OneVillage Partners (OVP) Sierra Leone In-Country Director Jennifer Artibello and Community Projects Manager, Chad McCordic attended a number of community discussions while in Minneapolis at the National OneVillage Partners offices. Their firsthand experiences working in rural Sierra Leone as the world’s largest outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus was taking hold mere miles away, were very insightful.
Dispelling the myths and informing the villagers of life-saving preventative measures took precedence over continuing our program expansion efforts (well-underway prior to the Ebla outbreak) in our three new villages of Grima, Gbeika and Mamboma. Fortunately, OVP has well-established relationships in the villages of Jokibu, Pujehun, and Foindu, and has made significant headway building the trusting relationships in the three new villages. “This is what has made the difference – other government groups and organizations have said the same things we are saying, but the villagers believe us because we have been there for them over time”, said Chad McCordic. This enables OVP to overcome much of the misinformation and cultural norms which often form obstacles from Ebola Virus prevention. “The villagers trust us and because we at OVP have taken it seriously, they do too.” The villages we work in are now implementing the precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. So far, the villages we work in are safe, while unfortunately, the Ebola Virus has spread to many of the nearby villages.
While in the Twin Cities, Jennifer and Chad have been hard at work informing local staff and friends of OVP with the latest information. They have been interviewed by Esme Murphy on WCCO Sunday Morning as well as other local outlets. In addition, they have spoken at OneVillage Partner community events including a “meet and greet” at local Spill the Wine restaurant in Uptown, Minneapolis. We wish to thank everyone who came out to one of our events to find out what OneVillage Partners is doing on the front lines of this tragic and deadly virus.