Scouts Played an Active Role in Ending Ebola in Sierra Leone
In early November, the Government of Sierra Leone and its partners announced the official end of the Ebola outbreak which had gripped the country for over 18 months.
The Scouts of Sierra Leone are among the actors who have played a key role in this victory. Supported by UNICEF, the Scouts of Sierra Leone undertook social mobilization including walking on the streets, carrying posters with information on the symptoms of Ebola and best practices to help prevent its spread, across the country. They also went door-to-door to reach every home, community and village with safety messages and to have a face-to-face engagement.
“The change in behaviour required an unprecedented mobilisation campaign – less eye-catching than the health specialists in space suits, but just as vital to the Ebola response. But we’ve also learned an equally important point - the importance of working with communities. In a little over 12 months we have gone from a situation where ambulances and medical centres were being attacked and denial of Ebola’s very existence was common, to one in which knowledge of safe practices and how people get infected are now widespread. In our response to any future new outbreak, we need to become serious about engaging with communities – investing in understanding their concerns and beliefs, and then working together to find solutions,” says Geoff Wiffin, the UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone in an article published on Thompson Reuters Foundation website (Victory Over Ebola in Sierra Leone) on 11 November 2015.
World Scouting congratulates and acknowledges the contribution of the Sierra Leone Scouts Association working with other partners to fight this terrible outbreak which especially hit the children very hard. We thank you for answering to the call of being Messengers of Peace and for keeping the Scout Promise. You are heroes to your people and the world. Through your efforts you have re-affirmed that Scouts can be counted on to help address issues affecting society and create a better world to live in.