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Lehren aus dem Kampf gegen Ebola

Von Isabelle Uhe am
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Isabelle Uhe Projektkommunikatorin Afrika
Telefon: +49 (0) 30 65211-1477 isabelle.uhe@brot-fuer-die-welt.de
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Ein Netzwerk von Partnerorganisationen von Brot für die Welt aus Liberia und Sierra Leone, hat in der Folge des zweijährigen Kampfes gegen die Ebola-Epidemie die eigene Arbeit und die Situation in den Ländern reflektiert und veröffentlichte dazu eine Erklärung.

Das “Civil Peace Service Network Mano River Region” wurde im Mai 2008 vom Evangelischen Entwicklungsdienst gemeinsam mit Partnerorganisationen aus Liberia und Sierra Leone gegründet, um friedenssichernde Projekte in der ehemaligen Kriegsregion zu begleiten. Die Projektansätze reichen von Krisenprävention über friedliche Konfliktbeilegung bis hin zu langfristiger Friedenssicherung. Doch als die Ebola-Epidemie sich schlagartig ausbreitete, gab es für die Partner von Brot für die Welt in Sierra Leone und Liberia kaum ein anderes Thema als Ebola. Beide Länder waren von der Epidemie besonders stark betroffen und die Partnerorganisationen mit Informations- und Aufklärungskampagnen zum Thema Ebola befasst. Sie taten alles dafür, den drohenden Zustand der gesellschaftlichen Lähmung und Isolation abzuwenden. Dieses Engagement reichte von der kirchlichen Gemeindearbeit, über kommunale Sensibilisierungskampagnen und Erwachsenenbildung bis hin zur Verbreitung über Radioprogramme.

Während einer Konferenz erarbeitete das Netzwerk eine Erklärung und nennt folgende Schwerpunkte, aus denen es ihre Lehren für den zukünftigen Umgang mir derartigen Krisen zieht:

  • Die Einbeziehung der lokalen Bevölkerung ist dringend notwendig, denn nur dadurch entstehen wirklich nachhaltigste Ergebnisse.
  • Die von dem Netzwerk entwickelten Methoden, die in der Notsituation angewandt wurde, müssen beibehalten und auch weitergegeben werden.
  • Die Menschen, die der Epidemie den Kampf angesagt und sie überlebt haben, müssen diesen Triumph mit Stolz bekannt machen und als Grundlage für eine weitere, erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit sehen.

Im Folgenden nun der Wortlaut der Erklärung:

 

Quelu Farm Declaration

What we learned from the fight against Ebola

Civil Peace Service Network Mano River (Bread for the World)

Sierra Leone and Liberia

Quelu Farm, Careysburg, November 2015

 

For the last two years the partner organisations in Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as the CPS professionals – from near or far – have concentrated on fighting the Ebola epidemic. A lot has been achieved, even if the danger is still present. Despite the heroic efforts of local medical personnel our weakened medical infrastructures were a central problem in this period.  Suspicion and mistrust of the ordinary citizens towards the national decision makers also played a role. Building trust was our best ally in fighting rumors and panic. A coordinated response of all actors (Government, UN agencies, NGOs, INGOs, local communities, etc.) was crucial for the success of the Ebola fight.

Our work with the communities and our strong collaboration at all levels with all stakeholders has allowed for successful outcomes. We came together as one against Ebola. Why has that not yet happened against poverty?

We exchanged on what has been done and on the lessons learned from this hard but fruitful period. We want to share some of the lessons with a wider audience.

1)  It is necessary to embed international and national support into local work with the concerned communities. Local solutions are a must for sustainable results.

  • All efforts should be channeled through national and local structures; this will strengthen sustainability and deepen ownership
  • We should reassess and lobby against the new aid architecture that relegates local organisations to the role of subcontractors or implementing partners
  • We must strongly support sustainable medical infrastructures and international support or cooperation must be geared towards the development of  local competence
  • We must use local knowledge and strengthen local capacities
  • Governments should collaborate closely with local communities
  • Let us involve communities at the onset of any problem in finding solutions to the problem
  • We raise awareness and sensitization in communities to avoid complacency and rumour mongering

2)  Maintaining best practices: we developed a series of good practices and stood together in these national and regional emergencies. It is important not to lose that momentum.

  • Civil Society Organisations should still continue and maintain oneness like during the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic
  • CSOs should continue to engage and maintain interest in supporting surviving families
  • We promote involvement of religious leaders from all religions in all stages of the outbreak response and in the future work
  • We focus on advocacy for better governance in order to achieve better state/society relations and thereby improve trust and cooperation
  • Public-private partnership should be maintained
  • Strong national cohesion and unity are needed to protect national interests
  • Instead of criticizing and marginalizing youth we should continue to tap the energies of youths and give them positive roles as we did against the Ebola epidemic
  • We should organise regular coordinating meetings to create more synergies and complementarity among organisations and institutions in the field
  • It is necessary to reflect, identify, document and create platforms to share best practices
  • We should organize conferences at national levels to maintain best practices and build trust concerning issues of national interest
  • It is essential to engage the media
  • We have to learn from our mistakes
  • Let We should consider the context when using best practices from one country to another…”let us do away with one size fits all”

3)  The two countries (as well as Guinea) survived the epidemic. There are many deaths to mourn but also many survivors. We call ourselves “overcomers” meaning all those who fought the epidemic: survivors, medical staff, burial staff, community facilitators, educators, social workers, artists, decision makers, etc. We need to promote pride in what we achieved together and build from there.

  • Get “overcomers” themselves to suggest methods they think would promote pride in them
  • Treat Ebola survivors with respect and honesty
  • Provide basic counseling and livelihood support to affected/infected individuals of the Ebola virus
  • Those involved in the Ebola fight at the forefront must receive some form of assistance on a case-by-case basis – like free medical care, paying school fees for their children, etc.
  • More counseling needs to be established to support them go through these tough times

4)  Alas new cases of infected persons have resurfaced in Liberia and could resurface any day in Sierra Leone. What can we do to help tackle new cases?

  • Strengthen our health facilities to tackle new cases
  • Create testing centers in the rural areas at all community levels
  • Strengthen the health sector with adequate early warning systems in place
  • Continue to raise awareness on Ebola
  • Continue washing hands and practice safe burial by doing the swab test
  • Adhere to health issues, maintain clean environment and report to health officials when sick
  • A disaster management plan should be put in place at all levels
  • The entire community must be quarantined regardless of what district, tribe or political base
  • Heighten awareness and responsible attitudes of survivors and partners to help cut down the chain of Ebola transmission by sexual intercourse
  • Develop and enforce policies on seating capacity in taxicabs and all commercial vehicles
  • Investigate the origin of new cases thoroughly without raising alarm

Done this 26th day of November, 2015, at the Annual Mano River Capacity Building Workshop at Quelu Farms in the District of Careysburg, Montserrado County, Liberia WEST AFRICA, represented by the Mano River Civil Peace Service Network (Bread for the World Partners), AGEH CPS Coordinator for Liberia and facilitated by the CPS Mobile Team (Bread for the World).

Participants: Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL), Center for Justice and Peace Studies (CJPS), Conservation Society of West Africa (CSSL), Council of Churches of Sierra Leone (CCSL), Culture Radio (CR), Freetong Players International (FPI), Future In Our Hands (FIOH), Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), Liberia Opportunity and Industrialization, Center (LOIC), Lutheran Development Service (LDS), Mankind’s Activities for Development and Accreditation Movement (MADAM), Men’s Association for Gender Equality (MAGE), National Adult Educational Association of Liberia (NAEAL), New African Research and Development Agency (NARDA), Sierra Leone Adult Education Association (SLADEA), Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Food (SILNORF), Sierra Leone Opportunity Industrialization Center (SLOIC), Young Men’s Christian Association of Sierra Leone (YMCA), Young Women’s Christian Association of Sierra Leone (YWCA), CPS Coordinator, Sierra Leone, CPS Coordinator, Liberia, CPS Coordinator, AGEH                                            

 

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