Spotlight on Liberia: Survivors Association Update
By Meesha Brown | Co-Director of Global Programs
Survivor Association Training, Liberia
In May I shared the inspiring news of the important work that survivors associations in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are undertaking to pioneer reintegration of Ebola survivors, promote long-term adoption of disease prevention practices and challenge harmful stereotypes.
With the aid of capacity building seed grants from PCI Media Impact, these associations have made significant advances in meeting urgent needs in their communities. The Ebola Survivors Association of Liberia/West Africa Ebola Survivor and affected Organization (ESAL/WAESO) exemplifies their dedication and progress. The first step for ESAL/WAESO was to help its members—men and women who survived illness and loss—use the courage and determination they have demonstrated in facing stigma to gain new skills to help their communities. 60 members were trained in leadership and program development, management and monitoring. Volunteers also received guidance in psychosocial counseling to prepare them to directly support survivors struggling to adjust to rebuild their social and economic existences.
These survivors association members are already putting their new confidence and abilities to work in the Monrovia region. Members have performed outreach to over 2,000 community members to share their stories and lessons learned around Ebola prevention and the pain of survivor stigma. They distributed over 1,000 buckets to households in coordination with demonstrations of the importance of proper handwashing techniques. In the course of their outreach and engagement efforts, however, they observed a high need for continued focus on prevention vigilance now that the urgent threat of Ebola has been minimized, as well as continued demand for medical and financial support and counseling for Ebola survivors throughout Monrovia.
We are deeply impressed with the journey these resilient survivors are on to become champions for their communities. We thank you for all of your support and encouragement along the way.
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