As part of the national programme for the fight against the Ebola virus disease, and in line with other technical and financial partners, FAO has developed and financed a technical cooperation project aimed at strengthening the role of the Ministries of Livestock and Animal Production in the fight against Ebola.
In view of the situation on the ground, special attention is being given to communication, information and social mobilization within the rural communities of the Ebola-affected districts of Guinea. Consequently, several Information – Education – Communication training workshops are being organized in seven districts from 6 to 17 October 2014.
Rural development and extension field agents are generally involved in animal and crop production, environmental management and trading activities undertaken by the rural populations. Field agents work in close relationship with the local communities and therefore their contribution to the information and sensitization programme is crucial.
FAO has developed a training programme on social mobilization techniques to enhance the capacities and efficiency of these agents. The training aims to provide a better understanding of the disease and the necessary preventive measures. In partnership with UNICEF and within the framework of the national communication plan, the programme will first develop training material to better inform vulnerable populations (hunters, farmers, etc.). Once trained, field agents will undertake awareness activities combined with the distribution of kits within the communities for a period of three months.
The expected results include:
- The training of 90 field agents from the Ministries of Livestock, Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Environment and Trade, in communication and prevention techniques against Ebola.
- The development and implementation of an awareness programme on behavioral change for about 9 000 rural households.
- The distribution of 36 000 soap bars and 9 000 bottles of chlorine to the sensitized households within the districts which are most affected by the epidemic.
- The development of training material against the Ebola virus disease in partnership with UNICEF and the National Communication Committee.
The FAO Technical Cooperation Programme project in support of rural populations has three components, namely:
- identify and implement the appropriate measures to reduce the risk of coming into contact with the Ebola virus;
- put in place an early warning system for the rapid detection of the virus in wildlife in order to activate emergency public health plans in due course; and
- assess the level of vulnerability of the rural communities and hunters who depend on bush meat for their food and nutrition.
Guinea is a country with a strong pastoralist tradition and is endowed with enormous natural potentials, thanks to the diversity of its agro-ecological conditions. Animal production is the second most important activity after crop production and involves about 30 percent of the rural population. Yet in spite of these potentials, the nutritional needs of the population in terms of animal proteins are far from being met. Added to this nutritional deficit is the Ebola virus disease epidemic which has been affecting the country for several months now, worsening the plight and living conditions of the already fragile rural communities.
Source : Fao