British Defence Minister visits Sierra Leone to learn about Social Mobilisation

02 Mar 15
Sierra Leone

Restless Development continues to lead the way through social mobilisation in the fight against Ebola. We are strengthening our activity on the ground, with Bo district this week being the 4th district in Sierra Leone to be declared completely Ebola free (by WHO standards).

Musa (left), UNICEF and other partners talking with Britain State of Defence Minister in Portloko.On the 17th February the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon, visited the Ebola Command Centre in Port Loko. He gained first-hand information about the activities of different organisations and innovators on the ground in the fight against Ebola. He spoke to key groups working in the Ebola response, including the Social Mobilization Team, Burial Team, Surveillance Team and the World Food Programme Team.

Musa Bangura, Restless Development field officer, had the chance to meet him:

"Fortunately I was working at the Command Centre, managing the Social Mobilisation Desk, when the Minister visited. I took the opportunity to discuss Restless Development’s work on the ground; he became interested not only in the social mobilization in the district, but in the role of Restless Development in Sierra Leone.

Field Officer Musa BanguraI therefore had the opportunity to discuss our work in Portloko district, and the SMAC intervention we are implementing. I was able to highlight how we have collaborated with other organisations in the district as part of our social mobilisation strategy, I also spoke about Restless Development’s Community Lead Ebola Action approach, emphasising our Action Plans and follow ups. This included describing a mobiliser’s daily work and the overall engagement of communities in the response.

This visit was very successful and the Minister commended the tireless efforts of the various groups working towards ending Ebola, he motivated us all to continue to work hard to end the deadly disease in our country."

Mr. Fallon was very impressed with Restless Development’s work specifically in the fight against Ebola.

Since your mobilizers are on the ground engaging local authorities and come up with action plans to combat Ebola, there is going to be less work for the other teams, such as the Burial and Case Management. So keep up the good work, we want to continue hearing daily reductions in the number of cases until it reaches to zero.

- UK Secretary of State for Defence, MichAEl FalloN

The Secretary of State for Defence highlighted how we are directly dealing with people at the grass root, as this is where the disease is spreading, so if our mobilisers are on the ground engaging with local authorities, the work will be more efficient for all involved.