“Take Care of Each Other Now…”

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The Political Officer at the United States Embassy in Monrovia, Joseph Chamberlain, has called on Liberians to take care of each other now as they did during the heat of the Ebola crisis in the country.

Mr. Chamberlain made the statement recently in Brewerville, outside Monrovia, when he served as chief launcher for a manual for community-based counseling program for Ebola virus disease (EVD) survivors and affected communities. He emphasized that the manual was developed to help people “live, love and laugh again after the virus.”

The community-based psychosocial training manual, dubbed “The Ebola Homework”, was produced by Church Aid Incorporated (CAI), the relief and development arm of the New Water in the Desert Apostolic Pentecostal Church. It was launched in the edifice of the local church in Brewerville in the presence of students, staff, community actors, and collaborating partners, amongst others.

Mr. Chamberlain who remained in Liberia during the difficult days of the Ebola outbreak said that it was neither the United States, with all the financial support and military intervention employed, nor the World Health Organization (WHO) that defeated the EVD in the country.

“It was you Liberians who fought and defeated the disease. You took care of each other during the crisis, therefore you also need to take care of each other after the crisis,” Mr. Chamberlain, who helped facilitate a community-based youth awareness and prevention workshop during the Ebola upsurge, cautioned Liberians.

Also during the launching, the Country Representative of Geneva Global, Adrienne Bloomberg, in a prepared statement, recounted her initial experience working with Church Aid.

“When I first came into contact with Church Aid, through our mutual network Micah Global, I immediately felt there was something special in this organization,” she said.

A book launch, Ms. Bloomberg reminded the gathering, “is only a beginning, it is like receiving a treasure box. If the box remains closed, no one will benefit from any of its riches, but when the box is opened, the riches can be shared to benefit many. As you present this treasure today, open it quickly so it will benefit many others.”

For his part, the Director of Operation Blessing in Liberia, Reverend Emory David, commended the work of Church Aid in producing a counseling manual for survivors. He said that with the work done by Church Aid in dealing with some of the critical conditions of Ebola survivors, especially those who suffer mental disorder, his organization will be able to develop an intervention plan for 2016 for Ebola survivors.

The Executive Director of the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), Julius Sele, commended the efforts of Church Aid, adding that it is one of the first book interventions in guiding people in handling the “homework” of Ebola and integrating survivors that he has seen.

He spoke of the need to focus on program interventions at the community level, “so that we are able to impact people at the level of the community,” while expressing his appreciation for Church Aid launching the manual at the community level.

The Chairman of the Board of Church Aid, Rev. Kortu Brown, thanking partners, staff, community volunteers, who enabled the organization to fight Ebola especially at the community level, recounted the difficult challenges of Church Aid in places like Jenneh Wonde, VOA#1, Banjor, during the Ebola fight.

He also praised the efforts of Geneva Global for making the manual possible.
Rev. Brown then called for the review of how humanitarian aid is allocated at the local level stressing the 2015 World Disaster Report that decries the less than 2 percent support to local actors in times of humanitarian crisis.

“Local actors”, the report says, “are often the most effective in conducting humanitarian operations. However, despite their critical role, they struggle to attract the funding and support they need. Although widely recognized, the effectiveness of local or national humanitarian organizations is not reflected in humanitarian financing or coordination structures”. The Report found, for example, that just 1.6 percent of funding for humanitarian assistance is channeled directly to national and local NGOs.

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