Partnerships for Advancing Community Based Services(PACS)
Since 2015 Gift of Caring Ministryhas performed activities under results 3 and 4 of the PACS project: improved health-seeking behaviour and practices, and improved access to safe WASH services. Our activities include organizing community engagement meetings to help communities move up the sanitation ladder, encouraging local governments to enforce sanitation laws at the community level, and providing financial and technical support and supervision for the construction of hand-dug wells.
Additionally we implement and manage community events based surveillance (CEBS) to strengthen epidemic preparedness and response activities. Gift of Caring Ministry trains natural leaders on CEBS, meets with traditional healers and leaders to spur increased involvement and demand from communities for quality care and prompt reporting, supports CSOs to organize awareness campaigns, and strengthening community mobilization to reduce health risks and promote community emergency preparedness. IRC, PSI, and YMCA (the other main partners in the PACS consortium) perform activities under the other result areas.
Participatory Access to Transport for Health
Gift of Caring Ministryfor many years has worked alongside partners in Liberia and has significant experience engaging populations there in community development. We worked on PATH (Participatory Approaches to Transport for Healthto improve healthcare access and income generating opportunities of remote rural populations recovering from Ebola by upgrading footpaths. We helped rural communities in Nimba County gain better access to larger markets and health facilities and services by upgrading footpaths to pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle-friendly tracks. Through PATH, 25 kilometers of community-access footpaths were constructed. As part of this effort Gift of Caring Ministryalso sensitizes communities within designated road clusters and construction projects, and established Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) for each project, training individuals in project management. Gift of Caring Ministryalso provided ongoing technical assistance to the CBO during execution of its duties and worked with communities to establish sustainable road maintenance plans. Our work with PATH has also entailed working with communities to resolve disputes and take action to improve financial security, eliminate open defecation and increase preventative health behaviours.
Improved Water and Health Sanitation Program
Through the IWASH program, Gift of Caring Ministryhelped residents in six counties in Liberia and targeted neighbourhoods in Monrovia to improve their overall health through better water supply systems, sanitation facilities and hygiene practices. Through the project, Gift of Caring Ministryworked with community members, local partners and municipal governments to develop sustainable, market-driven solutions to meet communities’ water and sanitation needs. At the same time, the project promoted education and learning among individuals and communities about sanitary practices and water hygiene. Gift of Caring Ministryalso provided technical support to the Monrovia City Corporation to improve sanitation services in the capital. Through this partnership, Gift of Caring Ministryprovided capacity building and training to local enterprises to help them become successful businesses providing waste collection services to households and small establishments. Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), an innovative methodology for mobilizing communities to eliminate open defecation, was implemented under the IWASH program. IWASH staff contributed significantly to the development of National CLTS Guidelines, and led the development of National Hygiene Promotion Guidelines. Gift of Caring Ministryworked to develop and adapt the program in Africa and worked with communities in Liberia to ensure it reached the people who need it most. 351 communities in three counties were triggered, and at least 284 are now with ODF status.
Assisting Liberians with Education to Reduce Transmission
During the Ebola crisis of 2014 Gift of Caring Ministryprovided intensive outreach to communitiesat risk of exposure to the Ebola virus by capitalizing on existing, and long-standing relationships, resources, networks, and trust built with rural communities. We delivered effective, accurate, and timely information to educate individuals, households and community leadership in safe and hygienic methods to reduce the risk of exposure to and contraction of Ebola. Working with OFDA, International Rescue Committee, Liberian Red Cross and other partners in Liberia, Gift of Caring Ministryprovided burial team supportin all 15 counties of Liberia and helped to establish a safe burial site for Ebola victims. To prevent the spread of future outbreak, Gift of Caring Ministryworked with residents in rural border communities to create and maintain border surveillance checkpoints.
Liberia Surveillance Strengthening Program
Gift of Caring Ministrywith funding from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention implemented the Liberia Surveillance Strengthening Program (LSSP), using a surveillance approach driven by Traditional Leaders emerging from CLTS programming to transition all stakeholders to a long-term, sustainable surveillance system. LSSP complemented the overall disease surveillance system and built community-level capacity to identify, report, and respond to Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEICs).