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ReliefWeb - Updates on Sierra Leone

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    Source: UN Children's Fund, UN Country Team in Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    By Harriet Mason, Communications Officer, UNICEF Sierra Leone

    FREETOWN, Sierra Leone – Scenic mountains surround the temporary displacement camp in which Mohamed Koroma and his two children have been living for the last four weeks. He sits on a mattress in a tent as he slowly flips through pages of a notebook. He is checking the lesson notes of his son Alpha, who has just returned from school.

    Mohamed’s family is one of the thousands that were affected by the recent flooding and landslide which claimed at least 500 lives in Freetown on 14 August. Many in this camp lost everything when a night of heavy rain triggered a landslide on one of the hillsides about the capital, sweeping away homes and possessions. “My family and I are lucky,” said Mohamed. “We survived because my children had gone on holidays and I had left to go pick them up. When we came back we couldn’t find our house or even recognize the spot where we lived. We lost everything we had.”

    As part of an innovative scheme, nearly two thousand affected households are being directly supported with cash through mobile money transfers funded by UK aid from the British people (also known as DFID). The project is being led by the Government’s National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA), with technical support from UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP). In recent years, unconditional cash transfers are increasingly used in emergency response as it allows households flexibility in deciding which needs require urgent attention, often making it a more empowering and dignified form of support.

    To help with the process, UNICEF gave the families new mobile phones and SIM cards to help them retrieve their cash.

    “Families have lost lives and property through these disasters,” said Hamid El-Bashir Ibrahim, UNICEF Sierra Leone Representative. “The cash transfer is timely and will provide vital support for affected households on their journey through recovery.”

    The cash is in addition to the regular support provided immediately after the flooding and landslide. UNICEF supported the Government’s Office of National Security to set-up temporary displacement sites, including one of the largest at ‘Old Skool’. “My son and I are sharing a tent with about a dozen other people…It’s much better than sleeping in the cold or in a dangerous place,” said Mohamed. People living in the temporary camps are being provided with a range of support including clean water, appropriate sanitation, nutritional supplements, health, education, child protection and psychosocial services.

    “I am really grateful for the money that I have received. I have used part of it to buy uniforms, bags, books etc. for my children. They have started going to school and that is helping them forget about what happened,” said Mohamed.

    The cash transfer scheme which will run from September to November 2017 and will provide beneficiaries Households with mobile money up to the equivalent of $180 (in three instalments) – to help families including women and children to survive and thrive. Additionally, a one-off conditional recovery aid cash transfer of the equivalent of $300 will be provided to households who wish to voluntarily get resettled in communities. An additional $216 from WFP cash for food for October and November will be provided to all beneficiaries who voluntarily resettle.

    Martha Kamara a nine-months pregnant woman and her daughter narrowly escaped the landslide, and is also benefitting from the cash transfers. “Things are not easy at the moment,” said Martha. “My husband has died so I now have to take care of three children, myself, and the baby after I give birth. You can’t understand how grateful I am for the money I received. It has been really useful especially to provide my children’s school needs.”

    As Sierra Leone recovers from the recent deadly incidents, the cash transfers bring relief to affected households as they try to resettle.

    “I am looking forward to the money we will be given for relocation. I will use it to find a reasonable housing in a safe location and move there with my family,” said Mohamed. “I am fighting hard to put what has happened behind me and build a new life for my family and myself.”

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    Source: Finn Church Aid
    Country: Liberia, Sierra Leone

    Finn Church Aid (FCA) has decided to shut down its country programmes in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of 2017. Involvement in Liberia led to the founding of the Women’s Bank volunteer network which currently has thousands of volunteers.

    “It is always difficult to make a decision like this. Over the past year we have worked hard to find new donors in both Liberia and Sierra Leone, but have not been adequately successful. However, it’s great that the work will continue by a local civil society organisation”, says Jouni Hemberg, FCA’s Executive Director.

    Finn Church Aid has operated in both West African countries for ten years. Involvement began with rebuilding efforts after over a decade of civil war and included training on farming methods and provision of psychosocial support and education to former child soldiers, particularly girls.

    “After ten years, our work is now picked up by locals. The Liberian staff members of our country office are founding a new, Liberian organisation to continue the work that FCA has done, and this is exactly how it should go”, Hemberg says.

    The decision was affected in part by Finnish foreign ministry’s cuts on development funding but also FCA’s shifted focus on the most fragile countries of the world, which Liberia and Sierra Leone no longer are.

    “At the moment we are discussing the closure of our programmes with beneficiaries and local partners and planning how we could best support them to ensure that the work remains on a sustainable foundation”, says Marjo Mäenpää, Desk Officer for West and Central Africa.

    Income opportunities and Ebola prevention

    FCA has maintained a country programme and a country office in Liberia since 2007. In Sierra Leone, FCA has been operating for seven years, and even before that, since 1993, FCA has supported the work of the Lutheran World Federation in both countries. During civil wars, work focused on providing basic necessities at refugee camps.

    FCA’s own work has focused on developing village communities and supporting livelihoods in rural areas by organising training on farming methods and supporting youth professional education.

    From 2010, FCA assisted refugees who fled violence in Ivory Coast during elections by maintaining schools on Ivorian refugee camps in Liberia.

    During the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, FCA distributed hygiene products – like soap, buckets and chlorine –, organised large-scale awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of Ebola and supported efforts to maintain food security. The latest humanitarian operation was the distribution of relief packages to victims of landslides and floods in Sierra Leone in late 2017.

    In Liberia, FCA will conclude its EU-funded project to train prison staff and communities and promote the rights of prisoners to legal counsel. The project will conclude in early 2019.

    Women’s Bank volunteer network has its origins in Liberia

    In January 2007, FCA invited a group of socially active women from Finland to travel to Liberia and meet local women. The trip inspired the group to act for the benefit of other women in developing countries. On 24 May 2007, Women’s Bank was formed and in ten years, it has grown into a network of over 3,000 volunteers and raised 11 million euros of funds to support more than 40,000 people in the developing world.

    In Liberia and Sierra Leone, Women’s Bank supported vulnerable girls and women in obtaining livelihoods, for example by providing vocational education and entrepreneurship training. Altogether, 12,000 people benefitted from the Women’s Banks’ work in the two countries.

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    Source: International Organization for Migration
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Freetown – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) earlier this month (05/10) established Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) courses for healthcare professionals at the University of Sierra Leone, College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences (CoMAHS) and Njala University.

    During the 2014-2016, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, Sierra Leone recorded 14,124 infections and 3,956 EVD fatalities. Throughout the duration of the crisis, 436 healthcare workers died as a result of exposure to the virus – a significant loss to the healthcare workforce. Moreover, malaria, cholera, typhoid, STIs/HIV/AIDS, respiratory tract infections, Lassa fever, maternal and child mortality and multi-drug resistant TB remain ongoing battles.

    The one- to two-week courses aim to ensure that all future healthcare professionals will receive context-relevant and government-approved training in IPC before they embark on their practical experience. The initial beneficiaries will include clinical and non-medical cadres.

    Clinicians will be represented by 2,520 final-year students; doctors, nurses, midwives and laboratory technicians. Non-medical beneficiaries will be 3,960 paramedical units; pharmacists, public health, environment health, social scientists and teachers. Other trainees will include students in environmental sciences and animal sciences, as well as non-clinical cadres such as teachers and others working in the communication sectors.

    “These 27 graduates will be torch-bearers of infection prevention and control as we introduce these new courses in the two universities,” said Sanusi Savage, IOM Head of Office.

    This project contributes to the overall aims of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) and the President’s Health System Strengthening plan – improve maternal and child survival rates, maintain zero EVD and prevent, detect and respond to epidemics. This contribution has been made possible through the combined effort of IOM, MOHS, USAID, Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN) CoMAHS, Njala University and other partners.

    In 2015-16, IOM delivered emergency IPC training across the country with the support of USAID. Sierra Leone is now in the recovery phase following the EVD outbreak. This is an opportune time to establish a system to strengthen the healthcare system. The establishment of these courses will equip every healthcare professional with standard and evidence-based tools to protect themselves, their patients and the community.

    For more information, please contact IOM Sierra Leone:
    Sanusi Savage, Tel: +232 99606000, Email:
    Dr. Aurelien Pekezou, Tel: +232 99606001, Email:

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    Source: World Bank, GFDRR
    Country: Sierra Leone

    Executive Summary

    A massive landslide in the Western Area Rural of Sierra Leone on August 14, 2017, slipped into the Babadorie River Valley and exacerbated existing flooding in the Western Area Rural and Urban (Freetown), affecting about 6,000 people of which 1,141 have been declared dead or missing.

    Following three days of intense rainfall, a mountain valley side slope in the Regent area below Sugar Loaf, the highest peak in the north of the Western Area Peninsula, collapsed and caused a major landslide. According to eye witness accounts, the landslide took place in two stages—with the lower part of the slope slipping into the valley, and 10 minutes later, the upper part of the slope. The two-stage slip, and particularly the second, comprising a mix of clayey soil and boulders of all sizes (up to 40 cubic meters) traveling from high up the slope, would have had tremendous energy and momentum. Residents reported a large ‘tidal wave’ of material advancing down the river channel immediately after the landslide as the debris pushed the flood water in front of it.

    The damage and loss caused by the landslide and subsequent debris flow along the Babadorie River Valley differed significantly from that caused by the flooding in other valleys across Freetown City. The main landslide caused major destruction in infrastructure, including buildings, bridges, schools, and health facilities in the Regent, Malama/Kamayama, Juba/Kaningo, and Lumley areas. Flooding in areas outside the landslide zone affected 55 percent of the households in the Culvert and Dwazark neighborhoods of Freetown on the same day. The value of real estate damages and losses was higher than that of the other infrastructure sectors, which is typical of a disaster caused by a natural hazard event in an urban area (Figure 1).

    Damage impact also varied by geography, with lower income settlements being at the recipient end of the floods. Based on the satellite imagery and wardlevel census data, differences in the quality of housing can be clearly distinguished along the water course and area of impact. The more upstream housing close to the landslide in Regent were better built and larger in size, whereas closer to the ocean, informal settlements dominated the urban landscape (Figure 2).

    The Government of Sierra Leone requested the World Bank’s support to conduct a comprehensive rapid Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA), in partnership with the United Nations (UN). The DaLA was carried out from August 24 to September 8, 2017, with the objective of estimating damages and losses and of making preliminary estimations for mobilizing funds and launching immediate recovery.

    The assessment covers ten sectors, four cross-cutting areas, and preliminary recommendations for immediate, medium-, and long-term needs. UN agencies and other development partners will support the formulation of a programmatic plan covering key institutional, policy, financing, and implementation actions.

    This DaLA is a living document and, as such, is subject to revisions as additional data become available. The report has sought to outline what is desirable and what is possible. The next step is to commence upon a recovery framework, which the UN will lead with the government, to guide and coordinate recovery and reconstruction efforts.

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    Source: UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
    Country: Angola, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia

    By Evelyne Karanja

    Nairobi, Kenya, 18 October 2017 - The African Union has announced plans to increase the number of member States with national disaster loss data bases and to put a training programme in place in preparation for the roll-out next year of the Sendai Monitor, the UNISDR-backed mechanism for measuring progress in reducing disaster losses.

    The head of UNISDR’s Regional Office for Africa, Mr. Amjad Abbashar, said: “The African Union is a critical partner in raising the level of disaster risk management in Africa and making progress on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction including reducing the numbers of people affected by disasters which was the focus of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction on October 13.

    “This work is important when the region is struggling with the interplay between poverty, drought, environmental degradation, climate change, and unplanned urbanization. The African Union is investing in better risk governance through these initiatives.”

    These key areas were highlighted at the Eleventh Session of the Africa Working Group (AWG) on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Mombasa, Kenya from 26-27 September 2017. The meeting, organized by the African Union Commission’s Disaster Risk Reduction Unit within the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (AUC –DREA), with support from UNISDR Regional Office for Africa, and hosted by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) brought together 60 participants drawn from African Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UN agencies, NGOs, academia, media and youth.

    “Disasters continue to rage in Africa – the recent mudslides in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone that saw hundreds of lives lost and numerous livelihoods destroyed, as well as the recurring drought in the Horn of Africa, illustrate the urgent need for concrete actions that will enhance resilience against both natural and anthropogenic hazards” said Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of Rural Economy and Agriculture at African Union Commission.

    The AWG participants committed to organize a Training of Trainers for AUC and RECs on the global Sendai Monitor. They agreed to develop indicators and a monitoring framework for the Africa Plan of Action in coherence with indicators developed for measuring progress on implementing the Sendai Framework, Sustainable Development Goals, and AUC’s Agenda 2063. Participants also called for strong engagement with national statistical institutions in this regard.

    The next AWG meeting to review progress is scheduled for March 2018.

    The working group meets every six months and plays an important role in providing technical support to the African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, Member States and partners for the coordination and implementation of the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction and its Programme of Action.

    The meetings are part of the “Building Disaster Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa Programme” a multi-year regional programme funded by the European Commission and being implemented as part of its cooperation with the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. The programme has five result areas that are implemented by the African Union Commission, UNISDR, the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery and the African Development Bank’s Clim-Dev Africa Programme.

    Cabo Verde, Guinea Bissau, Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland, Tanzania, Angola, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, have so far received training in disaster loss databases, and Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland, Angola, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia have their databases up and running since the inception of the programme, allowing for better risk understanding and more risk informed investment in sustainable development.

    UNISDR has established a training server in Geneva as part of efforts to build capacity of countries to account for and analyse disaster losses.

    Mr. Abbashar observed that steady progress is being made on target (e) which seeks to substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020. “This work will get a major boost when the 2016 East African Communities Disaster Bill is enacted by the region’s Heads of State,” he said.

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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    The West and Central Africa region has experienced severe flooding in the 2017 rainy season, causing significant material and human casualties. A combination of swollen rivers and high impact incidents has led to destruction of infrastructure and agricultural assets, population displacement, and complications for access and relief assistance. Rainfall forecasts through December indicate near to above the seasonal average in extreme eastern Congo and west of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and very likely above-average rainfall over most of the Cameroonian and Equatorial-Guinean coasts, north-eastern DRC, and the extreme south-east of Central African Republic (CAR). High impact flood incidents are profiled below.


    As of 5 October, the Government of Niger estimated that 206,513 people had been affected by flooding in the country, including 56 deaths. Approximately 12,000 houses have been damaged, 16,000 heads of cattle perished and 9,800 hectares of cultivated land lost. With strong support of humanitarian partners, the Government distributed 332,350 tons of cereals and about 2,000 shelters to affected people country-wide.


    Weeks of torrential rainfall led to flash floods, discharges and river overflowing in Benue State, north-central Nigeria, affecting more than 100,000 people across 21 local government areas in the state. The Nigerian Red Cross provided immediate response of food and non-food items.
    A displacement site which was set up by the State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was closed on 9 October and flood victims provided with transport fare to return home.

    Burkina Faso

    12 of 13 regions and 30,862 people in Burkina Faso have been impacted by flooding and violent winds, according to the national disaster management agency SP/CONASUR.
    Severely affected provinces included Gnagna (7,527 people affected) Gourma (4,508), Bam (3,896) and Namentenga (3,401). As of 16 October, 12 fatalities were reported, as well as substantial material damage including the loss of 214 tons of food and destruction of 5,256 houses. Affected people, in particularly the displaced, have received emergency assistance in the form of food and non-food supplies through local structures of SP/CONASUR.


    On 21 August overnight torrential rain caused a hillside rubbish dump to collapse in Conakry, killing 10. The country was also impacted by flooding in the Prefecture of Nzerekore, following heavy rainfall on 4 July (IFRC). Joint Red Cross / Government assessments indicated that 3,274 people were affected, in areas that had suffered previously from the Ebola crisis.


    More than 11,000 people have been affected by floods since the beginning of the rainy season in June, primarily in the north. As of 27 September, 3 deaths have been reported (Segou region), more than 1,200 houses destroyed and over 500 damaged. Pastoral communities have been particularly affected, with 26,000 animals lost—an extreme increase from 1,352 in 2016. The Timbuktu region has suffered the greatest impact, with two thirds of the overall number of affected people and almost all of the lost animals.

    Sierra Leone

    On 14 August, the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain collapsed after weeks of heavy rain, triggering catastrophic landslides and floods in and around Freetown. Over 6,000 people were directly affected and about 600 deaths reported. A UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team was deployed by OCHA from 18 August – 7 September. By 5 September, distributions of food and non-food items reportedly reached over 85 per cent of affected people. The UN system in Sierra Leone continues to support national recovery.


    Flooding in Ghana's northern region displaced an estimated 11,800 people and caused 7 deaths, as of 24 August. 147 communities in 11 districts were affected. The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) has distributed relief items such as mattresses, blankets, portable water and bags of rice. Earlier in the season, on 10 July, the following regions were declared flood emergencies and/or under threat of floods with potential to cause devastation: Greater Accra, Central Western and Eastern (IFRC).

    Central African Republic

    The town of Kouango, in the prefecture of Ouaka, last registered with floods in 2007, recorded some 1,750 affected people and at least 276 houses destroyed, as of 16 September (IFRC). Mobilization is underway, including a DREF request by the CAR Red Cross. Prolonged rainfall in the post-conflict area risks threatening food and agriculture and increasing vulnerability to conflict. Torrential rains on 9-10 September resulted in severe flooding in Kabo, a town in north-central CAR, and some villages on the Farazala axis, collapsing some 800 houses. The presence of armed groups in the area is a potential risk to the vulnerable population.

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    Source: UN Development Programme, UN Country Team in Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    This weekly update is produced by UNDP in collaboration with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Sierra Leone, liaising with the Office of National Security and development partners.

    Situation overview

    Following the landslides and floods that hit Freetown and surrounding areas on 14 August 2017, the UN system in Sierra Leone continues to support national recovery.

    In addition to addressing the urgent needs of those most affected, medium and long term assessments and Action Plans are being put in place under national leadership to ensure risk mitigation and protect the people of Sierra Leone from future tragedy.

    For the purpose of information and coordination, relief and recovery efforts are detailed here.
    Recovery efforts



    • WHO supported the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in planning health workers' sensitization on surveillance of and response to cases of cholera, diarrhea with severe dehydration in children under 5, measles, dysentery, typhoid and malaria in eight selected hospitals in Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural districts. Planning included the identification of the eight hospitals, identification of the health workers, and scheduling of sensitization visits. This sensitization aims to increase the index of suspicion of the selected priority diseases or conditions, and the capacity to respond to cases among health workers.


    • Provided a truck full of assorted medical items to the Office of National Security and Ministry of Health on 12October, to support response efforts in the country and promote health and wellbeing of IDPs.

    • Distributed 505 blankets and 205 bed nets to IDPs at Old Skool, Juba, Kaningo camps and St Georges Foundation, respectively, to ensure they are safe from Malaria.



    • A door-to-door campaign is being carried out by 30 Disaster Management Volunteers in Kamayama and Kaningo. 2,487 households (12,810 people) have been reached so far. Aquatabs were distributed to 1,234HHs. The activity will continue until the 19 October.


    • ChildFund through Hope International (WHI) and Living Water Sierra Leone (LWSL) has distributed P&G Water Purifiers to Juba old Skool, Kaningo and surrounding communities.

    • Provided WASH materials to provide adequate water and sanitation in the two Camps: four Large Trash cans, two five thousand litters Milla Tanks and 19 Veronica Buckets to ensure adequate water supply and for the promotion of hygiene and Sanitation in Old Skool and Juba emergency Response centres.

    • Supporting 12 Hygienists at Old Skool for 45 days to ensure the Camp continue to be clean and tidy at all times.

    CARE International

    • Distributed a total of 1,530 Aquatabs (tablets) to 132 households in the affected communities of Kaningo (54 households) and Pentagon (78 households). The household beneficiaries received between 10-40 Aquatabs, or an average of 12 Aquatabs per household (6 – 12 October).

    • Distributed a total of 230,000 liters of clean water to twelve 10,000-litre capacity water tanks located in Kamayama (3 tanks), Kaningo (6 tanks), Pentagon (2 tanks) and Juba Barracks (1 tank).
      CARE also monitored the water’s Free Chlorine Residual (6 – 12 October).



    • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has donated 1000 cooking stoves, commonly known as “Wonder Stove” to the Office of National Security (ONS). This donation was to reduce the burden of cooking utensils on affected households that are being repatriated to their communities as most of their property were washed away by the floods. The use of the stoves, as they are smaller in sizes, is expected to reduce the amount of charcoal used for cooking and, thereby, help decrease deforestation.

    • Also, as a show of solidarity, the FAO Staff Association donated food items and used clothes to the affected families.



    • To date, 1,822 affected households have been registered and verified, while approximately 300 households claimed to have been left out of the initial registration and biometric verification.
      There are currently 132 households residing in camps, including 500 individuals in Old Skool and 486 in Juba. (The ministry of social welfare, as lead of the registration pillar, was supported by WFP and other UN agencies and NGOs to verify beneficiaries, and also NEC conducted a biometric verification following the first verification exercise).

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Sierra Leone

    When the biggest natural disaster on record in Sierra Leone hit Freetown on 14 August, hundreds of staff and volunteers immediately joined in the response and relief efforts to assist those affected. The scale of the disaster challenged the authorities’ existing resources, particularly for search and rescue. “I played my part. Our contribution might not have made headlines in the media but it was a significant part of the process and I feel satisfied in myself to have supported these efforts,” says Dain Kay*, a volunteer grave digger in Waterloo village.

    At the scenes of the mudslides and flash floods that killed over 500 people and displaced approximately 6000 others, volunteers played amazingly important roles in very many ways. According to Pieter Peters*, a resident of the downstream Kamayama community, rescuing people that were being washed away as well as recovering the dead from the gushing streams was frightening, but, he says, it had to be done. “We pulled both living and dead people from the flood waters in large numbers.”

    The support of volunteers like Dain and Pieter was prominent at different levels of the response, as well as staff from government agencies and partners who worked hours beyond their usual routines. From search and rescue operations to management of bodies at the mortuary in the main referral hospital, Connaught; digging of over 500 graves and burying of those killed in the disaster, their role was crucial.

    And, despite the fact that some of them had contributed to past national disaster responses such as the Ebola outbreak, many say they had never dealt with any single event as catastrophic or traumatic as this. For some frontline volunteers and staff, this work would test their resilience to stress.

    “I was part of the burial team during the Ebola outbreak but taking part in the digging and burial of such a large number of people still haunts me,” says Dain. Dain and many other youths participated in the digging of hundreds of graves for the burial of the remains of the 500 people pulled from the rubble. He added, “Even after it was done, I continued to smell that foul stench for several days and I also had terrifying dreams of digging graves.”

    Similar stories were also expressed by other volunteers as they narrated their experiences during recent workshops that were conducted through trained mental health staff, telling of flashbacks they had experienced. Some had started drinking or using other substances – self-medicating - to relieve their stress.

    “Frontline responders are not passive emotional bystanders when a disaster occurs and their needs should never be neglected in an emergency response,” explains Florence Baingana, Mental Health Specialist at the World Health Organization in Sierra Leone. “Understanding and addressing their immediate and long term psychological needs also enhances the quality and effectiveness of the services they can provide to others. So it is really an essential component of effective disaster management.”

    Cognizant of the mental health issues that can emerge during emergencies, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from the World Health Organization and UKAid quickly deployed Mental Health Nurses to provide critical psychological first aid and more intensive psychological and mental health support to affected individuals, families and communities. Since September 2017, these services have been extended to ambulance drivers, grave diggers, and mortuary personnel.

    Trainings and workshops aim to help them recognize and manage signs of mental distress, in themselves and in others, and ensure they know how to access mental health care services. Compassionate communication and psychological first aid trainings have also been provided to health workers working in the affected areas. Over the coming weeks, these trainings will be extended to Community Health Officers and Social Workers working with displaced people.

    “Through the trainings, the Ministry and partners have been working to tackle stigma and preconceived ideas people often have about mental health,” says Baingana. “This means making sure people know that it is normal to not be ok after experiencing traumatic events and when there is need, that they feel empowered to reach out for help.”

    Such help and support services are available at Connaught and the 34 Military Hospitals in Freetown as well as through the 19 mental health nurses stationed at the district hospitals.

    • Names have been changed to protect the privacy of interviewees

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    Source: African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo



    Over the past three decades, national dialogue has increasingly been recognised as a mechanism for conflict resolution, peacebuilding and a viable framework for expanding the space for political participation and accommodation. Although widely recognised as a nationally owned process, the international community, regional and, more often than not, subregional organisations – depending on the nature and contextual dynamics of conflicts – play an important role in supporting national dialogue processes. This is true with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a subregional organisation with over two decades’ experience in mediating and supporting peace processes in the West African subregion. Whilst regional integration was the singular purpose of ECOWAS’s establishment, political conflicts and instability in the 1990s – and the subsequent need to evolve mechanisms and structures that encourage the peaceful resolution of intrastate and interstate conflicts through good offices, conciliation, mediation and other methods of peaceful settlement of disputes1 – became the impetus for ECOWAS to refocus its attention on developing a regional architecture for peace and security.

    This article2 provides an overview of ECOWAS’s efforts at supporting national political dialogue processes in the subregion through its numerous declarations, statements and field interventions, with a focus on Guinea. It is important to note that as a subregional organisation promoting peace, security and regional stability, ECOWAS constitutes one of the pillars of the African Union (AU) Commission’s Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), and works in partnership, cooperation and collaboration with the AU, United Nations (UN) and other relevant international actors in promoting peace processes in its member states.

    Contextualising National Dialogue: Definition and Contending Issues

    Preventing conflict means “building relationships between people and communities so that they can talk about their problems, in order to prevent those problems from escalating into violence”.3 Dialogue, an essential tool of communication, has been defined as “an interactive conversation between one or more sides working together towards a common understanding”.4 “It is a process of people coming together to build mutual understanding and trust across their differences, and to create positive outcomes through conversation.”5 As part of a wide range of peacemaking approaches, “dialogues are not only to resolve conflicts but more importantly to heal wounds, reconcile groups, build confidence and trust in institutions and in people towards social cohesion and national development”.6 Conceived in this sense, it is argued that “dialogue can only have positive effects when both sides are willing to take into account what the other side considers as its vital interest”.7 Dialogue helps to foster relationships and build an inclusive consensus among a wide group of actors.8

    Dialogue can take place at various levels in a given society – at the local and community level, as well as at the national level. Equally, dialogues can come in various forms, among which are high-level or summit dialogues, involving the top leadership of contending sections of the population, often initiated or mediated by the international community; civil society and community-based organisations’ facilitated dialogues; multilevel dialogues, involving various levels of society in an effort to engage citizens in building sufficient national consensus on critical challenges; and political dialogues, which take place as an indispensable aspect of planning for peacebuilding, state-building and development,9 or as a framework for addressing threats in a society that can cause a lapse or relapse into violent conflict.10 These four approaches are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary, with each type having its own advantages and limitations.11

    National dialogues, however, have a distinct format, characterised by their national scope and purpose. They have been defined as “nationally owned political processes aimed at generating consensus among a broad range of national stakeholders in times of deep political crisis, in post-war situations or during far-reaching political transitions”.12 In terms of their scope, national dialogues address issues of national relevance, such as power-sharing during peacebuilding processes, preparations for national elections, and the drafting of new constitutions.13 With regard to their purpose, national dialogues aim to restore broken state–society relations and to work on a viable social contract that allows for participatory state and nation-building.14 National dialogues are expected to establish a minimum consensus among all relevant stakeholders at a national level on ending hostilities, and pave the way for creating legitimate state structures of governance and institutions accountable to the public. This means that national dialogues are “expected to be participatory and to include the main political stakeholders, the conflicting parties, as well as societal groups such as ethnic and religious minorities, and civil society representatives”,15 including marginalised populations such as women and the youth.

    We understand that national dialogues are nationally owned processes. As Giessmann states: “While the inception of a National Dialogue may be brokered or supported by external mediators – such as the UN – the process of a National Dialogue must be convened, owned and driven by its national stakeholders.”16 ECOWAS’s initiatives at supporting national dialogue processes do not deviate from this key defining element of national dialogue as a tool for managing complex political changes and political transitions, or deepening inclusive and participatory politics in all of its member states. It is within this defining element of national dialogue that ECOWAS works to facilitate and create spaces for member states to dialogue over a broad range of issues or specific issues, as the case may be, through the tools of preventive diplomacy, mediation and good offices. However, it is important to emphasise that national dialogues are only one way to address political crises and violent conflicts. “Change processes, whether peace processes, political transitions or processes to prevent or manage a political crisis, tend to incorporate a range of different methods and mechanisms, including mediation and negotiation.”17 Practitioners agree that “dialogue is not a substitute for negotiation and mediation in conflict situations”.18 Rather, it is “an essential part of conflict resolution and prevention processes, wherein the goal is to build sustainable peace”.19

    Some of the contentious issues around which individuals and groups agitate for dialogue in ECOWAS member states often relate to access to political power; demands for inclusive and participatory politics; demands for power (re)configurations, based on regional or ethnic balance; demands for equitable and fair distribution of national resources; and political and economic systems restructuring and reforms, including demand for decentralisation of political power and autonomy. Elections and electoral processes equally generate controversies around which national political dialogues are often convened to resolve. Such controversies may revolve around political power tussles between incumbent presidents/prime ministers and opposition leaders; (dis)qualifications of candidates for elections; disagreement on the electoral code, voters’ register and timetable for elections; and questions around the independence and/or composition of the electoral management bodies. There are also demands for national political dialogues over constitutional and institutional issues.

    The section that follows examines ECOWAS’s support to Guinea’s political dialogue processes.

    ECOWAS’s Support to Political Dialogue Processes in Guinea

    Guinea is an important member state of ECOWAS and played an active stabilisation role in the political crisis of the Mano River region in the 1990s and early 2000s. The current president, Alpha Condé, is the ECOWAS-appointed mediator in the ongoing political and institutional crisis in Guinea-Bissau. Guinea has, however, experienced its own internal political crisis from 2007 to 2010, mainly caused by the uncertainty surrounding former president Lansana Conté’s succession, culminating in a military seizure of power on 23 December 2008 by the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD) under the leadership of Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. Acting in conformity with the provisions of its relevant legal and normative instruments and protocols, ECOWAS rejected the coup, and suspended Guinea from participating in meetings and all decision-making bodies of the community. However, it negotiated with the CNDD for a return to constitutional order by establishing a National Transition Council under a transitional president, which worked towards the realisation of a return to democratic rule through the conducting of presidential elections in November 2010 in which members of the CNDD – including its leader, Camara – were not allowed to stand for elections.20

    At the onset of the 2007–2010 political crisis in Guinea, ECOWAS initially appointed former president of Nigeria, Ibrahim Babangida, as special envoy for the Guinea crisis, and tasked him to work with Guinean political actors and stakeholders for the promotion of political dialogue towards returning normalcy to the country.21 At its Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held on 17 October 2009, ECOWAS officially announced former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, as its facilitator in the Guinea crisis. It expressed its strong support for his mediation efforts, among other things urging him to take all appropriate steps to re-establish dialogue among the Guinean political actors towards the establishment of the then-transitional authority, to ensure a short and peaceful transition to constitutional order through credible, free and fair elections.22 ECOWAS had mobilised international support for the establishment of the International Contact Group on Guinea (ICG-G), which served as a constructive platform for political dialogue between the CNDD and other stakeholders in Guinea. This led to the holding of elections in 2010, in which Condé, the current president, defeated Cellou Dalein Diallo in the final round on 7 November 2010.

    Despite Condé’s victory and the country’s successful completion of the transition to democracy in 2010, Guinea needed a post-transition national political dialogue to address critical unresolved issues. Therefore, it was not surprising that in the lead-up to the presidential elections of 2015, contentious issues were raised. These issues revolved around the ordering of elections; the composition and independence of the electoral commission, Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante (CENI); and the unresolved issue of the special delegations that the president had appointed to oversee the administration of local councils/districts following the expiration of their mandate – all became important sources of tension and political deadlock, resulting in violent protests, killings and the destruction of property.

    On 11 March 2015, the CENI released the electoral calendar, fixing the holding of presidential elections for 11 October 2015 and local elections by the end of the first quarter of 2016. The electoral calendar was vehemently opposed by the opposition, which preferred the holding of local elections before the presidential elections.23 Amidst growing political tensions and uncertainty, ECOWAS, at its 47th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government held on 19 May 2015 in Accra, Ghana, emphasised the “need for dialogue among the political stakeholders in Guinea” and urged them to “systematically use dialogue to achieve the consensus necessary for the electoral process”24 to move forward. The ECOWAS Authority subsequently directed the ECOWAS Commission “to facilitate the dialogue between the government and opposition” and “welcomed actions taken by the President of the Commission to dispatch a high-level mission to Guinea to aid the achievement of consensus among stakeholders on the conduct of the elections and preservation of peace in the country”.25 On 25 May 2015, Condé directed his prime minister to engage with opposition leaders in dialogue to put an end to the deadlock. However, the president emphasised that the dialogue must be purely an inter-Guinean political dialogue process. This is instructive in the sense that best practice indicates that “while the inception of a National Dialogue may be brokered or supported by external mediators… the process of a National Dialogue must be convened, owned and driven by its national stakeholders”.26

    In June 2015, four months before the scheduled elections, an Inter-Guinean Political Dialogue process was launched, with international partners – notably the UN, ECOWAS, the European Union (EU), the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), the United States and France’s ambassadors in Guinea – serving as observers of the dialogue process. After about 10 days of initial talks, assisted by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, it was clear that parties on both sides had taken entrenched positions, with no signed agreement to move the electoral process forward. The dialogue was subsequently put on hold.

    Informal consultations, however, continued among Guineans, with isolated interventions from the observers. Against this backdrop, the ECOWAS Commission, acting on the directive of the ECOWAS Authority, dispatched a high-level mission to Guinea from 20 to 24 July 2015, among others to hold consultations with the government, opposition leaders and other stakeholders in the Guinean electoral process with a view to encouraging them to resume the dialogue. The dialogue subsequently resumed and on 20 August 2015, both the government and opposition signed an agreement paving the way for the electoral process to proceed with presidential elections, slated for 11 October 2015; local elections planned for the first quarter of 2016; the recomposition of the special delegations; and the appointment of two representatives of the opposition into the CENI.

    Presidential elections were held on 11 October 2015 and Condé was re-elected. With elections over, the commitment to continuing with the political dialogue process and the implementation of the August 2015 agreement soon waned. However, in August 2016, Conakry, the country’s capital city, was caught up in violent protests by supporters of several opposition parties over alleged government corruption.27 With growing grievances against the government by segments of the population, the prime minister and head of government, Mamady Youla – having constitutional responsibilities for promoting social dialogue and being the guarantor for the implementation of agreements entered into with social partners and political parties – took the initiative to revive the Inter-Guinean Political Dialogue. Consequently, on 1 September 2016, 11 months after being re-elected as president, Condé and Diallo, the leader of the opposition, met for the first time for talks over the “political, economic and social situation” of the country.28 Both leaders tried to iron out their differences and agreed to have regular meetings to exchange views on how to move the country forward.29 On 22 September 2016, under the chairmanship of the minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, the Inter-Guinean Political Dialogue was resumed. On 12 October 2016, an agreement was signed by the representatives of the majority party, the opposition party and the government, with representatives of the international community and civil society signing as observers to the agreement.30 Among other elements, the signed agreement touched on the auditing of the voter register; the postponement of communal elections; the amendment by the National Assembly of Act 016 on the CENI’s composition, organisation and operation for better management of elections; steps towards the establishment of the high court of justice; measures to release people arrested and convicted during political demonstrations, in accordance with the spirit of the dialogue; and compensation for victims of violent demonstrations during the 2013 legislative elections.

    A follow-up committee, tasked with implementation of the agreement, was established as a component of the agreement itself. The committee, chaired by the minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation or his representative, is composed of three representatives of the majority party, three representatives of the opposition party and a magistrate of the judiciary. Representatives of civil society and the international community (ECOWAS, OIF, UN, EU and the embassies of the United States and France) participate in the committee as observers. The agreement is in effect until after the 2018 legislative elections. The committee, which has been meeting regularly, held its 13th session on 24 July 2017. The president promulgated a new electoral code on 27 July 2017, after its initial review by the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court.


    It is important to note that political dialogue processes should be nationally owned and driven, despite being assisted or advocated by the international community. However, as noted in the United States Institute of Peace (USIP’s) 2015 Peacebrief,31 while national ownership of a national dialogue process is fundamental, there are critical points at which the international community can provide important assistance – such as in helping to negotiate the initial agreement that establishes a national dialogue; making public statements in support of national dialogue processes; advocating for an inclusive and participatory process; and commitment to the dialogue process by national actors and stakeholders. Equally important is that the international community and the regional and subregional organisations can also play a role – at least as observers of the dialogue process and follow-up on the implementation of agreements reached – while ensuring that the main responsibility and decision-making remains in the hands of national actors. The experiences of ECOWAS in supporting national political dialogue processes in the region attests to these guiding principles on how the international community can support national political dialogue processes. While regional and subregional organisations can assist in facilitating political dialogues to broker political deadlocks, national leaders and stakeholders must move beyond such “temporary” mediated brokered peace to initiate wider and deeper national dialogue processes, aimed at consolidating and sustaining the peace gained during periods of deep political crisis and political transitions.


    1. See Article 58 of the 1993 ECOWAS Revised Treaty. ECOWAS Commission (1993) The Revised Treaty of ECOWAS. Abuja.

    2. The author prepared this paper as part of self-reflections in the course of the Third Conference on National Dialogue, organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and an International Non-governmental Organisation Consortium, 5–6 April 2017, in Helsinki, Finland, where he served as a panellist on the session on Regional Organizations’ Support to National Dialogue Processes.

    3. The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) (2015) Creating Spaces for Dialogue: A Role for Civil Society. Dialogue and Mediation Series, Issue No. 1. The Hague: GPPAC, p. 8.

    4. West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) (2012) Dialogue and Mediation: A Practitioner’s Guide. Accra: WANEP, p. 5.

    5. Pruitt, Bettye and Thomas, Philip (2007) Democratic Dialogue: A Handbook for Practitioners. Stockholm: International IDEA, p. 9.

    6. WANEP (2012) op. cit., p. 2.

    7. Folke Bernadotte Academy (2006) Preventing Violent Conflict through Dialogue and Leadership. Seminar Report, Conflict Prevention in Practice Project. Stockholm, p. 3.

    8. United Nations Development Programme (2014) Guidance note. In UNDP Supporting Insider Mediation: Strengthening Resilience to Conflict and Turbulence. New York: UNDP, p. 10.

    9. ‘The Role of Political Dialogue in Peacebuilding and Statebuilding: An Interpretation of Current Experiences’. International Political Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, May 2011, p. 2.

    10. Available at: WANEP (2012) op. cit., p. 6.

    11. The Role of Political Dialogue in Peacebuilding and Statebuilding’, op. cit., p. 2.

    12. Berghof Foundation (2017) National Dialogue Handbook: A Guide for Practitioners. Berlin: Berghof Foundation, p. 21.

    13. Giessmann, Hans J. (2016) Embedded Peace. Infrastructures for Peace: Approaches and Lessons Learned. New York: UNDP, p. 35.

    14. Ibid.

    15. Ibid.

    16. Ibid., p. 35.

    17. Ibid., p. 26.

    18. International IDEA (2007) Democratic Dialogue: A Handbook for Practitioners. Stockholm, p. 22.

    19. Ibid.

    20. For a detailed analysis of this phase in the history of Guinea and ECOWAS mediation efforts, see Yabi, G.O. (2010) The Role of the ECOWAS in Managing Political Crisis and Conflict: The Cases of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Abuja: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.

    21. ECOWAS Commission (2008) Communique of the Thirty-fifth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja, Nigeria, 19 December 2008, p. 9.

    22. ECOWAS Commission (2009) Communique of the Extraordinary Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Abuja, Nigeria, 17 October 2009.

    23. In the view of the opposition, the CENI should have organised local elections before presidential elections, in accordance with the terms of the 3 July 2013 political agreements. The opposition argued that the president dictated the order of elections to the CENI, to enable the special delegates appointed by the government to perpetrate electoral fraud that would facilitate his re-election. On the part of the government and majority party, the political agreement of 3 July 2013, which the opposition referred to, did not address local elections but rather that of legislative elections. They argued that local elections were the subject of an addendum to the agreement and were only signed by the majority and opposition facilitators, and the international facilitator. It was not binding on the government.

    24. ECOWAS Commission (2015) Communique of the Forty-seventh Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, held in Accra, Ghana, 19 May 2015.

    25. Ibid., p. 7.

    26. Giessmann, Hans J. (2016) op. cit., p. 35.

    27. France-Presse, Agence (2016) ‘Guinea Protests against President Conde leaves One Dead –Reports’, The Guardian, 16 August, Available at: [Accessed 3 August 2017].

    28. AFP (2016) ‘Guinea President, Opposition Meet after Anti-govt Protests’, The Daily Mail, 2 September, Available at: [Accessed 3 August 2017].

    29. Ibid.

    30. The international partners that followed up on the dialogue process and signed as observers were the UN systems coordinator in Guinea, International Organization of the Francophonie, ECOWAS, the EU delegation in Guinea, the US ambassador, the French ambassador and representatives of civil society.

    31. United States Institute of Peace (USIP) (2015) ‘National Dialogues: A Tool for Conflict Transformation?’ Peacebrief, 194, p. 4, Available at: .

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zimbabwe

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia

    This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 45 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:

    • Marburg in Uganda

    • Monkeypox in Nigeria

    • Plague in Madagascar

    • Dengue fever in Burkina Faso

    • Cholera in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    • Cholera in Tanzania.

    For each of these events, a brief description followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.

    A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as events that have recently been closed.

    Major challenges include:

    The emerging outbreak of dengue fever in Burkina Faso is rapidly spreading and therefore needs to be tackled more aggressively.

    An outbreak of Marburg has occurred in Uganda. While the country has ample experience and capacity to respond to viral haemorrhagic fever outbreaks, this event still calls for concerted efforts of all stakeholders.

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Sierra Leone

    FREETOWN, 23 October 2017 --- In Sierra Leone, giving birth is one of the most dangerous times in a woman’s life. According to the most recent UN estimates, the country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, at 1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births (UN, 2015). In simpler terms, this means that for every 100 babies born in the country, approximately one woman will lose her life. The nation also has high rates of neonatal deaths, and over 7,500 stillbirths are estimated to occur each year (WHO, 2013).

    Many factors underlie these tragic deaths, the majority of which are largely preventable, treatable complications that occur during and after childbirth.

    The Government’s 2016 {Maternal Deaths Surveillance and Response Report]( recently analyzed all maternal deaths reported through the national surveillance system in 2016. It identified the leading causes as bleeding, responsible for over half of the fatalities, followed by eclampsia (seizures linked to high blood pressure) and sepsis. 8 in 10 of these deaths occurred within health facilities, indicating an urgent need to strengthen the quality of emergency obstetric services that are available to women and newborns.

    “Most maternal and newborn deaths can be prevented with the right care at the right time,” explains Dr. Fatu Forna, Lead for Reproductive Health at WHO Sierra Leone. “A stronger emergency care system for pregnant women in Sierra Leone could save the lives of thousands of women and their babies, especially when combined with effective antenatal services and concerted actions to prevent, detect and tackle these common causes of death, promote healthy behaviours, and improve access to family planning services.”

    As one core part of this equation, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from UKAid and WHO has now rolled out an ambitious new training programme for midwives in Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC). The competency-based training is designed to ensure that nurses, midwives and doctors have the skills and knowledge they need to save the lives of women and their newborns and uses a new national harmonized EmONC curriculum, which aims to ensure clinicians have the necessary skills they need to save lives.

    Midwife Margaret T. Sesay is supporting the mentorship and on the job training components of the programme. “It is very important to ensure clinicians know what to do when faced with common life threatening conditions, for instance if a patient presents with seizures, if the placenta is retained, or if the baby is not breathing,” she says. “The practical elements of the scheme also familiarize the team with their respective roles and responsibilities in an emergency, when everyone needs to act quickly and work together to save lives.”

    The two-week EmONC training programme includes lectures and seminars; practical skills training using standardized protocols, and is followed by on the job mentorship, which takes place within the staff’s own workplace. During the programme, health workers are assessed to check that they know how to perform essential emergency interventions safely such as newborn resuscitation, treatment of haemorrhage, manual removal of placenta, and assisted deliveries.

    The EmONC programme is led by the Ministry with support from the UK Government through WHO and UNFPA, who will support further roll-out of the scheme. It is firstly being piloted at maternity hospitals in Freetown, Makeni, Bo, and Kenema and will expand to the remaining districts through 2018.

    For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

    KEENAN, Laura
    GBORIE, Saffea

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    Source: Amnesty International
    Country: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone

    The Algerian authorities have launched a discriminatory crackdown against foreign nationals, rounding up and forcibly expelling more than 2,000 sub-Saharan African migrants from a range of countries to neighbouring Niger and Mali over the past three weeks, said Amnesty International. Those expelled include more than 300 minors, among them at least 25 unaccompanied children.

    The new wave of arrests started on 22 September when Algerian police and gendarmes began arbitrarily detaining migrants in the capital, Algiers, and neighbouring suburbs. Research by Amnesty International indicates they made arrests on the basis of racial profiling as they did not seek to ascertain whether the migrants had the right to stay in the country, either by checking their passports or other documents. Some of those arrested and deported are undocumented migrants, while others have valid visas.

    “There can be no justification for rounding up and forcibly deporting hundreds of people based on the colour of their skin or their assumed country of origin – a blatant case of mass racial profiling,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

    “This and the chilling scale of arbitrary arrests and summary mass expulsions in recent weeks reveal the Algerian authorities’ deeply discriminatory attitude towards migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. They must urgently halt these unlawful arrests and deportations.”

    The latest wave of mass arrests and expulsions comes just few weeks after more than 1,000 people – mainly nationals of Niger – were returned to Niger in August 2017. Arrests also took place during the first weeks of September. In July the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs had said organised crime networks are behind the massive flows of migrants in Algeria, while the Cabinet Director of the Presidency of the Republic referred to migrants in the country as a source of criminality and illicit traffics, including drugs.

    Meanwhile, at the level of the public, there has been an alarming number of xenophobic comments by Algerian social media users blaming migrants for spreading HIV and taking Algerians’ jobs. In September, the Algerian Ministry of Transport issued an .order barring undocumented migrants from using public transport, although this was later withdrawn.

    While Algerian authorities have not given any justification for the latest arrests, on 20 October the Algerian Ministry of Justice declared that Algeria “hasn’t closed its doors to foreign migrants”, but is working “to protect the borders and secure the country”.

    Under international standards, no one can be forcibly expelled from a country without being given a fair opportunity to challenge their expulsion. In addition, no one can be returned to a country where they would face a real risk of serious human rights violations.

    “Instead of trampling over the rights of migrants and carrying out mass expulsions, the Algerian authorities should be trying to counter racial discrimination and hate speech against sub-Saharan Africans and reform laws on the rights of migrant workers to stay in the country,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s North Africa Research Director.

    Moreover, since 22 September, around 15 refugees and asylum-seekers who were among those detained by police have been released after the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNCHR) intervention.

    Mass expulsions

    Amnesty International has reviewed video evidence and gathered testimony from witnesses to build up a picture of what happened to those who were detained and expelled. It also interviewed some migrants after their arrest and deportation, as well as staff from several international and local humanitarian organizations in Algeria, Niger and Mali. told Amnesty International that they had their passports confiscated, were beaten upon arrest or in detention, and were denied medical care.

    Hundreds arrested on 22 September were held by the Algerian gendarmerie in poor conditions at a camp run by the Algerian Red Crescent in Zeralda, a suburb 30km from the centre of Algiers, according to some of those who spoke to Amnesty International. Migrants told Amnesty International that they were made to sleep on the floor with no mattress or covers for two nights, and were given bread with margarine and no water. They were also prevented from speaking to their consular representatives.

    On 22 September, more than 600 migrants arrived in Agadez, Niger, according to International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Niger. They included nationals from Niger, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin. Among them, more than 100 women and 200 minors.

    Six days later, on 28 September, more than 350 of the detained migrants were transferred at night by bus to a camp run by Algeria’s gendarmerie in Tamanrasset, a city in the south of Algeria. They were later taken by trucks to In Guezzam, a town near the border with Niger, before being left by Algerian security forces on Nigerien side of border in the northern city of Assamaka. Nigerien authorities, with the cooperation of international humanitarian organisations, then transferred them to Agadez in the centre of the country.

    By 30 September, around 357 people had arrived in Assamaka after being expelled from Algeria, according to the International Organization of Migration in Niger. They included nationals from Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, Liberia, Cameroun and Sierra Leone.

    In a second wave of arrests in Algiers on 2 October, more than 500 migrants, mainly construction workers, were arrested. After being detained in Zeralda for three days, they were transferred to Tamanrasset and then abandoned at the border in In Guezzam, a witness told Amnesty International. At least 100 were then forced to cross the border and walk six hours through the desert to reach Assamaka, while others were left by Algerian authorities in the Nigerien side of the border.

    Arrests, detentions and deportations have continued over the past two weeks in Algiers and Blida, with another 500 migrants transported to Tamanrasset on 13 October, according to local journalists. More than 200 people arrived in Niger on 15 October, more than 300 on 18 October, including more than 90 children – among them unaccompanied minors - and 450 on 22 October, according to IRC in Niger. A new convoy with 500 migrants is expected to arrive in Agadez on 25 October, IRC told Amnesty International.

    At least two people have applied for asylum in Niger, according to UNHCR in Niger, after the last expulsions. Local sources told Amnesty International that arrests have continued and that several hundred are still held in Zeralda camp in Algiers and in Tamanrasset awaiting expulsion.

    Civil society organizations in Mali have told Amnesty International that the Algerian authorities have also expelled migrants to Mali, in particular through the border crossing next to the village of In Khalil, Mali, south-east of the Algerian town of Bordj Badji Mokhtar. They were unable to provide a total number for those expelled to Mali, however. The Malian organizations say they have received at least 100 people of different nationalities, including children, over the last two weeks. Some were suffering from dehydration upon arrival.


    Algeria is a party to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, which prohibits collective expulsions of migrant workers and their families irrespective of their status and states that each case of expulsion must be examined individually. The mass expulsion of non-nationals is also prohibited by Article 12 of the African Union’s (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Algeria has ratified.

    This is not the first time Algeria has carried out mass deportations without due process. In December 2016, more than 1,400 sub-Saharan migrants were arrested and at least several hundred deported to Niger, according to Human Rights Watch. At least seven asylum-seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo were reported to have been among those deported, according to UNHCR representatives in Niger. The Algerian authorities attempted to justify those expulsions by claiming they were undertaken within the framework of a 2014 bilateral co-operation agreement with the government of Niger. Since 2014, Algeria has repatriated more than 18,000 nationals of Niger to that country, according to the International Organization for Migration.

    Mass deportations without due process contravene both international standards and Algerian Law 08-11 of 2008.

    Despite being a party to the UN Refugee Convention, Algeria continues to lack legislation on asylum and offers inadequate protection to UNHCR-registered refugees and asylum-seekers in the country. Despite the high numbers of migrant workers in the country, Algeria also lacks a clear legal framework for migrant workers and Law 08-11 of 2008 treats irregular migration as a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison.

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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    République Démocratique du Congo : La situation reste toujours pré-occupante dans de nombreuses provinces (Sud-Kivu, Nord Kivu, Tanganyika). Goma et Bukavu rapportent encore plus de 50% de l'ensemble des cas de choléra notifiés chaque semaine sur l'ensemble du pays. Une investigation rapide menée dans la ville de Bukavu a permis d’objectiver la persistance de points de puisage d’eau non proté-gés "bizola", hauts lieux de transmission des cas de choléra dans la ville de Bukavu.

    Sierra Leone : Un premier tour de vaccination de masse contre le choléra a été réalisé du 15 au 21 Septembre 2017 afin de prévenir toute flambée épidémique dans 25 communautés à haut risque vivant dans 2 districts : Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural. La couverture rapportée sur base des données administratives de population est de 100% avec 518 104 personnes ciblées. Le second tour était prévu du 5 au 10 octobre 2017. Par ailleurs, une surveillance poussée des maladies à potentiel épidémique (choléra, fièvre typhoïde, dysenterie, diarrhée avec déshydratation sévère chez les enfants agés de moins de 5 ans, paludisme) et l’engagement communautaire sont en cours dans ces 2 districts. Aucune flambée épidé-mique confirmée n’a depuis été rapportée dans ces zones.

    Democratic Republic of the Congo: The situation is still critical in several provinces (North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika). Goma and Bukavu are accounting for more than 50% of weekly cholera cases notified throughout DRC. An informal investigation held in Bukavu identified several collective and unprotected water point areas, named “bizola”, as major area of transmission of cholera in the city.

    Sierra Leone: A first round of mass Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign was conducted from 15th to 21st Sept 2017 in order to prevent a cholera outbreak in 25 high risk communities of the 2 affected districts; Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural. The administrative results showed a 100% coverage of 518,104 targeted population. Of those vaccinated 14.8% were children aged 1 to 4 years while 50.3% were females. A second round of vaccination is scheduled for 5th to 10th October 2017. In the mean-time, enhanced surveillance for selected communicable diseases (Cholera, Typhoid Fever, Dysentery, Diarrhea with severe dehydration in children under five years, Malaria) and community engagement are ongoing in the 2 districts. No confirmed disease outbreak has been reported in the affected areas.

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    Source: Salesian Missions
    Country: Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    (MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in the West African Province are serving more than 29,000 youth across four countries including Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Both Christian and Muslim youth attend Salesian schools, vocational and technical training, youth centers and social development programs. The Salesian centers and programs are led and staffed by 167 Salesian missionaries.

    Across the four countries, Salesian missionaries and support staff operate 30 schools that are educating 8,692 students. Missionaries also operate six scholarship programs to help poor youth and their families pay for school tuition fees along with school supplies and other necessities. The schools and programs that Salesian missionaries operate ensure that youth have access to the education they need to succeed in life, as well have their basic needs like shelter, nutrition and medical care met so they can focus on their studies.

    The Salesian Province was also widely affected by the catastrophic Ebola epidemic that the World Health Organization (WHO) reports killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa between 2013 and 2016. Ebola greatly impacted Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Salesian programs in those countries were on the front lines of prevention, providing educational materials, soap and hand washing stations, as well as bleach and other cleaning products. Salesian centers also immediately began working with orphans whose parents and sometimes entire families died from the disease.

    “Salesian missionaries in the West African Province have had many challenges to overcome including the Ebola epidemic and high rates of poverty in those countries, leaving many children and families in need,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “While education is always the primary focus, because Salesian missionaries are living and working in the communities in which they serve, they know the local need first-hand. Salesian centers then are able to customize programs and services to meet specific needs in those communities to have the biggest impact for youth.”

    Salesian Missions is pleased to highlight Salesian programs that are positively affecting the lives of poor and at-risk youth in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.


    Youth in Ghana have been positively affected by the Salesian-led Stop Human Trafficking campaign that was launched in October 2015 by Salesian missionaries in Italy. The campaign raises awareness of the dangers of youth migration. With a focus on youth leaving countries in Africa in search of a better life in Europe, the campaign aims to prevent young migrants from becoming victims of crime and exploitation. The campaign is part of an initiative promoted by the Salesian-run International Voluntary Service for Development and the Don Bosco Mission Association in Turin, Italy.

    The campaign provides analysis and research on the real reasons for migration, informs potential youth migrants about the risks of the journey and the real chances of success, and gives individual guidance to those who want to leave. In doing so, the campaign is working to deter young people from leaving countries where people are most at risk of human trafficking such as Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Senegal. In collaboration with Salesian missionaries in Africa, the campaign will also raise funds to help with program development in targeted countries in Africa.

    Ghana’s rural Brong Ahafo region is one of the areas most affected by youth migration. Through the Stop Human Trafficking program, Salesian missionaries are putting a program in place to offer youth the opportunity to remain in the region and earn a living through sustainable agricultural projects. Salesian missionaries are working with local people to help launch the project.


    The Don Bosco Youth Center provides a foundation of education and support for young students who would otherwise have limited opportunities to better their lives. After school, from 4 to 6 p.m., students have access to the Don Bosco Youth Center. Located in the capital city of Monrovia, the center gives former child soldiers and other young people the opportunity to experience some of the joys of childhood.

    Youth can participate in recreational activities and sports. They receive recreation counseling each day in activities from chess to soccer. Some participate in a cultural troupe where they sing, dance, act, practice African acrobatics and even perform at local functions. But it’s more than just play and recreation at the youth center. In addition, youth have access to vocational training and academic courses. The center also offers a women’s development program for women to learn self-reliance.


    Salesian missionaries are setting up schools, boarding homes and running water for poor youth in the area of Koko within Kontagora, a major town on the south bank of the Kontagora River in northwestern Nigeria. The area lacks educational opportunities for children and older youth.

    The area, like many in Nigeria, faces several challenges. Koko has many street children age 7 to 15 years of age who beg in the streets. Practically all of them have been abandoned and exposed to terrorists groups like Boko Haram. Without an education and supervision from adults they can be easily manipulated and exploited.

    Recognizing that for youth to make the most of their educational opportunities, they must have their basic needs of shelter, food and clothing met, Salesian missionaries are establishing boarding houses so the youth will have a safe place to live, learn and spend time with their peers. Salesian missionaries are also digging wells that will supply the boarding houses and schools with fresh water for drinking, bathing, washing clothes and proper sanitation.


    Don Bosco Fambul reaches out to an estimated 2,500 street children in Freetown and surrounding communities each year. Transformation for street youth starts with the Salesian rehabilitation and reunification programs. The success of the street children rehabilitation program is credited to the organization’s holistic approach focusing on attending to basic needs (food, clothing and a safe place to sleep) as well as personalized medical, psychological, pedagogical, social and spiritual care of the children. This gradual process includes formal classes, daily games, sports, music, singing, drama, dancing, counseling and prayer. Their parents and extended families are contacted several times by social workers before final reunification.

    Don Bosco Fambul also operates the Child Hotline 116, which is an around-the-clock counseling hotline staffed by social workers—along with other trained professionals—offering hope and services for children who are living on the streets. The hotline was invaluable during the Ebola epidemic, providing prevention information.

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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia

    This Weekly Bulletin focuses on selected acute public health emergencies occurring in the WHO African Region. The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 44 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:

    • Marburg virus disease in Uganda

    • Plague in Madagascar

    • Malaria in Cabo Verde

    • Dengue fever in Côte d’Ivoire

    • Cholera in Zambia

    • Cholera in north-east Nigeria.

    For each of these events, a brief description followed by public health measures implemented and an interpretation of the situation is provided.

    A table is provided at the end of the bulletin with information on all new and ongoing public health events currently being monitored in the region, as well as events that have recently been closed.

    Major challenges include:

    • The outbreak of Marburg virus disease occurring in remote districts in eastern Uganda requires concerted efforts of the national authorities and partners to prevent further spread.

    • Local transmission of malaria infections in Cabo Verde continues despite ongoing interventions. The continuous propagation of indigenous malaria in the low-malaria-transmission island country is concerning and needs to be brought under control.

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    Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, World

    Researchers found that the Ebola was significantly more likely to emerge in areas with surrounding forest loss

    By Nellie Peyton

    DAKAR, Oct 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Ebola outbreaks tend to occur two years after trees have been cut down or forests cleared in West and Central Africa, researchers said on Monday, suggesting that deforestation data could be used to predict outbreaks of the deadly disease.

    A study published in online journal Scientific Reports was the first to find a time correlation between deforestation and the onset of Ebola, caused by a virus which humans catch from infected wild animals that can then be transmitted between humans through direct contact.

    Ebola ravaged Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014-2016, killing around 11,300 people in the world's worst recorded outbreak, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

    There have been dozens of smaller outbreaks since the disease was discovered in 1976, typically in remote villages near tropical rainforests in West and Central Africa, WHO said.

    By analysing 27 outbreak sites for the period 2001-2014, researchers found that the Ebola was significantly more likely to emerge in areas with surrounding forest loss, typically two years after the damage was done.

    Deforestation likely pushes infected wild animals into human areas, but how exactly this works - and why it takes two years - is not yet known, said John Fa, a professor at Manchester Metropolitan University and one of the authors of the report.

    "The next step is to pinpoint areas that were deforested two years ago," Fa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    "If we know where they will occur, we might be able to prevent future outbreaks."

    Fa hopes that the findings will be used to create an early warning system in high-risk areas so that Ebola can be detected and stopped before it spreads. However, many of the areas involved are vast and inaccessible, the study said.

    Africa's tropical forests are being lost to industrial agriculture, logging, urbanisation and more, a trend that is only expected to accelerate with population growth, experts say.

    Ebola outbreaks may increase in coming decades as humans penetrate deeper into Africa's remaining forests, the study found.

    "Our results show that forest loss, like EVD (Ebola virus disease) should be seen as a major global health issue," the researchers wrote.

    Africa's most recent Ebola outbreak, which ended in July, killed four people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    (Reporting By Nellie Peyton; Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit

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    Source: World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo


    • Les productions agricoles pourraient être globalement moyennes à bonnes en Afrique de l’Ouest et au Sahel.

    • Des déficits fourragers persistent dans l’extrême Nord-Est du Tchad, la zone pastorale du Niger, le Nord du Sénégal et la zone agropastorale de la Mauritanie.

    • La chenille légionnaire d’automne continue sa propagation dans la région et avec l’évolution de pays en pays, la situation reste très préoccupante.

    La situation alimentaire en Afrique de l’Ouest et au Sahel devrait s’améliorer avec l’apparition des récoltes de la première saison dans les pays côtiers et les récoltes précoces effectuées au Sahel notamment de mil et de niébé.

    Malgré, la situation pastorale globalement satisfaisante, des zones à risque de déficit fourrager, pouvant présager des difficultés pour les populations pastorales, subsistent dans l’extrême Nord-Est du Tchad, dans la zone pastorale du Niger, au Nord du Sénégal et dans la zone agropastorale de la Mauritanie.

    La propagation de la chenille légionnaire d’automne se poursuit en Afrique de l’Ouest et au Sahel où 14 pays sont affectés.

    Des pluies abondantes ont occasionné des inondations causant d’importants dégâts sur les cultures et les infrastructures en Sierra Léone, au Niger, en Côte d’Ivoire, en Gambie, en Guinée Bissau et au Bénin

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    Source: UN Development Programme, UN Country Team in Sierra Leone
    Country: Sierra Leone

    This weekly update is produced by UNDP in collaboration with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Sierra Leone, liaising with the Office of National Security and development partners.

    Situation overview

    Following the landslides and floods that hit Freetown and surrounding areas on 14 August 2017, the UN system in Sierra Leone continues to support national recovery.

    In addition to addressing the urgent needs of those most affected, medium and long term assessments and Action Plans are being put in place under national leadership to ensure risk mitigation and protect the people of Sierra Leone from future tragedy.

    For the purpose of information and coordination, relief and recovery efforts are detailed here.

    Recovery efforts



    • The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is financing the project “Health Systems Strengthening and Epidemic Prevention” in Sierra Leone for three years (from May 2016 to December 2019). The project is jointly implemented by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) of Sierra Leone and the German Technical Cooperation. As part of this project, GIZ technical Health Staff was supporting MoHS emergency response to the disaster, from the beginning, working alongside with other health partners to assure essential health services, prevent outbreaks of disease, and increase readiness to respond to major health threat.

    • Together with the Social Mobilization Pillar of the MoHS, GIZ technical staff trained and monitored about 400 Community Health Workers in disaster areas and disaster prone communities in the Western Area on cholera prevention and on community engagement platform for collective and responsive decisions to improve hygiene and sanitation. After the training, the CHW engaged their respective communities for 15 days on cholera sensitization and were closely supervised by GIZ technical staff together with local supervisor during that period.


    As part of UNFPA’s support during the recovery phase and to build the country’s capacity to respond to future disasters, UNFPA will conduct a four-day “Training of Trainers” on the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for reproductive health in emergency situations. The training will take place on 31 October – 3 November at UNFPA. Thirty-five invitations have been sent to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA), WHO, Sierra Leone Midwives Association, Planned Parenthood Association of Sierra Leone (PPSL), Aberdeen Women’s Center, Marie Stopes International, Rainbo initiative and others. It is expected that through this training, Sierra Leone will have a sufficient number of national trainers to facilitate MISP trainings in the future when needed.


    • For a period of 1 month starting October 24, CARE is supporting 200 community health workers who engage in public awareness campaigns and social mobilization in 10 affected communities in Western Area Rural District and 20 affected communities in Western Area Urban District. Key message delivery in the affected communities focused on cholera prevention, malaria prevention, breastfeeding, child protection and use of Aquatabs. A total of 1,777 households and 5,025 individuals (2,134 males and 2,891 females) have been reached so far (24 – 27 October).

    • CARE conducted a training on cholera prevention and ORS preparation using locally available materials for 210 participants from the affected communities of Culvert, Juba,
      Kamayama and Kaningo (27 – 28 October).


    Save the Children

    • Distributed baby kits comprising towels, washable diapers, baby soap, baby shampoo, baby clothing, nappy rash cream and talcum powder to 77 children (33 boys and 34 girls) between the age 0-3 years at Juba IDP camp.

    The Red Cross

    • 22 Sierra Leone Red Cross Society WASH volunteers continued to carry out sensitization sessions in three sites of Regent, Culvert and Juba on hygiene promotion, reaching 9,234 (2,637 men; 3,712 women; and 2,855 children) with messages on hand washing, latrine cleaning, waste management, oral rehydration salt solutions and personal hygiene. Red Cross volunteers continued to manage the hand washing points at Juba camp, educating all people entering the camp on proper hand washing with soap and clean water.

    • Red Cross carried out a distribution of hygiene kits to 600 households in Culvert community where WASH volunteers also trained the beneficiaries on the use of Aquatabs.
      In addition, 200 pieces of IEC materials on WASH were handed to beneficiary households to help them use the kits effectively.

    • As part of the plan to construct boreholes in affected communities, a field visit by Red Cross and head of Wash Pillar (MoWR was carried out in Culvert to assess the feasibility of borehole construction in this community).


    • Celebrated Global Hand washing Day with 230 participants and 15 stakeholders at OldSkool Camp

    • ChildFund through World Hope International distributed 67,200 P&G water purifiers to 1,500 beneficiaries within 15 Communities.


    • CARE distributed a total of 1,030 67-mg Aquatabs to 72 households in the affected communities of Kamayama (22 households) and Juba (50 households). The household beneficiaries received between 10-40 Aquatabs, or an average of 14 Aquatabs per household (13 – 19 October).

    • CARE distributed a total of 810,000 liters of clean water to sixteen 10,000-liter capacity water tanks located in Kamayama (4 tanks), Kaningo (6 tanks), Pentagon (2 tanks) and Juba Barracks (1 tank) and Old School IDP Camp (3 tanks). CARE also monitored the water’s Free Chlorine Residual (13 – 27 October).

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    Source: UN Development Programme
    Country: Guinea, Sierra Leone

    Amie Amara is a bright girl. At 16 years of age, she only has two more years before she can take the university entrance exams.

    Three years ago, her family moved to Luawah Chiefdom in Kailahun district from neighboring Guinea. Kailahun is the eastern-most district of Sierra Leone, approximately 412 kilometers from the capital, Freetown.

    Back then in Guinea, Amara was a grade-A schoolgirl.

    In Kailahun, access to pure water was a serious constraint. Life wasn’t as easy as it once was for Amara.

    The only safe source of water close to her community broke down few months before they moved to Luawah and it was in need of urgent repair.

    “When we came to Luawah a few years ago, the pump wasn’t working,” she said. “I had to wake up every 5:00 am and walk a distance of about 2.4 kilometres to fetch water.”

    If she didn’t go the stream early, she had to wait for another half hour - ruining her chances of going to school early or coming home with contaminated water. This affected her performance in school. Besides, having to walk kilometers of forested terrain – which she feared was infested with evil spirits – caused her great distress.

    Being the eldest and only girl child in her family, she was in charge of the many house chores.

    Altogether, Amara had to walk more than 30 kilometres each week to the stream and school. Amara’s constraint with water is not different from the other pupils and residents in Lauwah chiefdom.

    In the early hours of last Thursday, however, we met her and dozens of other pupils fetching water from a newly refurbished hand pumps in Lauwah community, thanks to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Government and People of Japan.

    “I no longer have to wake up at 5 am to fetch water. That’s my house.” She pointed to a red mud house about 100 yards from the newly rehabilitated hand pump.

    Through the project “Strengthening Access to Health Care and Community-led Development”, UNDP with support from the Government and people of Japan refurbished 25 similar hand pumps in four chiefdoms in Kailahun district – easing constraints to Amara, and to other pupils like her.

    Now, “the hand pumps have not only solved the issues of distance and access but also our children can now get to school very early,” says Mariatu Jalloh, a mother of three.

    “Since this tap was refurbished, I’ve never missed the first lesson as was the case before.” Amara happily informs us.

    She is now buoyant, confident that she is set to return to the A status again in this academic year.

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