Finn Church Aid will support the fight against Ebola through awareness raising in Liberia and Sierra Leone

Finn Church Aid will start raising Ebola awareness in the beginning of October in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Through  sensitising local volunteers, posters, flyers and radio broadcasts, activities will reach 70 000 people in Liberia. In addition, 2 650 infected households will receive materials, like buckets, soap and chlorite. Psychosocial support will be made available in the targeted local communities.

According to the World Health Organisation WHO, over 5 000 people have been infected and 2 622 have died in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in September. The countries’ health care structures are overburdened and cannot cope with the actual demand. The epidemic has had a paralysing effect on other health care functions as well. It has also caused the economy of the region to stagnate, causing the price of food to skyrocket and reducing its availability. The prices of other basic necessities, like hygiene products, have also risen.

The implementation of several FCA’s education and livelihood programmes has been suspended due to the closing of the region’s schools and banning of public gatherings. The funds saved from Ylen Hyvä Fund’s Nose Day Fundraiser, Women’s Bank and projects financed by the Foreign Ministry of Finland are now reallocated to the Ebola awareness raising project.

The sensitisation work will be done in provinces of Margib, Bong, Grand Bassa, Nimba and Grand Cape Mount in Liberia, and provinces of Koinadugu, Bombali, Pujehun, Bo and Kenema in Sierra Leone. The project is implemented by FCA’s long term partners, who have experience of working in the targeted communities.

”Local partners know the communities and local culture. Members of the community will be trained as awareness raising volunteers, who will go door to door”, Anaïs Marquette, Finn Church Aid’s Humanitarian Coordinator in West Africa, says.

The project raises awareness of the Ebola disease and its’ infection mechanisms and improves hygiene by distributing buckets, soap and chlorite – and by promoting improved hygiene practices.

“We especially want to reach women, because approximately 75 percent of the people who have been infected with or who have died from Ebola are women. Women customarily take care of the sick and wash the dead,” says Marquette.

The project will continue until the end of the year, after which the needs are reassessed.

Finn Church Aid’s West Africa office was established in 2008. Before that, FCA supported Lutheran World Federations’ work in Liberia.

For more information:
Anaïs Marquette ,Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid, West Africa Regional Office, Finn Church Aid, Tel. +33611661195
Jussi Laurikainen, Programme Coordinator, West Africa Regional Office, Finn Church Aid, Tel. +358 40 517 1635