2-Day Post Ebola Strategy Summit for Sierra Leone ended in Texas
Dallas, Texas, USA: August 16, 2015. Restore Hope, a non-profit organization that is heavily operating in Sierra Leone, has in collaboration with many other church ministries ended a 2-day post Ebola strategy summit in Arlington, Texas on August 14 with the topic, National Ebola Recovery Strategy for Sierra Leone. (Photo: Cindy Wiles, Executive Director of Restore Hope)
Participants came from different Churches and from other non-profit organizations across the United States to map out strategies that will help to alleviate sufferings from the people of Sierra Leone who have suffered immensely from the Ebola virus epidemic. Church leaders believe that the Ebola virus continues its seemingly inexorable spread throughout the country and its neighbors thus causing challenging and multifaceted social problems in the country.
Some of the challenges highlighted in the 2-day of deliberation were mostly centered on health and sanitation, education, social mobilization, community engagement, and the country’s overall economy. In a very shade of diverse opinion, participants agreed that cohesion must be encouraged by community leaders, government and non-governmental organizations for the pursuance of a far-sighted plans and strategies.
Among the first subjects of deliberation and assessment was how to help without creating dependency by the people of Sierra Leone. The NGO’s “want to see that communities and individuals restored to what God created for Sierra Leoneans to be.” Participants demonstrated huge interest about humanitarian aid and commitment to support vulnerable people that haveexperienced an enduring trauma due to the Ebola outrage.
Professor Alusine Jalloh, the architect of Restore Hope to operate in the country, raised concern about strategy implementation and sustainability for the various projects that were planned to do in the country, but according to him, after the Americans would have gone. Dr. Jalloh admonished participants to focus on establishing an excellent strategic plan that would provide the government with the roadmap it needs to pursue a specific strategic direction and set of performance goals by the communities in order to accomplish the utmost goals.
In the second day of the workship proceedings, participants became emotionally overwhelmed when the Director of Restore Hope, Cindy Wiles led prayers to pray for the people of Sierra Leone on the circumstances of the Ebola epidemic. In a long moment of silence, Americans where grieved, bowed down, craning their heads, shedding tears in a ten minutes silence of prayers for the people of Sierra Leone. Pastors who offered prayers prayed for the victims of Ebola epidemic and asked God to comfort the lives that were spared.
It was an emotional summit prompting other NGO members who were operating in the country to reveal their experiences during the outbreak of the disease. According to some NGO’s that were there during the outbreak, the circumstances of quarantine became an impediment for international workers to move freely in their operations, therefore, many foreign volunteers were forced to leave the country in a despondent way because of quarantine and other restrictions.
Almost every speaker during the deliberation spoke passionately about the misfortune and widespread of social problems the Ebola epidemic has caused to the people of Sierra Leone. In a stage by stage deliberation, participants exhausted on social issues of poverty, stigmatization, teen pregnancy, unemployment, orphanage, widows and isolations are all significant areas urgently need help.
Three key Sierra Leoneans who participated in the summit were Professor Alusine Jalloh who is also part of Restore Hope, Mr. Patrick Jackson representing the Association of Sierra Leoneans Organizations in Texas (ASLOT) and the Executive Director, Rachael Dunn of the nonprofit organization, “Daystar Adapt A Village” in Texas; all were very active participants. Mr. Paul Conteh, also a Sierra Leonean who was sponsored by Restore Hope to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in social work at Baylor University in Texas was also present in the summit.
A final communiqué on the outcome of the summit will be published next week and all participants will receive a summary of their contributions, Mr. Aaron Pierce, Director of Community Development for Restore Hope said.
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