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Livelihood skills and monthly stipends for Ebola survivors

Livelihood skills and monthly stipends for Ebola survivors

Freetown, 21 June-The United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs have today jointly signed the Annual Work Plan (AWP) with budget of US$1,436,000 for the Social Rehabilitation and Payment to Ebola Survivors Project.   Photo: Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs (right) signing the documents with UNDP Country Director. © UNDP Sierra Leone/ John Terry

The overall objective of the project is conflict prevention and resilience building, through addressing vulnerabilities and social marginalization affecting EVD Survivors, with funding provided by the Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF).

This UNDP and UN Women joint project, which targets 2,500 survivors (focused on women and children), will be implemented in the hardest-hit districts in Sierra Leone. The project board consists of representatives from UNDP, UNWOMEN, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) and the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors  (SLAES). The board provides strategic direction and project oversight.

The project will provide livelihood skills and monthly stipend to beneficiaries over a fixed time period, at the end of the skills trainings beneficiaries would be presented startup kits in their different pursued livelihood skills.

The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden said her ministry will soon create an Ebola Survivors’ desk that will be working closely with the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors to ensure the President’s Recovery Priorities includes Ebola survivors:

“I believe that under the leadership of the UNDP and the Government of Sierra Leone, we’ll have so many success stories out of this project. I want to believe that more donors would be inspired to come and assist the Ebola Survivors of Sierra Leone”. Dr Blyden said.

The minister added that government and its partners have to look at how to improve survivors’ welfare and livelihood, and make sure they get out of their trauma.

The president of SLAES, Yusuf Kabbah, said it is a special occasion for Ebola survivors and that they whole-heartedly support the project. He thanked UNDP for the support, as “a friend in need is a friend indeed. You supported us to ensure that we actually eradicated Ebola, and now we have another challenge: how to integrate Ebola survivors into communities. ”

UNDP Country Director Sudipto Mukerjee thanked both Dr. Blyden and Yusuf Kabbah for their reassuring statements and emphasized that at the end of the day the success of this project will depend on how engaged the community is.

“The larger substantive bit of the project is about building skills to actually make their livelihood much more sustainable. We want them to lead a life as normal as possible, to have the same chances as they did before Ebola. Survivors should be able to lead completely productive lives”, Mr. Mukerjee said.

The Ebola Virus Disease adversely affected Sierra Leone with               14124 reported cases, 3956 deaths, and more than 4000 survivors. Most of the survivors have not been able to return to their former means of livelihood as the aftereffects of the disease render them unfit. This project provides alternate livelihood means to survivors.

The Social Rehabilitation and Payment to Ebola Survivors Project is part of UNDP’s Ebola Recovery plan and the Presidential Recovery Priorities.

UNDP Communications Unit, Freetown, Sierra Leone 

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