The recent West African Ebola pandemic has been the worst in recorded history. The campaign for the containment of this deadly virus over the last two years has been an up-hill task for the people and governments of the sub-region. At the onset, there was widespread misapprehension about the disease largely due to ignorance and illiteracy, rumours and misinformation, denial and mistrust- all of which dominated the community space. Educational campaigns to contain the disease then became imperative.
In 2014, DIWA in collaboration with its US-based partner, IHSAN Foundation for West Africa launched its Anti-Ebola campaign project in Liberia using public education—through a faith based approach to target the Muslim community in the country which was considered the second highest at-risk population.
The project deliverables include a team of content researchers that researched 10 top questions on “Ebola, Epidemics and the Muslim community”; production and procurement of key project materials including flyers, stickers, t-shirts, sanitizers, buckets etc.; stakeholder mobilization to enhance support for the project and finally, training a network of 65 Imams from 4 of Liberia’s 15 counties on Ebola and how they should respond as Muslims.
This campaign promoted information and prevention of the disease, with particular targeting of the Muslim community through Islamic references and authorities. It helped to make the message easier to penetrate the Muslim community. Moreover, spreading this message through recognized local scholars and Imams allowed the message to penetrate to Muslims in the local communities and significantly improved the situation.
- 65 Imams/Muslim Clerics were trained on culturally-sensitive information crucial to raising the awareness and motivation of Muslim communities to adopt safe practices with respect to the Ebola Virus Disease;
- Through pre-sermons in community Mosques, 162,000 people who are estimated followers of the 65 Imams trained are expected to indirectly benefit from the Ebola awareness and prevention messages delivered
- Printed and distributed centrally-sensitive Ebola awareness and prevention messages on flyers, stickers and t-shirts
- USD$14,750 was spent on the project