GBARNGA, LIBERIA, January 10, 2015 --- Today at a ceremony in Gbarnga, Bong, over 200 community educators pledged to support efforts to drive Ebola out of Liberia by running high-impact awareness campaigns in communities across the county.
The launch is part of the Ebola Community Action Platform (ECAP), funded by USAID and developed by Mercy Corps Liberia and Population Services International, which is helping NGOs engage in total over 3,000 communities by training trusted local Communicators to provide key information on the Ebola virus.
The launch was run by local ECAP partner Equip Liberia along with its partners from 7 counties – Bong, Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Monserrado, Nimba and Lofa - and was attended by community health educators, County Health officials, Village Chiefs, representatives of Mercy Corps Liberia and many Bong County residents.
“Grassroots community engagement which builds local resilience is the best approach to educate the nation and eradicate Ebola from Liberia,” said Emmanuel N. Kimen, Program Manager at Equip Liberia. “As a lead agency in the ECAP program, Equip Liberia is committed to building the capacity of grassroots organizations to improve community health and effectively address crosscutting development challenges.”
“Let’s fight Ebola and stop fighting each other through stigmatization, rejection and discrimination. Ebola is our common enemy – no matter who you are and where you come from,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, Richlue O. BURPHY, Spokesperson for Mercy Corps Liberia said that Mercy Corps was proud to be supporting the Government’s ‘Ebola Must Go’ campaign through the ECAP program.
“Effective community engagement remains crucial if we are to eradicate Ebola, maintain the vigilance needed to halt its spread, and prevent such deadly epidemics from occurring in the future,” he said.
Over 500 people have so far been trained under the ECAP project which aims to reach two million citizens with critical information on Ebola. It will also evolve to help communities recover from the devastating social and psychological impacts of the virus.
Campaigns are delivered in vernaculars and incorporate community theatre, radio and art to ensure the widest possible reach of anti-Ebola messages.