An international Danish charity organization, IBIS, has launched a six-month Ebola Response Project in four counties to support the eradication of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) from Liberia.
The project is also aimed at propping-up the country’s post-recovery efforts, specifically in the governance and education sectors.
Known as the Ebola Response Programme, the project will be executed in partnership with the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL), Partners for Democratic Development (NAYMOTE), the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) and the Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI).
Estimated at a cost of US$200,000, the project will be implemented in Montserrado, Sinoe, River Gee and Grand Gedeh counties.
Th deputy governance programme director for IBIS-Liberia, Morris W. Gbessagee, said the project was launched in early December particularly to assist the education sector response through support to the joint country-wide assessment of the preconditions for the reopening of schools, facilitation of civil society inputs into the national and county plans for school reopening, the resumption of quality education, and support to the development of national and county school health action plans to allow for a safe return of students and teachers to school.
According to Mr. Gbessagee, the project would also support Ebola community awareness and outreach in the counties.
Mr. Gbessagee further said IBIS and its partners intend to ensure that citizens and civil society are better able to support the containment of the virus and participate actively in the planning, implementation and monitoring of a quality evidence-based national emergency and recovery response.
“I travel around the country and I see all the distribution of buckets and hygiene materials and that is fine. But we also have to remember that there will be a post-Ebola period of rebuilding and getting back on track with the development of the country,” Mr. Gbessagee said.
“Children will come back to school and the situation will be different from what it was before. Should we install sanitation facilities in all the schools? How will hygiene and the fear of infection be managed? What if a child gets sick? At IBIS, we are working to help ensure that these processes, such as the eventual reopening of schools, become free of trouble and stress.”
Since 2005, IBIS has worked in Liberia supporting and implementing projects in the education and governance sectors in those four counties.
But in the wake of the Ebola outbreak, IBIS refocused its efforts to contribute to the national Ebola response and under it a new program was launched to tackle challenges in the education and governance sectors caused by the outbreak.
“Although largely considered a public health crisis, the Ebola outbreak has also severely strained government systems and processes, testing the trust between citizens and the government,” Mr. Gbessagee noted. “Basic services, including education for over a million children and youth, came to a standstill. With the new Ebola Response Project, IBIS and its partners will help ensure that communities and civil society are able to identify needs and solutions, both in terms of the health response and the longer-term recovery process.
According to Mr. Gbessagee, concrete and urgent action plans are developed and rolled out for the safe resumption of education services.”
The IBIS-Liberia country director is Ms. Anne Catherine Bajard and the global vision for IBIS is: “Working for a just world in which all people have equal access to education, influence and resources.” Together with partners, IBIS combats global inequality and poverty.