Gbowee Foundation donates $5,000 to Ebola fight


Some of the community leaders with staff of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa

Some of the community leaders with staff of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa

As Liberia is now consumed by the talk of Ebola with schools closed, some government employees on compulsory leave and slowdown in economic activities with efforts to tackle the deadly disease, several institutions and individuals have been making contributions to the fight against the virus.

For some, the donations have been directed towards the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other institutions that are involved in fighting the virus, but the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA)  established by Liberia’s Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee is engaged in the fight against Ebola differently by using community leaders mainly youth and women to create massive awareness about the virus.

The Foundation  Thursday provided a total of US$ 5,000 to 12 communities in Montserrado County, including New Kru Town, the PHP Community, Clara Town, the Capitol Bye Pass, the Liberia Student Union and other organizations and communities to be used to create massive awareness on the prevention of the virus.

Following hour of presentation to the selected community representatives  by Mrs. Gloria J. Davis-Wayne, Prevention and Control Department at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to the community representatives, the Gbowee Foundation provided the funding to the communities to assist them in creating the necessary public awareness. Mrs. Wayne, who is a Public Health practitioner said the fear about the virus could be one major factor resulting to patients’ death as she indicated that people who contract the virus live with so much fear that they will not survive and as such it adds to the already deadly nature of the virus.

“You need to apply all the preventive measures, but also when you are infected don’t say you cannot survive and so you do not want to go to the hospital to report it, you can survive if you get to the medical center soon, there are many of our friends, nurses that have survived and are today with us”, she said.

According to her, the virus is deadly but can be prevented when people bear in mind that most medical practitioners and caregivers who have bodily contacts with patients are mainly at risk of contracting the virus.

She said “all you need to do, go into your communities with these posters and explain to the people stop doubting Ebola, it is real, don’t explain what you do not know about the virus, it will confuse people, go and explain the health and preventive tips from the Ministry of Health on these posters”.

Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, executive director of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa

Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, executive director of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa

The MOH volunteer on Ebola awareness said people are focused on reading the long history of the virus instead of looking at the simple preventive measures.

Mrs.  Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, Executive Director of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa told the selected community leaders that their support is highly essential in ensuring that Ebola is eradicated from Liberia. She said not every Liberian will want to accept messages on radios and newspapers and as such to add up to the good work of the media institutions, community discussions are needed to convince people that the virus exists and can be prevented.

The GPFA Executive Director challenged the selected leaders to serve as messengers for their communities as according to her awareness, education about the virus from communities will help the spread.

“Go as peace ambassadors, call small meetings, group discussions, one on one talks and create awareness to your people, no physical touch, washing hands, these are the things you should be telling your people and we are counting on you for good results”, she appealed.

Shortly afterwards, she told Nordic Africa News: “Right now, we do not have much, I have reviewed all of the proposals from the communities, and some are really good, but we only have this little amount which we are given to the first 12 communities when we get additional funding, we will do more, as we all try to fight Ebola”.

She added that the foundation will work to ensure that these community representatives use the little funding to work and show prove of work through community meetings and discussions on the prevention of Ebola.

Story & Photos: Peter N. Toby