In a short debate in the House of Lords last night about the situation in Sierra Leone, Baroness Hayman asked the UK Government what its plans are to assist the country in its recovery. It was a really interesting debate and you can read the full exchange over on Hansard here.
We just wanted to highlight a shout out for Restless Development’s good work by Lord Collins of Highbury. Here’s what he had to say:
One other clear lesson highlighted by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, has been the vital role of community engagement, which all too often has been regarded as a soft and relatively non-technical add-on to medical interventions; the noble Lord, Lord Crisp, also highlighted this. The Social Mobilisation Action
Consortium brought together BBC Media Action, Centers for Disease Control, FOCUS 1000, GOAL and Restless Development, all funded by DfID. Through working with young volunteers, community and religious leaders and partner radio stations covering every district in the country, it has achieved tangible behaviour change around safe burials, early treatment and the social acceptance of Ebola survivors. I urge the Minister to take the opportunity of this community engagement infrastructure and the large-scale behaviour change achieved in this crisis to address other issues such as child marriage, teenage pregnancy and female genital mutilation.
If we are to stop this threat, we must continue to support the Government of Sierra Leone to develop their capacity, address corruption and ensure that they have the technical and administrative support to work effectively.
We agree Lord Collins and Baroness Hayman!