UNDP, Red Cross move to help reintegrate Ebola burial teams

Aug 17, 2015

In Sierra Leone, burial teams face the risk of being unemployed, although a few of them will return to school (Photo: UNMEER)

 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have initiated a programme to help Ebola burial workers reintegrate into their communities and find jobs as the crisis subsides.

For a year, 800 out of 2,300 burial workers, infection control and prevention volunteers will receive psychosocial counselling and vocational and skills training so they can find new jobs and reintegrate their communities. They worked at the frontlines, and played a vital role in slowing down the epidemic. But many of them suffered extreme stress, and are still being stigmatized.

As the Ebola response winds down and hazard pay draws to a close, burial teams face the risk of being unemployed, although a few of them will return to school.

UNDP Country Director, Sudipto Mukerjee says “Communities need to embrace these young people as heroes of the society. This is definitely a very good start and it is the first such agreement between the two organizations”, pointing out that IFRC, the Sierra Leonean Red Cross and UNDP Leone have never before worked on recovery issues.

Moulaye Camara, the Head of Delegation of IFRC in Sierra Leone says the USD 1.9 million project will mainly target Kono and Kenema districts, in the east of the country and will “help us to reintegrate them in their communities after the good work they did for the past year.”

Mr. Mukerjee also noted that the project is the first Ebola recovery initiative that UNDP, IFRC and Sierra Leone Red Cross will undertake. Reintegrating Safe and Dignified Burial team members signals the end stages of the epidemic, it is important that agencies start working with communities most affected by the epidemic.

As part of the Ebola response, IFRC was given the lead coordination role for Safe and Dignified Burials. They have been responsible for conducting approximately 50% of the safe and dignified burials in Sierra Leone under the emergency Ebola response.

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For more information, please contact:

Abdul Karim Bah Communications Lead, UNDP Sierra Leone. Email: abdul-karim.bah@undp.org.
Lisa Pattison, Media & Communications Delegate Sierra Leone, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Mobile: +232 78805741, Email lisa.pattison@ifrc.org.
Abubakar Tarawallie, Head of Communications, Sierra Leone Red Cross Society. Mobile : +232 76 624511. Email : btarawallie@sierraleoneredcross.org.

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