Spreading the Word

02/11/2014

Alhaji Koker, chief district imam, holding a poster on Ebola prevention tips

Alhaji Koker, chief district imam, working as part of a World Vision awareness faith initiative in Sierra Leone

Faith-based DEC member organisations are working with faith leaders across West Africa to help stop the spread of Ebola. From educating communities about the symptoms to ensuring that survivors are not stigmatised by the disease, our member agencies are working closely with chiefs and key communities offer support to those affected by the crisis. 
 
One member World Vision has been working in Sierra Leone alongside faith leaders within communities to help address and challenge the fear, stigma and misconceptions about Ebola. 
 
In Sierra Leone, World Vision brought together a group of Muslim Imams and Christian pastors to develop awareness-raising messages to bring to their communities. In Sierra Leone, World Vision brought together a group of Muslim Imams and Christian pastors to develop awareness-raising messages to bring to their communities.
 
“I was at a service at our church today when I see at a thing which has never happened in the history of our country: an imam came to our church with us and enlightened us about the deadly Ebola viral disease,” said one church member. 
 
“Faith leaders not only have the influence to change the mind-set and behaviours of their congregations, but can play a significant role in bringing hope and healing to a highly stressed populace,” said Mattia Koi Dimoh, Operations Director – World Vision Sierra Leone. 
 
World Vision along DEC members Christian Aid, CAFOD, and Tearfund are working through their local networks to support those affected by the Ebola outbreak and to raise awareness to help stop the spread of the disease.
 
CAFOD is working with priests, imams and traditional faith leaders to spread the word about hand-washing and safe sanitation and distribute hygiene kits. Its church partners are also promoting safe burials and supplying food and vulnerable families. 
 
Christian Aid has trained over 50 Methodist ministers to promote good hygiene and safe burials, and to encourage communities to respond to Ebola survivors with acceptance, not rejection. Methodist churches nationwide are also displaying educational materials on their premises.
 
Tearfund is working over 1,000 churches in Sierra Leone to improve awareness of how to stop the virus spreading. Radio stations run by Tearfund partners have been broadcasting life-saving health messages, reaching hundreds of thousands of listeners.