.

73% of respondents live in a compound. 31% of them live in compound with 6 to 10 other families.

Community Intervention Suggestion

Stakheoldes like FCC and the Presidential TaskForce on COVID-19 Response should immediately embark on community sensitization particularly in congested localities in Freetown. This can be done by implementing either one or all of the following approaches:

  1. Mass printing and distribution of illustrative posters on coronavirus that demonstrate prevention and signs on early detection of the virus.
  2. Set up PA system during lockdowns in congested communities to play sensitization messages on coronavirus.




98% of respondents are buying goods more expensive and selling less since coronavirus response started.

Community Intervention Suggestion

Stakeholders should design coronavirus messages that focus on promoting empathy. Empathetic messages should be developed with the goal to position price hiking during the pandemic as a non-patriotic practice and therefore must be discouraged.

96% of respondents do not know of any financial support to be provided by central government or the Freetown City Council

  • Gap on information on fiancial support 96% 96%

Community Intervention Suggestion

Stakeholders involved in COVID-19 Response Effort should provide information on whether or not market women will receive financial help. Doing this will be effective in addressing the feeling of anxiety and financial uncertainty that most market women are experiencing right now.

Who can use our COVID-19 Gap Tracker Results?

 Our gap tracker results can be used by all stakeholders directly involved in the fight against COVID-19 in Sierra Leone. We particularly encourage Civil Society Organizations(CSO) and newsrooms  to use our results and advocate for COVID-19 response gaps to be addressed by authorities in charge.

How to Get Involved?

Our aim is to continue advocating for citizens through the use of data and design thinking to build valuable information and design community intervention approach that stakeholders can adapt to address identified gaps with the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts among citizens. Hence, we welcome all partnerships and sponsors committed to supporting us achieve our aim.

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