Coronavirus: Gbowee provides help to Liberians

On April 24 Liberian President George Weah announced an extension of the stay home order for impacted counties with the objective of stopping the spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus outbreak in the country.

While these measures are necessary to halt the country’s pandemic, the socio-economic impact on vulnerable groups is excessively high with low-income communities less equipped to prepare for and respond to COVID-19.

Realizing this impact, Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) launched the second phase of its COVID-19 outreach to enhance the capacity of women-led organizations through mini-grants and direct emergency food aid to poor communities.

GPFA founder and president Nobel laureate Leymah R. Gbowee said “recognizing and addressing socio-economic issues is crucial in the COVID-19 fight.

“We must take proactive and inclusive measures to support vulnerable communities during this time of crisis. Some of these measures include, but are not limited to, the provision of food supplies and safe drinking water.”

Over the last week, the foundation distributed safe drinking water and food to 22 communities in and around Monrovia, the Liberian capital.

“In Liberia, access to pipe-borne water remains a challenge – it impedes the hand-washing protocol and is the cause of significant movement of people between communities which puts them at risk of contracting the virus,” Gbowee, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, said.

She also stressed that while the wearing of face-masks is now mandatory, many cannot afford the cost of reusable masks. Gbowee emphasized the need for the distribution of locally produced masks among the less fortunate.

Since the inception of COVID-19 in Liberia, the foundation has distributed over 2,000 face-masks to market women, bank tellers, motorcyclists and the general public.

She also applauded local organizations, youth and women-led groups for their efforts in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. “It is only through a collective approach that the fight against COVID-19 can be won,” she stated.

Prior to the extension of stay home extension order, GPFA, on March 27, launched its Coronavirus Outreach & Awareness Initiative (COAI) seeking to prepare communities to combat the spread of the virus.

This included several community-based approaches and partnerships with organizations & institutions.

Partnerships were forged with several radio stations to produce jingles that were subsequently translated into five local dialects (Kpelle, Mandingo, Bassa, Mano, and Kissi) as a means of disseminating the awareness messages to COVID-impacted counties.

Additionally, over 1,000 bumper stickers and sanitizing materials (including hand washing barrels & soap) were distributed to 32 communities in Montserrado and Margibi counties.

Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa