Young volunteers engage communities to combat Ebola

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The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, together with a consortium of Guinean youth organizations, is carrying out sensitization campaigns about Ebola prevention measures in communities around the country. Young volunteers are helping to prevent the transmission of Ebola by distributing soap and chlorine, showing community members how to thoroughly wash their hands and avoid contact with possible Ebola patients, as well as explaining what to do and where to go if one suspects having symptoms of the disease.

Young volunteers are helping to prevent the transmission of Ebola by distributing soap and chlorine amongst communities. (UNV, 2014)

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, together with a consortium of Guinean youth organizations, is carrying out sensitization campaigns about Ebola prevention measures in communities around the country.


Young volunteers are helping to prevent the transmission of Ebola by distributing soap and chlorine, showing community members how to thoroughly wash their hands and avoid contact with possible Ebola patients, as well as explaining what to do and where to go if one suspects having symptoms of the disease. Watch a video about this initiative and UNDP’s field mission to Guinea


“To fight the spread of Ebola we need to reach out to every single family in order to raise awareness of the danger,” says Hassane Ide Hawidabou, UNV Programme Officer in Guinea. “Sometimes there are 10 or 20 families in the same home, without any facilities even to wash their hands. One person can fall ill and infect everyone else. That’s why it is crucial to go door to door and raise awareness.”


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is re-orienting its country programme in Guinea to help tackle the socioeconomic crisis caused by the Ebola epidemic, in part by supporting initiatives like this one: fostering community efforts to stop the transmission of the disease by raising awareness among the populations most vulnerable on how to prevent its spread.


“Young volunteers are taking action on the ground and showing great leadership in their neighbourhoods,” said Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Administrator and Director of Policy and Programme Support of UNDP during a field mission to witness the activities carried out by these young volunteers. “We met a young mother who runs a day-care centre with 200 kids. She is actively preventing transmission among the kids, and in this way also preventing the spread of the disease to their families. This type of action is critical for the whole neighbourhood.”


“The engagement of youth here is outstanding. Young girls and boys are volunteering in their neighbourhoods to raise awareness about Ebola and what must be done to stop it,” said Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa during the mission.


These volunteer actions to raise awareness are essential to help prevent the rapid spread of the disease among families and communities. “Here you can see the awareness raising. People are becoming more informed about the crisis and how to react to it. You must go to the nearest treatment centre, go there quickly once you feel unwell, and be careful not to infect family members,” concluded Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán.