SLAJ Yellow Ribbon Campaign

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Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone has extolled the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Yellow Ribbon Campaign initiative, emphasizing that SLAJ is doing is a great thing to help end Ebola disease in the country.

Banner on display to end ebola

Banner on display to end ebola

On Friday, March 20, 2015, Fambul Tok headquarter office in Freetown welcomed the President of SLAJ, Kelvin Lewis and his entourage.  Fambul Tok’s Director of Training, Rev. Emmanuel Ballah Mansaray says that Fambul Tok continues to complement the efforts of the government and other partners in the fight against Ebola.  He highlighted a number of Fambul Tok’s interventions in support of communities to fight the disease including: launching a hand washing campaign and donating soap making machines to Kono and Pujehun districts (through financial support from US State Department).  He stresses that people should not be complacent and should take the necessary precautions as the virus is still around.

SLAJ President pins one of the staff

SLAJ President pins one of the staff

In his remarks Mr. Lewis expressed thanks and appreciation to Fambul Tok for its support to communities to fight the Ebola virus.

“If we want our kids to go back to school we need to come together to end Ebola,” he emphasized.  He called on institutions and groups to take action to end Ebola in Sierra Leone and across the region.

The Yellow Ribbon Campaign, according to Mr. Lewis, symbolizes the commitment of individuals, groups and institutions taking action to end Ebola in Sierra Leone and beyond.

He added that it represents a commitment to protect individuals, family members and the entire country by changing dangerous behaviors and adopting key activities.  The four key campaign messages in the Yellow Ribbon Campaign are:

  1. Burying the dead safely.
  2. Keeping sick people away from others.
  3. Speaking out if some one knows of a sick person.
  4. Stay in one place for stipulated 21 days period if you have come into contact with an infected person.
Staff pose with SLAJ President

Staff pose with SLAJ President

Fambul Tok continues to commit itself and work with other organizations to end the disease.  Staff were also pinned with the yellow ribbon and given wristbands.

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Fambul Tok Engages Communities to Strategize for Post-Ebola Challenges

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The fight against ebola is not over yet, despite the decreased number of new ebola cases in Sierra Leone.  Many social issues and conflicts continue to emerge in communities as a result of ebola.  The issues range from the compromise of by-laws by traditional leaders to non-acceptance and discrimination of survivors in their communities.

Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone (FTI-SL) has already started engaging community members to put things in place to address conflicts and other related issues that may have the propensity to destabilize peace in the country.

FTI-SL strongly believes in consultations with communities and used this approach over the weekend to bring together representatives from thirteen chiefdoms in Bombali district in the Northern regional district headquarter town of Makeni.

Giving an overview of the consultative approach, Executive Director of FTI-SL, John Caulker emphasized the rationale behind such gathering. He stated that Fambul Tok does not work in isolation, adding that consulting communities on what they, the communities themselves, would want to do after ebola is vital because communities can identify their own challenges and how to overcome them.  Mr. Caulker said discussions would be focused on identifying conflicts and how communities could work together to address the conflicts and social impact during and after ebola.

group work in progress

group work in progress

During the discussions, chiefdom representatives highlighted a number of  issues in their respective chiefdoms. An example of one such conflict identified is the strained relationship between Paki Masabong and Bombali Sebora chiefdoms.  The strain is the result of a community member from Paki Masabong accused of being the source in spreading the disease to Bombali Sebora.

Another chiefdom representative explained that there is a problem between community members in the Sanda Tendaren chiefdom and the health workers.  This conflict arose from inaccurate testing results; the result of a lab test on a person whose first test result showed positive while the second turned out negative.  This led to violent confrontations that attracted the attention of higher authorities.

According to a report from Rosanda in Paki Masabong chiefdom there was confrontation between community members and contact tracers in relation to routine testing. The communities resisted the continuation of taking temperatures at noon as they have the notion that testing at mid day affects results.

A conflict that was highlighted by almost all chiefdom representations had to do with by-laws. Traditional leaders are widely thought to be favoring some people while others are fined. Stigmatization of ebola survivors and the increase in teenage pregnancy were also vital issues mentioned.

Similar consultations will be held in other districts.



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Fambul Tok Boosts Kono District with Soap Making Machine

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As a complement to the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone in the fight to eliminate Ebola in the country, Fambul Tok International-Sierra Leone has handed over a brand new soap making machine to Peace Mothers in Woafeh section, Tankoro chiefdom in Kono district.

brand new soap making machine for Kono

Brand new soap making machine for Kono

Formally presenting the machine on December 20, 2014, Director of Peace Mothers, Fambul Tok Micheala Ashwood, underscored the active roles of Sierra Leonean women in every sphere of life. She mentioned that Peace Mothers continue to play different roles towards the development of the country, citing the example of the 2012 non-violence campaign.

Ashwood says Peace Mothers in Fambul Tok operational sections in all six districts in October 2014 started house-to-house campaign aiming at frequent hand washing as a simple behavioral change to reduce the rate of morality of infectious diseases such as Ebola.

Ashwood reflects that Kono district is very strategic, adding that over the months the Ebola virus has affected people in that part of the country greatly. She expresses thanks and appreciation to the US Department for State for supporting the Peace Mothers, especially at this crucial time. Ashwood adds that while Pujehun initially produced and supplied other districts with soap, but because of where Pujehun is located, Fambul Tok decided to donate the machine to Kono to ease production and distribution to other areas.

Lilian hands over machine to Chairlady of Peace mothers

Lilian hands over machine to Chairlady of Peace Mothers

Fambul Tok’s Kono District Team leader, Lilian Morsay implored women to make use of the machine, stressing it was not meant for Tankoro chiefdom alone, but for the whole district, as Peace Mothers would be producing sanitized soap to be supplied to other areas to facilitate frequent hand washing. She also emphasized that if they use the machine judiciously, it would generate income for women to be self-reliant.

Chairlady of the Peace Mothers in Woafeh section, Sia James, was full of appreciation to Fambul Tok, confessing that they were surprised. She assured that it would be used for its intended purpose.


Posted in Ebola response, From the Ground: Program Updates from Sierra Leone, Kono District, Peace Mothers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Peace Mothers Intensify Campaign to Keep Libeisaygahun Chiefdom Ebola-Free

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Surrounded by a number of ebola affected chiefdoms, Libeisaygahun is the only chiefdom that is yet to record a single case of ebola.

How did one chiefdom, surrounded by other communities with ebola outbreaks, manage to remain ebola-free?  Fambul Tok Peace Mothers have been working in collaboration with community members to compliment the national effort to eradicate ebola disease in the country by engaging in house-to-house visits to educate (sensitize) community members.

sensitization in progress

sensitization, or awareness raising, in progress

Ella Sesay, the chairwoman of Peace Mothers in Batkanu section, explained the efforts of the community and the Fambul Tok Peace Mothers.  She said before the outbreak of the disease sick people were taken to the chiefdom headquarters town of Batkanu for proper health care.  When the surrounding chiefdoms were affected by ebola, the Peace Mothers, in collaboration with other stakeholders, quickly mobilized local resources and deployed youths in different locations across the chiefdom to monitor movements of people, including reporting any case of sickness.

Madam Sesay explained that with the provision of soap, posters, T-shirts, megaphones and other informational materials donated by Fambul Tok, they were able to visit several villages to sensitize community members on how to protect themselves from contracting the ebola virus through simple hand washing techniques.  Each household was provided with a pack of soap and posters.  Hand washing and other precautionary measures continue to help community members not to contract the disease, thus not a single case of ebola has been reported in the chiefdom.

Madam Sesay strongly encourages people to observe basic health rules to protect them from ebola and other infectious diseases.


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Glimmer of Economic Growth Despite Ebola Crisis

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All is not lost in the midst of ebola crisis in Sierra Leone.  Fambul Tok Peace Mothers from Masabong section, Paki Masabong chiefdom in Bombali district is one of hundreds of Peace Mothers’ groups that is proving this to the world.

Despite the outbreak of the ebola disease in the country, coupled with restrictions on movement and community by-laws, Peace Mothers in that part of the country stood firm to ensure that their micro revolving loan program, spanning across fourteen villages, would continue to operate.

Aware of the restrictions on movement of people from one village to the other and of restrictions on public gatherings, the Peace Mother’s were forced to strategize on how to collect their monthly contributions. They appointed trustees among them that go around to collect contributions and re-deploy cash to all members in the fourteen villages. This solution made collection easier and cost effective.

“In the midst of ebola, we were able to do our activities,” says Adama Lakkoh, the chairwoman of the group.  She added that even though the disease affects the country direct and indirectly, they worked together and were able to accumulate a sum of Le23 million (approximately $5,300) as seed money from and for the loan program.

She continued, “We have also collected six bags of rice as proceeds from the rice mill and we are very much appreciative to the US State department in Sierra Leone for providing the funds through Fambul Tok.”

Rice mill serves as livelihood project for peace mothers

Rice mill serves as livelihood project for peace mothers


Posted in Bombali District, From the Ground: Program Updates from Sierra Leone, Peace Mothers | Tagged | Leave a comment