The YMCA works to eradicate Ebola: An update from Sierra Leone YMCA

Date: 01 October 2014

Report from the Field: Christian Kamara, National General Secretary of the YMCA of Sierra Leone reports that the YMCA continues to work to eradicate Ebola. The YMCA is working in collaboration with other organisations in this effort. Christian sends his thanks to all supporters for their solidarity and financial assistance during this crisis. Below is an update and summary of the situation, the work of the YMCA, the government and other organisations.

The YMCA works to eradicate Ebola:

Distribution of veronica buckets and hand wash materials at specific spots in Freetown and Kenema

Eleven Veronica Buckets (buckets with taps) were distributed to other locations outside YMCA’s operational areas. Targeted spots are: Dworzack Junction, Leicester Road Junction, Fort Street Attaya Base Organization, Sackville Street, and Up-gun round about. The target beneficiaries at these spots are: first, the motor bike riders(Okada riders) second, the passengers who board thebikes and third, the youth who gather at the Attaya Base as social discussants. The bike riders from different Bike Riders’ Associations (BRA) were engaged and sensitised by YMCA Ebola Prevention Team on the relevance of proper hand wash for them and the passengers. They have embraced the idea and the use of Ebola prevention materials is in use.  YMCA Ebola task force also provides the hand wash materials (hand wash buckets, soap and chlorine) to two posts in its host community (Soja Tong) in Freetown.
The YMCA Regional Management term of Eastern Sierra Leone, also delivered Ebola preventive items to YMCA Kailahun and conducted a brief rehearsal with two selected peer educators for quality performance of duties as assigned. The items distributed include:

No Item Description  Quantity
1 Veronica bucket (with tap) for hand wash pcs 10
2 Megaphone ( for peer education) pcs 2
3 T-shirts ( to identify peer educators with their task) pcs 30
4 Posters, flyers etc (IEC materials) pcs 30
5 Chlorine (for hand wash) Bad (plastic) 1
6 GIV soap  ( for hand wash) carton 2
7 Vinnic battery ( for megaphone) carton 1

Peer Educators Ebola Prevention Outreach Campaign in Freetown and Kenema

Post training supports were provided to the community volunteers, such as, IEC materials (megaphones, posters, tap buckets etc) for effective community awareness raising. The YMCA has scheduled ten (10) targeted communities for awareness raising campaigns using the IEC materials distributed.
A total of 450 peer educators have been trained by YMCA (100 Volunteers of YMCA and 350 community members). Each peer educator is expected to target 5 peers per day. As per estimation, 450 peer educators have targeted 5 persons each daily for a period of 60 days (2 months) giving a, estimated total of 135,000 people reached so far. This information stands for all YMCA operational communities in Sierra Leone.

Each targeted community has a volunteer responsible for the mass sensitisation using the megaphone. For every sensitisation session, some of the trained community volunteers will converge and work around the community in group for recognition and the attraction of public attention for effective information sharing among community members across the communities.  Peer educators also engage community members at their individual residents to actually preach the Ebola messages. Questions and answers are accepted and appropriate responses have been widely encouraged.  

Production and airing of TV jingle

In the bid to scale up campaign in Freetown, other towns and hard-to-reach communities in Sierra Leone, YMCA have produced a viewer-friendly and more educative TV jingle aim at educating wider audience on Ebola prevention and control.

The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) TV has started airing the jingle. It’s a simple message that has to do with prevention messages from the NGS/CEO of the Sierra Leone YMCA.

Additional activities which Sierra Leone YMCA have implemented

The following activities are not part of this emergency appeal but are complementary activities which Sierra Leone YMCA have implemented in response to the Ebola outbreak.
SMS messages

The Sierra Leone YMCA have contracted a company called txt connect to work out an SMS Ebola message that will reach out to 2,000 people per day with different preventive messages and with different set of audiences per day. So far the YMCA has received very positive feedback from those who have received such text messages. The YMCA hopes to reach out to 60,000 people on different mobile network’s within one month.  It will cost about 4,500USD for three months to be able to reach out to 180,000 people within three months and although not originally included in the emergency appeal budget, it will be included now as over the funds requested have been pledged.
Food Ration Distribution

The Sierra Leone YMCA was contracted by the World Food Programme to distribute food rations to 10 Slum communities before the lock down on the 17th and 18th September whilst a further partnership was established to distribute additional food ration during the lock down on the 19th -21st September to quarantined homes and hospitals. A total of 124 YMCA volunteer’s, mainly young people, from the Sierra Leone YMCA participated in this event, 5 of these volunteers have also benefitted from the peer education training. The food rations were provided by the World Food Programme.
Distribution of Solidarity Rice

As Ebola Virus Disease continue to plague YMCA operational communities causing death and still infecting bread winners and household heads, the national Council of YMCAs in Sierra Leone has deemed it necessary to contribute to the nutritional needs of its staff and members by distributing rice to staff and volunteers.
A total of 270 bags of Rice were distributed to YMCA staff and volunteers with support from CVJM West Bund in Germany whilst the YMCA Driving Doctor health project distributed 220 bags of rice to the District Medical Offices in Bo, Port Loko and Freetown and also to pregnant and lactating mothers in Taiama and Tinkonko.