Working with Us, churches in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are helping communities devastated by Ebola
The Ebola outbreak had a devastating impact on all aspects of society in West Africa.
Communities, infrastructure and the economy were badly damaged in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Anglican Churches in these countries, with support from Us, were at the forefront of work to combat the virus and to help communities in need.
And now the churches are helping to rebuild those same communities left reeling by the loss of lives and livelihoods.
Anglican church leaders are currently organising a co-ordinated plan to help communities get back on their feet post-Ebola.
In the immediate future, Us aims to provide financial support for outreach programmes with a focus on health, hygiene and education.
There is a need to address the anxiety gripping communities that another outbreak could strike – either a repeat of Ebola or the Zika virus.
And one unexpected challenge is a huge increase in pregnant teenagers, an effect of schools being closed during the outbreak. These girls now face the double challenge of being mothers while also wanting to pursue their education.
Us International Programme Manager Davidson Solanki said: ‘Even though the virus is controlled, it’s not going anywhere. Churches are encouraging people not to be complacent.’
He added: ‘Ebola is not just a health issue; it is a phenomenon that hit fragile states in West Africa and had a deep impact at every level of society, including infrastructure and the economy.
‘The church itself was hit badly and experienced pain. But it rose to the challenge and provided hope and healing to affected communities.
‘It is very encouraging that Anglican Churches continue to work tirelessly to rebuild lives post-Ebola, and Us has committed to journey with them as they implement their plans.’
A meeting with church leaders from West Africa
In February 2016, Us organised an event at the General Synod of the Church of England, which was attended by the Rt Revd Emmanuel Tucker, Bishop of Bo in Sierra Leone, the Rt Revd Jacques Boston, Bishop of Guinea and Guinea Bissau, and the Rt Revd Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Freetown in Sierra Leone.
The following videos were filmed during an event. They offer a rich insight into how the churches dealt with the virus, and how they hope to move forward.