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Handicap International Inclusive Ebola Response to People with Disability

Jos Garneo Cephas
Implementation and outreach activities of HI
Implementation and outreach activities of HI

(www.elbc.com/March 6, 2015)-Handicap International (HI) in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia has redesigned its Inclusive Education project to buttress Government’s effort to contain the Ebola virus.

The organization’s effort was to assure that together we can stop the spread of Ebola.

HI is an international organization specialized in the field of disability, Non-governmental, non-religious, non-political and non-profit-making, Handicap International works alongside people with disabilities and their representative organizations, in response to humanitarian crises and the effects of extreme poverty.

HI promotes   inclusion through their access to services and the effectiveness of their human rights. Alongside disabled people organisations, the Ministry of Heath and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education and other disability stakeholders.

Currently Handicap International supports the implementation of an advocacy and lobbying project for Disabled People Organizations and their members through the European Union co-funded Making It Work project and an Inclusive Education Project also co-funded by the French Development Agency- AFD.  

“For me, it would have been better to know from the rapid assessment report; how many persons with disabilities have been affected by the outbreak, how they were affected and how the preventive awareness messages target them”,  HI-Liberia’s Site Coordinator, Rebecca Stubblefield told a partners’ meeting organized by the National Commission on Disability (NCD).

The Training

The training considered 53 participants including two persons with hearing impaired, three physically challenged as well ten people each from   Montserrado, Bomi and Margibi counties, where HI operates.

During this intervention, six pilot schools and their communities were targeted. The following were provided: preventive Ebola materials, ( Ebola buckets, gallons of chora)  for 150 vulnerable children including children and their families, food support, (25kg bags of rice)  to 102 elementary teachers of six pilot schools; back- to school sanitary materials, ( waters drums, buckets, floor buckets, mops, gloves, cartoon of powder soap, chora, rain boots)  for the six pilot schools.

A training of trainers (TOT) was conducted in the three project counties- Monsterrado, Bomi and Margibi Counties for School administrators, PTA members, Counties and Districts Education Officers.

This training was an integral component of HI’s Inclusive Ebola Response;    ensuring that the National Ebola Response was Disability sensitive. There were also 12 community mobilizers were sent out in the six pilot school communities to create awareness on the signs, symptoms, prevention, control and stigmatization of the Ebola virus targeting 900 households. 

Support

The Ministries of Education and Health and Social Welfare, led in the Ebola Response and planned the trainings along with HI. The Ministry of Health, UNICEF and HI facilitated all the training sessions. 

A sign language interpreter was assigned to the trainings.  The strategy is meant to make Principals acquire knowledge on the virus and how to include persons with disabilities (PWD) in the response; transfers the knowledge acquired to other teachers when school reopens.

The Education Officers are responsible to monitor all school activities in the counties, it was therefore crucial for them to receive adequate awareness that will inform their supervisory roles; while the communities’ members were trained to carry out awareness in the pilot school communities. 

The training covered the concept of Disability, What is Ebola; Signs, Symptoms, prevention and control. The Effect of Ebola on Person With Disability (PWD), Engaging PWDs in the Dialogue, Principle of Inclusion, Barriers PWDs face, and Community Mobilization,  Basic Community Entry Tips and Demonstration on Chorine and Chora Preparation.

 


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