As the Hong Kong Chapter President and Chief Content Officer of Givology, I have had the chance to collaborate with Givology’s partner organizations on an exciting mélange of awareness-building and fundraising initiatives related to girls’ education. One organization in particular, More than Me, has recently had to shift its focus from directly supporting girls’ education in Liberia to fighting the Ebola outbreak.
To reduce the spread of Ebola and its devastating impacts, More Than Me started the Ebola-Free West Point Coalition. This Coalition was meant to fill the gaps in the response to the Ebola outbreak by partnering with NGOs, government, and community leaders to make sure a coordinated effort is maintained to end Ebola as quickly as possible. More Than Me provides ambulance services to make sure that individuals who demonstrate symptoms of Ebola are speedily brought to Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs). Additionally, More Than Me and the Ministry of Health (MOH) have brought together Home Healthcare Teams comprising licensed, responsive nurses who triage sick individuals. These teams not only ensure that people suffering other ailments other than Ebola are not neglected, but also provide preventative health materials to households.
Additionally, More Than Me’s HOPE 21 Initiative (Housing Observation and Pediatric Evaluation for 21 days), provides a quarantine and care center for young children who have been orphaned or abandoned because of Ebola, as well as children who have been exposed to the virus. When under observation, children receive a host of medical, educational and recreational services, and also have access to emotional support. After the 21-day quarantine, children are reintegrated into the community with the assistance of family tracing and guardian identification by social workers. As part of the reintegration process, children and their surviving family members receive counseling in tandem with an additional visit from outreach workers.
More Than Me’s Ebola response model has gained trust from the community, as well as acclaim from media outlets including TIME, Forbes, NBC News, and the Today Show. According to Emily Bell, More Than Me’s Marketing and Development Manager, More Than Me has safely dispatched 143 probable Ebola patients by ambulance to ETUs, visited 3472 affected homes, and offered thorough nurse counseling to 7581 people. Fifty eight families have been supported with quarantine kits under the HOPE 21 initiative, receiving food and basic protective supplies. Because of More Than Me’s successes in minimizing Ebola, the MOH(Ministry of Health) has asked More Than Me to expand this coalition model to five additional high-needs, low-resource communities, and More Than Me is more than ready to do whatever it takes to end Ebola and reopen its school.
The impact of the Ebola outbreak on girls’ educational opportunities in Liberia has been devastating, but with organizations like More Than Me, there is hope that progress will not be completely halted.
More Than Me’s Ebola coalition model testifies to the organization’s resilience – in the face of adversity, More Than Me is determined not only to extirpate the outbreak, but also to remain united in a mission to educate the future generation of high-potential girl leaders. Though More Than Me may experience many more uncertainties and tumultuous times because of Ebola, I have faith that More Than Me will transmute fear into hope, channel adversity into action, and ultimately prevail over the Ebola crisis.
To learn more about More Than Me and take action today, you can:
- Receive updates on More Than Me’s Ebola response programs by signing up for their newsletter.
- Share news about More Than Me’s Ebola coalition model on your social media networks:
- Donate to More Than Me’s Ebola response initiatives, or donate to support the development of a boarding school which will shelter the girls from the harms of the West Point slum.
- Become an advocate for girls’ education and women’s empowerment, to change cultural mentalities that surround women and girls.
- Support and raise awareness for health system development in West Africa.