Working with communities to support them through the crisis and help bring Ebola to an end.

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During the 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Red Cross teams went door-to-door and worked with community elders and religious leaders to ensure families knew about how the virus is spread, what the symptoms are, and the importance of early treatment. Besides the door-to-door visits to deliver key messages and enter into a dialogue, the Red Cross is using a range of communication channels, from television soap opera and interactive radio programmes to SMS messaging to promote behaviour change.

Myths were debunked, the truth was told. The disease is not airborne, or spread in water, or passed on by witchcraft or evil doers. It comes from direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.From the community in turn, structured feedback provided a wealth of information and data.

Community engagement was not new but the needs thrown up by Ebola had established it as an essential tool found across the board of operations.

Communities in action

[ed. note: Data @ IFRC is a blog series to share highlights from the Red Cross Red Crescent Secretariat and National Societies. We will include learning opportunities and thought pieces on all things data from ethics to evidence.] Information Managemen …

15 February 2017

“We believe this sickness that was killing us was God’s punishment to Liberia because we are not going by his words.”  Regular caller to the radio programme The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest and most complex since the Ebola virus w …

12 January 2017
Tanéné, Guinea, 13 June, 2015. A Red Cross solar radio, which is being used in a programme by IFRC and the Red Cross Society of Guinea to bring Ebola messaging to people in remote communities. The radios are distributed so people can listen to the mobile Red Cross radio station. They can be charged by solar panel or wind-up dynamo handle and include a torch and cellphone charging port.

When the Ebola virus disease erupted in Guinea in December 2013 and quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, Gambians considered the outbreak as a distant cry until six months later when it struck neighbouring Senegal and Mali. As the second smallest country in West Africa, Gambians feared that if Ebola ever struck their soil, it would have devastating consequences on the small population of 1.8 million people.

30 September 2016
Edward Penner of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society beneficiary communications team operates the "Radio in a Box" equipment while broadcasting Ebola-related messages to a community in the Makeny district that has been affected by the Ebola outbreak. The "Radio in a Box" transmissions allow the Red Cross to take their health messages to remote and isolated communities within Sierra Leone and to get important feedback from them.

By Lisa Pattison, IFRC “ABC: avoid body contact”, “No touch” and “Ebola is real” became mantras to chant and print across Sierra Leone as the country continues to battle the unprecedented Ebola outbreak. Catchy and simple, communities have latched onto …

19 August 2015

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