CAFOD recognised for efforts in halting the spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone
3 June 2015
Courageous work of CAFOD partners in Sierra Leone and Syria honoured with BOND Humanitarian Award
2 June 2015
For immediate release
CAFOD has been recognised for its efforts in halting the spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
As part of the SMART Consortium – an Alliance of faith-based organisations working on the Ebola virus response - the Consortium led by World Vision has won the prestigious BOND International Humanitarian Award.
Presented at a ceremony on 1 June 2015 in London, the award recognises the courageous service of the more than 800 burial workers who serve with SMART, a UK government-funded consortium comprising of World Vision, CAFOD, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
Together the three agencies have trained and equipped burial workers to conduct Safe and Dignified burials for Ebola victims across Sierra Leone.
The teams have also been commended for observing cultural customs, faith traditions for both Christians and Muslims, while preventing contamination of family members. Since November 2014, SMART’s 57 teams have buried more than 16,000 people across Sierra Leone.
CAFOD’s Kayode Akintola, Country Representative for Sierra Leone and Liberia, said:
"We're absolutely delighted to be a part of this very special BOND Humanitarian Award which recognises the important work of the Safe and Dignified burial teams in the SMART Consortium in Sierra Leone.
"The burial teams of World Vision, CAFOD and Catholic Relief Services continue to work at great risk to their own lives, to bury Ebola victims safely and with dignity. Their work has played a part in halting the spread of this devastating virus.
"This award is a timely recognition of their tireless efforts."
Ebola can quickly spread through contact with the bodily fluids of people who have died from the disease, ensuring that burials are done safely and with dignity is crucial in safe-guarding communities from further spread of the Ebola virus.
CAFOD’s Emergency Response Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia, Dennis Momoh, who oversees the day to day running of the 60-strong burial team in Kambia added:
“This award honours the dedication and professionalism of these ordinary people from all walks of life, who have refused to be overwhelmed by the Ebola virus.
“We remain determined more than ever to see the end of it, and we are on the right track. The number of new infections is shrinking, but we can’t afford to be complacent as one single new infection could reignite the outbreak if not dealt with quickly and contained.”
The runner up for the BOND Humanitarian Award, was CAFOD partner Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria.
He was recognised for his work with Caritas Syria providing more than 200,000 people in Syria with their basic needs throughout this protracted conflict. Unable to be in London to receive his award, he sent the following message:
“ It is clear that Syria is going through a very difficult humanitarian crisis caused by the violence of the different armed groups involved. However, I would like to stress that Caritas Syria has provided, and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance meeting the basic and essential needs of the Syrian people such as – food, healthcare, and shelter.
“ Thanks to the support of different British institutions and in particular thanks to CAFOD.
“We deeply thank you and we pray for the prosperity of your country and for all the humanitarian agencies that work for peace and justice in the world.”
Sierra Leone – Ebola
SMART stands for: Social Mobilisation and Respectful Burials Through faith-based alliance. CAFOD’s Kambia burial team comprises of 60 Sierra Leoneans – including eight women. The team are people from all walks of life including school teachers, small business owners and students. They are based in Kambia, in the north east of the country, and as of May 27th 2015, have safely buried 1,479 Ebola victims.
Bishop Audo, coordinates the work of Caritas Syria, which operates in six regions – Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, the coastal region, Djezreh and Horan.
BOND, is a UK-based umbrella organisation for international development. It organised the first International Development Awards last year. This year’s panel of judges and presenters included Jon Snow and Tim Singleton from Channel 4 and ITV News, respectively.
Photographs –Please find attached a photograph of Kambia burial team member Joy Foday, aged 27, photo credit should read: ‘Louise Norton/CAFOD’. Please also find a portrait photo of Bishop Antoine Audo, photo credit should read: ‘Caritas Internationalis’
For further information or photographs please contact:
Nana Anto-Awuakye | CAFOD | Direct Line: +44 (0)207 095 5456 mobile: +44 (0) 7799 477 541