Dear GNF Members and Friends,

Over the last year, the Ebola crisis gave way to unprecedented challenges in West Africa. All of our grantees responded and continue to fight bravely.

Enjoy reading the mid-year reports from our grantees below:

Please save the date for our next Learning Together: 
April 10th Saran Kaba Jones, Executive Director of  FACE Africa.


THINK:  $12,000 

Because of the uncontrollable rate in the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the government of Liberia imposed a State of Emergency for 90 days, commencing August 6, 204 to November 6, 2014. All government ministries and agencies were asked to give a compulsory leave to their employees. Only a minimum of essential staff reported to work to keep needed services operational.

The Ministry of Education ordered all schools and institutions of learning closed until further notice. THINK had to closer her regular educational programs but have kept the One Stop Centers opened (where we provide medical and psychosocial care while the police and legal advocates provide law enforcement and legal aid to survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the same facility). The THINK safe home for survivors of SGBV also remained open, however are not taking in any new cases at the safe home as a preventive measure to keep Ebola infection out for the protection of current residents.

THINK invited 5 other local NGOs to participate in a training session conducted by the Ministry of Health. THINK has been involved with raising awareness on the prevention of Ebola in 7 communities including the ELWA Community where our offices and one of the homes are located. We reached 450 houses in each other the 6 communities where our staff and 3 volunteers went from house to house. We gave information on methods of prevention dressing the need for frequent hand washing and encouraged people to seek medical treatment early and to avoid getting in contact with dead people and delegating one person to give care of a sick family member and for the caregivers to keep themselves away from other family and community members and observe themselves for 21 days if they have been incorrect with a sick person and call the hotline numbers. 

In August, 2014, THINK sent a team of 4 persons to the most rural part of Rivercess County in the Kplor District and visited 10 towns and distributed 15 buckets with faucets for the promotion of proper and frequent hand washing. THINK also went to Domain and Jo River Districts, Rivercess County in September 2014 and visited 23 tons where we gave awareness sessions on Ebola and gave buckets with clorox and soap.





Liberian Fistula Project: Friends of UNFPA $12,000

Saving Pregnant Women's Lives in Fear -- A tale of a midwife from Liberia.


Ebola has devastated health systems in Liberia, where the outbreak has killed more than 3,000 persons. Tragically, the disease is taking its greatest toll among those assisting the ill as it has claimed the lives of more than 175 health workers. Yamaha Lapelleh Siafa has been helping women to deliver babies for more than a decade. Ms. Siada is currently assigned a the Island Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit jointly managed by the Government of Liberia in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). Before the establishment of Island Hospital ETU, Ms. Siafa worked at the Redemption Hospital which sees an average of 300 deliveries a month. 


The fear of encountering people with the disease, especially pregnant women never cease to cause anxiety for her. In the midst of the ebola crisis, its is very difficult to determine ebola positive pregnant women from a woman who is actually in labor pains. Both situations have some common symptoms. As a result of this fear, many pregnant women are left unattended until their situations are clearly determined. Click here  and   here to read more about UNFPA's work in Liberia.





FACE Africa$12,000


2014 was a year of great progress and new challenges for FACE Africa. Our County-by-County (CbC) initiative, kicked off in early 2013, has continued to be a major success. We completed 15 new water points in 2014, brining safe water to over 3,500 people in Rivercess County, Liberia. We are well on track to install 30+ safe water points in 2015 and to meet CbC's goal of providing 100% water access to Rivercess County by 2017, to the direct benefit of more than 60,000 people. 


At the same time the FACE Africa Team has been working tirelessly to address the new challenges presented by the unprecendented Ebola outbreak in West Africa. At the start of the outbreak we temporarily suspended our WASH operations (resuming them just recently) in order to ensure the safety of our construction teams and to allow us to devote our full resources to fight the most serious crisis to have hit Liberia since the civil war. Given our major grassroots presence and extensive track record in community engagement in remote Rivercess Couty, we have been at the forefront of efforts there to contain and prevent the further spread of the deadly virus. Working closely with the Rivercess Coutny Health Team and with our partners at  Last Mile Health we are currently undertaking a major Disease Awareness and Prevention campaign with the support of the Robert Bosch Foundation, USAID/Mercy Corps, and the National Peace Corps Association. 


Our team also visited Williamtown, the site of one of our first projects, ignored to consult with the community and evaluate the long-term effects of our project. This project, situated in a rural part of Margibi County and undertaken thanks to support from the Global Neighborhood Fund, has proved a lasting a major success. Our long-established relationship with this community of 100 people has meant that they have become like family for the FACE Africa team. 


The entire community also sent a Vote of Thanks to the Global Neighborhood Fund for their support and reiterated the benefits of the projects, which include improved incomes and livelihoods, better health, increased school attendance and enrollment rates among children, reduction in the amount of time spent collecting water for women and girls, and an overall positive psychological impact. 


Click here to read more.



Last Mile Health

Feature: Mary Youlu
Mother, Neighbor, Frontline Health Worker

Mary is a mother to eight surviving children, has worked as a midwife for fifteen years, and is now a Frontline Health Worker providing for the heath care needs of her village, Bao. 

Last Mile Health recruits trainee Frontline Health Workers through a three-step selection process that includes community-based internal selection, a literacy test, and an interview. 

Since recruitment began in 2012, Last Mile Health has looked favorably upon female candidates as an opportunity to empower these women to gain expertise, as well as to provide a service to, and have influence in their communities. The second step of the recruitment process -- the literacy test -- often provides a barrier to selecting female candidates. According to UNICEF, the adult literacy rate in Liberia is 42% (based on data collected 2008-2012). Of the literate, fewer than one third are women. Mary was able to pass the literacy test along with three of the men selected, and have the opportunity to be interviewed. 

Despite being wracked with nerves to the point that she could hardly speak, Mary was able to communicate during the interview and share how much she valued acting as a midwife for women in Bao for the last 15 years. Her love for these women, for whom pregnancy represented a potentially deadly unknown, moved her interviewers to select her ahead of the remaining three male candidates, despite their being exceptionally strong. 

Once selected, Mary started out as an attentive but deeply shy trainee. The classroom environment was foreign. Now as a fully fledged Frontline Health Worker, Mary's confidence has grown. When asked to speak about her work, she is now unfazed and articulate.

Click here to read more.


Ebola crisis becomes recovery: Direct Relief sends another 747 to West Africa

Earlier this month, Santa Barbara-based Direct Relief sent another 747 air-charter to West Africa to deliver critical Ebola materials and pivot back to supporting general healthcare.  Direct Relief  is continuing to partner with GNF grantee, Last Mile Health to create a general health facility supply module to improve the type of basic protective gear and supplies needed by all health facilities. Such a base "kit" previously did not exist. Last Mile Health connected with in-country health leaders to review the specifics and Direct Relief purchased, assembled and delivered the materials. Click here to read more.

Global Neighborhood Fund
C/O Santa Barbara Foundation 

1111 Chapala Street Suite 200
Santa Barbara, CA, California 93101