By Kalilu Sillah
A consortium of seven Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) referred to as the CSO Platform on Accountability, with funding from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). The project is titled: “Enhancing Trust Between Citizens and Government in Sierra Leone’s Ebola Response.
The CSOs include, Action-Aid Sierra Leone, Campaign for Good Governance, Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law, Centre for the Coordination of Youth Activities (CCYA), Institute for Governance Reform, Budget Advocacy Network, and Democracy Sierra Leone.
According to the CSOs, a data is available at the Ministry of social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) that shows that roughly 19,000children have been affected by Ebola and about 6,000 are orphans. According to the findings of the Platform serious attention must be paid to their plight.
On his part, Head of Programmes and Policy at Action Aid, Mr. Swaray said after extensive field work in six districts and consultations with relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Platform made the following observations and suggestions to the government, members of the public and development partners. Also, special emphases were placed on the inclusion of accountability and trust building as a pillar in Sierra Leone’s Ebola recovery process.
Key issues discussed include the care for orphans which according to the platform, remains a critical area as Ebola rolls back. Given the fact that Ebola is on the wane, the Platform believes critical issues are emerging that need the attention of Government and all key actors.
The Platform has therefore urged state and non-state institutions to develop and implement a holistic approach to care for orphans; mindful that the risk exists for the current situation to be exploited.
The Platform also placed emphasis on the care of Ebola survivors and urged agencies to design and implement programmes that build Ebola survivors’ longer term resilience including livelihoods, psychological support and social reintegration.