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Building Back Better: Sierra Leone’s Path to Sustainable Development

Building Back Better: Sierra Leone’s Path to Sustainable Development


Aid represents a very essential national commitment. As important as any work which is being done
by anyone for this country. Building Back Better The name Sierra Leone means lion mountains. They saw these meandering mountains, which
looked like lions, and when the thunders cracked, that was how
it was named, lion mountains, Sierra Leone. The outbreak of the Ebola virus took root
in Sierra Leone in May of 2014. It spread with terrifying rapidity through
the West African nation. How did this happen? How can we address some of the weaknesses
in the health system? Help to rebuild it. Build back better. So that the next emergency would not allow
the country to lose some of the gains in development. Despite this daunting challenge, the people
of Sierra Leone responded with compassionate resilience. They worked tirelessly alongside international
development organizations from around the world, the U.S. Government, and in particular, USAID. They were able to achieve the March 17th,
2016 declaration by the World Health Organization
that Sierra Leone is currently Ebola free. We’re particularly proud of the work that
we’ve done in Sierra Leone, together with the private sector as part of
our deliberate approach, to achieving development results and getting
the best possible value for the American taxpayer who supports these
programs, and certainly for the impact that we intend
to have for Sierra Leoneans. [,Music] Ebola exposed the weaknesses in our system. It made us see within ourselves that we had
very, very weak health structures. Despite these weaknesses, USAID and its implementing
partners have been able to begin to clear a path through
this challenging situation. In order to address the fact that almost half
the population of Sierra Leone is food insecured, USAID and Food for peace
through a market-based approach has successfully provided 2 million people
with food assistance. And by partnering with UNICEF has assuaged
the suffering of more than 9,000 children facing acute malnutrition. A great example is The World Fish Project. Really a marvelous program. A great opportunity
to revive a part of Sierra Leone’s economy, which is aquaculture,
and raising fish for sale in the markets for food. Closely intertwined with the issues related
to food insecurity is the ability of the population to have access
to food combined with the ability to pay for it. [Music] One of the most severe second-order impacts
of this virus has been the reduction in basic health care
services unrelated to Ebola. To combat these impacts, USAID has worked
with local hospitals to enable the restoration of primary care
services with the goal of covering 50% of the population. Lessons were learned from Ebola. Infrastructures were put in place. We now have a proper ambulance service infrastructure
in Sierra Leone. Whereby people are able to call, like it happens
in developed countries. But now the emphasis has been placed on training
community nurses. They are there to help with maternal health
care, to help with the pediatric health care. These are all lessons from Ebola,
which we are using to be able to develop our people. [Music] This training produces a multiplying effect,
as those trained form a solid foundation of qualified individuals
who then support and train others. This will create a structure, built by the
people of Sierra Leone, Which will ensure the country is better equipped
to deal with future outbreaks as well as other natural disasters. The work that we’ve done, built in and was
based upon, developing not only the containment of Ebola,
but also building those health facilities and resilience,
so that whatever comes forward, the government would be much better prepared,
as well as the citizenry. [Music] There is no greater resource in this international
effort than the people themselves. In an effort to take advantage of this resource,
USAID created the WELD initiative. Women Empowered for Leadership and Development. The project assists women in developing, managing,
and delivering gender inclusion programming and services
as well as promoting activities that have thus far
empowered 289 women to run for elected positions in the next election. [Music] The response to this crisis has also included
new and innovative approaches to the challenges posed by the outbreak. The U.S. Government launched an 8.9-million-dollar
challenge to identify and fund innovations
that could assist in overcoming some of the issues
facing health care workers. This has produced technical innovations from
Johns Hopkins University that have drastically improved health care
worker suits. It was through one of our Grand Challenges
that we came up with a new type of suit that really made a huge difference
and was able to marshal more health workers, because they felt much more secure. USAID very deliberately worked with the private
sector To create technologies that we didn’t have
access to within the U.S. Government. So we were able to create something wholly
new. That kind of a private sector partnership
is integral to our response. The U.S. Government’s challenge also created
solutions for transporting payments to health care workers through digitization. [Music] I don’t think we have to wait for these
occurrences to happen before we realize that we are all
in this little space that we call Mother Earth. I think we should have some realization
that we are all here, and we should be here for each other. We’re very proud of our partnership with
Sierra Leone, and I want to thank both our team and the
Government of Sierra Leone for all the partnership work that we’ve
done together. To be confronted with a disease that was so
frightening, and yet to be able to turn around, to come
together, to work with the international community,
is incredible. And I would like to applaud
the partnership. Through these determined and combined efforts,
Sierra Leone has not only stemmed the tide of this virus,
but has also allowed the country to begin to build back
towards a bright future, where the strength of the people and administrative
systems will enable this beautiful country to prosper
and overcome the challenges of the future.

3 comments on “Building Back Better: Sierra Leone’s Path to Sustainable Development

  1. Give them food aid and you will be constantly giving but teach them how to feed themselves and you will not be constantly giving

  2. The only aid the west should be sending the third world is unlimited condoms and birth control pills. No food, No medicine, No Gold! Ebola is just mother nature trying to reset the balance. If a country cannot produce enough food to support its population then they must lower the numbers until they can. Quit wasting money on people who hate us when there is so much need at home.

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