So far over 14,000 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported and over 5,000 deaths, and the number of infections has been doubling roughly every 4 weeks.
Restless Development has been one of the first to respond to the crisis, more than six months ago, and we are now scaling up our efforts.
With the pilot of our social mobilisation campaign, 200 community mobilisers were recently trained and dispatched to reach over 360,000 people in the four districts surrounding the initial quarantined zone. The training and lessons learned from this initial community mobilisation formed the basis of the upcoming Social Mobilisation Action Consortium (SMAC) intervention.
The Social Mobilisation Action Committee is a consortium funded by the Department of International Development, consisting of Restless Development, GOAL, BBC Media Action, FOCUS 1000 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The consortium brings together agencies with extensive experience in Sierra Leone in a national integrating mobilisation effort.
Our 102 staff, 40 interns and 1,770 volunteers will reach 7,800 communities in 13 districts. This is 625,000 households who will receive life-saving messages on Ebola, and will be empowered to lead their own response.
Our approach is not just a door-door awareness raising: it is a very sophisticated community-led response where our teams will be working with each community several times over the months to come to build up their response via the Community-Led Ebola Action approach that Restless Development designed.
The Community-Led Ebola Action approach aims to empower communities to do their own analysis and take their own action to become Ebola-free. Its aim is to inspire communities to understand the urgency and the steps they can take to protect themselves from Ebola. Social solidarity, cooperation, and mutual support are vital elements of community life in Sierra Leone, which can and already do contribute positively to Ebola response efforts.
Our team in Sierra Leone is working day and night, and the extent of their commitment goes beyond imagination. They are travelling upcountry and around Freetown to support our mobilisers, who gave up everything to engage in this vital fight for their country.