EMERGENCY RESPONSE REPORT
Responding to the Ebola outbreak has generated a number of community level interventions including the development of uniformed bye-laws by the National Council of Paramount Chiefs and Local Councils for application in the respective districts and chiefdoms aiming at enhancing a people-cantered response and preventive action to contain and overcome the spread of the virus. However, translating the provisions in the bye-laws into the local context gearing towards raising people's awareness and understanding of the issues is still far-fetched. There is palpable fear, low awareness and participation among community people with respect to the formulation of the bye-laws, which makes room for misuse and abuse of powers in the process of enforcing these laws.
In addition, the seeming absence of conflict sensitive approaches of case management in the current Ebola crisis is another problem which this project's interventions looked at addressing. Given the recorded increase in spate of the spread of Ebola virus, restrictions of people and the sudden inflation on basic consumables threaten the human security of people and a potential risk of public disorder and violence, if not well managed. In addition, the current management and coordination surrounding social protection and the progressive realization of the rights and needs of people is still a challenge. These for example have aided to greater disparities in resource allocation and stigmatization of victims/survivors in most of the severely hit regions and underserved communities.
Therefore, this project employed community led initiatives in order to reduce the spread of the Ebola virus disease and the consequent stigmatization of victims/survivors through the use of existing community structures in outreach activities to chiefdoms, sections and villages in seven border districts to raise public awareness and understanding on Ebola preventive measures, panic management and conflict prevention techniques. It also intends to popularize, monitor and provide regular reports on the implementation of the bye-laws on Ebola and other diseases in the remote communities.
In collaboration with major partners such as the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Sierra Leone, Pikin-To-Pikin Movement (P2P), Democracy and Development Associates (DADA) and United for the Protection of Human Rights, the project was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sierra Leone.
Major Intervention Progress.
The proposed intervention was specifically for Freetown and as part of earlier engagement within the response drive, WASH-Net further succeeded in working with other partners in scaling up the intervention in other city sections and districts.
The plan which initially had provision for only one single activity, the Network succeeded in conducting induction trainings for 20 mobilizers and 10 Volunteers especially given the reality on the ground that there was a clear need for further community level animation.
Key Outcomes from the intervention.
- The two induction trainings comprised of various stakeholder groups which ranged from Chiefdom Ebola Committee members, Teachers, Trade Union, Youth Groups, Women's Groups and security personnel such as the police.
- There was greater level of awareness and information dissemination especially during the poster session on how volunteers and social mobilizers could effectively use the illustrative posters to reach out in their respective communities.
- Participants were also very candid in sharing with the team some of their fears especially looking at the trend in which case management is going on in their respective city sections, Chiefdom and the district in its entirety.
- Meetings were also held with major stakeholders in the Mile 91 and Magburakatownshipsas a result of additional supports we received to augment the Network's Ebola interventions.
- Media Engagement, which was originally not part of the intervention strategy became very useful in continuing to engage the larger public on some of the critical issues in the response drive.
Monitoring formed part of the project's core plan to not only quarantined households and communities, but also to ascertain the manner in which security checkpoints discharge their duties.
- In our monitoring, we realized that a number of quarantined homes do not get supplies of food
- Within the Thomson Bay community where our monitoring triggered stunning media hypes, the Network further provided over 300 bundles of sachet water, 10 cartoons of bathing soap and 10 cartoons of sanitary pads for women in 36 quarantined homes.
Human/Success Stories from the Field
Given the fact that lives are at risk, the response mechanism is still yet to me recalibrated to suit the growing needs of local level concerns.
In Magboraka for example, the One and only Medical Superintendent is currently under quarantine and that is also coupled to the closure of an entire maternity unit within the Magborake Government Hospital. A lot of public health scenarios continues to come out for larger medical attention in the Hospital but no one is there to have them treated. This is just one of the burning and felt realities residents are faced with and that government must step up better ways of addressing the current problem.
In another monitoring visit, at the Bo Road community, we realized over 6 households were quarantined but only one was provided with food supply. This was a serious challenge residents also shared with the team and as a show of evidence that itís possible from a civil society perspective, the WANEP team through P2P and YPPD handed over to the Ebola Taskforce one hundred and 50 kilograms of long grain rice and a box of sardine to be supplied to those families. This gesture was to demonstrate that it is possible to continue providing for the wellbeing and human rights of people observing quarantine processes.
Role of Other Development Partners:
In the response drive, we realized that in all four chiefdoms the Ebola Committees are very active on the ground. The only thing that is lacking in all of that is the level of response from the various treatment centers in handling people suspected of the virus at the Holding centers.
Specific Problems and Challenges in the EVD Response:
- Delay at the Holding Centers are also contributing to suspected Ebola patients escaping while others die.
- Even in quarantined districts and chiefdoms, people are still traveling in and out of the areas without any form of Passes from the NERC/DERC. This therefore suggests some level of bribery and ineffectiveness.
- Personnel manning the various security posts and checkpoints are not sufficient to provide the needed security to enhance compliance
- Absence of a testing center in the various chiefdoms and districts is still a burning challenge especially looking at the length of time results normally takes to get back.
- Chiefdom Bye-Laws are still yet to be translated on the ground
Lessons Learnt As Part of EVD Response
- Communities can be resilient in emergencies when they are provided the needed tools to cope and respond by way of preparedness.
- Peace consolidation and enhancement can be greatly challenged in health emergencies where response strategies are not people-driven
- Civil society institutions can be of vital essence in restoring citizenís confidence in the health system
- Reaching out to communities with the messages that is needed to roll back the spread of Ebola can be better done in collaboration with civil society.
An interview with Executive
Coordinator at YPPD on the Sustainable Youth Livelihood and Empowerment
Program in Northern Sierra Leone.
By Kaitlin, Student Volunteer with YPPD, Wesleyan University - USA.
Question: why was your project among others targeting at-risk women?
Ans: "Being a victim myself and coming from a society that respects men with more than one wife, I kept experiencing domestic violence as a child right from my family and the entire neighborhood I was raised in. today, being able to know the complexities surrounding women and the daily struggles they face -compounded by acute poverty, I suddenly came to the realization that being a man would also add voice to the silent majority of women in need of help.
My inspiration has therefore been built upon these daily struggles women - our mothers face and being at the Youth Partnership for Peace and Development's governance strata I am able to institute a youth-led approach towards ending violence against women and the UN-HABITAT funded Sustainable Youth Livelihood project is just one of those approaches." Musa Ansumana Soko
Breathing Life into An already lifeless situation as a port-conflict youth need
At YPPD, we are changing communities from within and creating a common language of hope for an already hopeless situation. Beneficiaries of this project are provided training and start-up facilities that enable them establish and manage their own smaller enterprises.
The goal is to address the acute poverty and unemployment faced by young men and women who are victims of marginalization and unemployment by proving supports through practical and vocational skills training and start-up facilities to 40 beneficiaries a year that enables them to be employed to help themselves and their families.
With our commitment, we want to continue offering an opportunity for each young man and woman in situations of extreme violence and poverty so they can in turn change their lives and give to An Alternative Youth Livelihood initiative - One Day I will Do Something.
Youth Partnership for Peace and Development together with partners will continue improving access to non-formal education through the provision of vocational skills training for vulnerable youth who are mainly war-affected victims, teenage mothers and former combatants. This will increase access to sustainable livelihoods, reduce youth unemployment, violence and promote self-reliance and sustainable peace in the country.
A Most Significant Change Story.
Since the Official Launch of the UN-HABITAT funded project in the Northern Province town of Makeni, it has touched positively the lives of young women and men especially in uplifting them from poverty and other forms of vulnerability by fostering economic freedom.
A total 80 less privileged and at-risk young women and men including those with disabilities have benefited from this project.
The Sustainable Youth Livelihood and Empowerment (StYLE) Program has immensely helped to put smiles on the faces of many young women and men who for one reason have experience marginalization and societal denial among others.
"Being a disabled young woman had brought nothing to me but abandonment from my family and friends, because they believed I could hardly do things on my own. Here am I today. I am now a certified graduate and of course with an opportunity of a lifetime I never imagined. My start-up kits will forever be with me as I continue adding more to it.
Winning this great battle does not mean I should stop practicing and I will request that as I have graduated from the training YPPD continues the regular support to other disabled men and women like me---" Mankaprin Kamara
Ramatu's Story (A single parent and victim of domestic and Gender-Based Violence)
Ramatu Bangura is a 19 years old young woman living in the Northern Province Town of Sierra Leone - Makeni, with 3 children. She was on a hot afternoon Saturday beaten by her husband and was asked to quit the home together with her children. She recently graduated from the UN-HABITAT funded project in tailoring/dressmaking and textiles design to enable her take care of her three children and paying rents. Ramatu, like many of her types continues to face similar problem and requires your help.
Some Success Stories from our beneficiaries:
Please read below Testimonies from our Beneficiaries:
Mabinty Kamara (Female 20)
"Personally before now I used to find it very difficult to listen to the radio especially when there is no interesting sound track playing.
Well this has changed about me for just a day that I listed to the SLBCRadio Station I heard a public notice about YPPD's project that aims at helping people like us to be better empowered economically. I am glad I am fortunate"
Kadiatu Bangura (Female 21)
"Had a project like this been available in Makeni, I would have gone far by now to emancipate myself from the burdens of unemployment and sale of my body fordaily survival. I just feel like enrolling again year-after-year but I need to move on with my already-acquired skills that will help me and my only daughter. I am glad I now have a way of uplifting myself to the next level."
Memunatu Conteh (Female 27)
"Owning a business of my own has always been a dream but before now I kept asking myself on how I will achieve that dream. Through YPPD and UN-Habitat for providing their support, my dream is a reality as I now have even an apprentice working with me in my small Tailoring Shop which.
Trainers at the Centre provides free training supports and treats us with dignity and respect as young adults and to me that's really amazing to see as compared to other institutions even when you pay your money you are still not respected"
Fatmata Bangura (Female 27)
"Being a disabled young woman had had brought nothing to me but abandonment from my family and friends, because they believed I couldhardly do things on my own. Here am I today. I am now a certified graduate and of course with an opportunity of a lifetime I never imagined. My start-up kits will forever be with me as I continue adding more to it.
Winning this great battle does not mean I should stop practicing and I will request that as I have graduated from the training YPPD continues the regular support."
MamusuKamara (Female 26)
"NGOs come and go year after year but I sometimes wonder what theyreally do to address unemployment and societal problems. I am glad I am apart of the Sustainable Youth Livelihood Training Center of YPPD. I'llremain grateful forever. Interestingly being the Chairlady of the 2010 program I feel much honored among my collagues. This has never happened in my entire life."
About the Organization
Youth Partnership for Peace and Development is a Sierra Leonean based youth-led development organization working with partners across the world to foster youth-led approaches to development. The organization was formed in 2005 by young people who strongly believe in the strength of youth to help bring about meaningful changes within the communities they live; by changing the mindset that young people should not only be regarded to as beneficiaries or objects of research but as equal and trusted partners in development. Please read more on http://www.yppdatwork.org
In our programs that address domestic and gender-based violence, YPPD have used a number of interventions ranging from direct action to policy advocacy endeavors. In the organization's effort, we have the "Helping THEM for a Lifetime" project that provides a safe haven for survivors and victims of domestic violence. This approach has been very helpful in addressing the economic vulnerability of women in a male-dominant society like Sierra Leone and especially in our operational areas
Action/2015 Sierra Leone Concludes National Stakeholders Forum
Stakeholders on Thursday, 5th February held a one-day consultative Forum in Freetown on Action/2015 which seeks to fight against poverty, inequality and climate change.Youth Partnership for Peace and Development (YPPD) in collaboration in partnership with the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) is coordinating this initiative at the national level together with the Action 2015 Taskforce.
The Forum was organized by Youth Partnership for Peace Development (YPPD) in collaboration with Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) at the Civil Service Training College in Freetown.
Sierra Leone Action/2015 Campaign Coordinator, Musa Ansumana Soko, said Action 2015 is a global movement of citizens set by various institutions around the world that hopes to build a global movement for change."In 2015, two inter-governmental processes on climate change and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda provide a powerful opportunity for collective and decentralized large-scal,, public-facing actions aimed at compelling governments at all levels to commit to ambitious and transformative action to end poverty, address inequality and ensure sustainable development," he said.
According to the Senior Planning Officer at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, M.K Lebbie, the high level participation of youths in the forum underscored the great importance they attached to the post 2015 development agenda.He said one needs to know that the world has undergone far-reaching changes in the past two years, adding that significant progress in many fields that are important for human welfare has been made through national and international efforts.
"Developing countries, including Sierra Leone, are still facing serious economic difficulties and an unfavorable international economic environment, and the number of people living in poverty has increased," he stated.
Lebbie noted that the key challenges for government are to ensure that commitments by partners and private sectors are realised in a timely and transparent manner. Representative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Aiah Wurie Kembay, stated that EPA-SL in an institution charged with the responsibility for the effective protection and management of Sierra Leone's environment, adding that environment and development are in extricable. 'Development is a process of improving the quality of all human lives," he said.
He said empowerment as a policy approach to sustainable development should be prioritized in all sectors within Sierra Leone.
Sahr Kendema of the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) said development has been a relative term as most countries across the world share similar characteristic.
He said most of these countries are underdeveloped because the problem of poverty, inequality, environmental problems, injustice, accountability, rule of law and illiteracy has not been met.
He disclosed that most countries are yet to achieve all the goals set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
By Alimatu Jalloh - Premier News