Guest: Local West Africans Fighting Ebola Need More Support

BRAC PROJECT, BRAC healthcare workers.

After Thursday’s announcement from the World Health Organization that the number of Ebola cases have been vastly underestimated in West Africa, it’s clear that there’s still much to be done to stop the outbreak. The support pledged by USAID on behalf of the American people is vital. But individual citizens, businesses, and institutions also have an important role to play to stop this international disaster.

There are many local clinics and community organizations that are working hard to prevent outbreak in their own vulnerable slums, towns, and villages. However, our partners have told us that some staff have “been staying away from work because they do not feel safe – with little or inadequate protective equipment.” Individual donors can meet that need by giving as little as $15 to purchase coveralls for workers on the front lines of the fight.

Last week The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation matched $100,000 of individual donations toward Ebola relief and prevention projects on GlobalGiving. The Foundation’s generous gift helped inspire an additional $100,000 from 735 individual donors who supported nine locally-driven projects that have been thoroughly vetted by GlobalGiving. This response was significant, but there are still local organizations seeking support in order fight the outbreak.

One of those projects that still needs funding is a free outpatient hospital in Lakka, Sierra Leone. The hospital is in need of protective clothing for hospital staff and more supplies for the Ebola isolation tents that have been set up on the property.

Another organization is a community-based organization called West Point Women for Health and Development, made up of resident community healthcare workers from the largest slum in Monrovia, Liberia. This is the same slum that made the news this past weekend when community members raided an Ebola isolation clinic; making it clear that there is a need for locally-driven education and sensitization around the epidemic. The West Point Women are already well-positioned to engage in culturally-relevant training around Ebola awareness and prevention.  Donations will provide educational materials, personal protective equipment, and stipends to support these women who are the key to preventing an outbreak in the overcrowded slum.

GlobalGiving works with nonprofit organizations in more than 150 countries, so when disasters like the Ebola outbreak occur, we can quickly deliver funds to locally-driven organizations that are best-suited to provide relief in their own communities. We invite you to consider what you can do to support local organizations that are responding to Ebola. Investing in local capacity and resources to help communities survive and eventually recover is our definition of #SmartCompassion.