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What the Ebola Crisis Fund Does Differently and Why It Makes Sense

Image by Adrienne Blomberg via Ebola Crisis Fund

This piece in cooperation with Capital for Good andthe Ebola Crisis Fund

In August 2014, as the Ebola outbreak reached epidemic proportions and the WHO called for urgent international assistance Capital for Good and Geneva Global were among the first in the global health and development space to form a fund to target Ebola. Hearing from our longstanding network of contacts in West Africa, we learned of the desperation of local organizations who were ideally positioned to help their communities, but who lacked the resources to do all that they could. We recognized the immediate need to raise funds and get the money to those most in need on the ground as quickly as possible.

Image by Adrienne Blomberg via Ebola Crisis Fund

What we do differently:

We grant to local community-based organizations to deliver vital services at the grassroots level.

Why does this approach make sense?

• Community-based organizations have local support and trust, allowing them to leverage their access and credibility for maximum impact, particularly in hard-to-reach regions.

• They are headed by recognized community leaders, and have the social power to engage local volunteers to assist with executing program activities.

• They have existing infrastructure, unlike many pop-up international relief services.

• They have a sophisticated understanding of local power dynamics and how best to make strategic interventions.

• They have long-term commitment, providing the backbone of long-term sustainable change.

We’ve heard many stories of villages in Guinea where traditions and fears are so strong, community members have attacked international aid workers trying to help them. Working with local organizations has mitigated this challenge in many areas. Our community-based grantees have been able to navigate complex local beliefs and operate strategically and tactfully within the context to educate and treat those most at need.

Typically after crises recede, international aid workers leave the scene, and nations are left to recover as best they can with little support. By building the capacity of community based organizations, the Ebola Crisis Fund will empower communities to take on the long term challenges that lie ahead on the road to recovery—and to be better prepared for future emergencies.

Image by Adrienne Blomberg via Ebola Crisis Fund

Emergency aid and large scale relief efforts are needed in times of crisis. But helping local communities to help themselves, now and in the long-term, is a vital piece of the puzzle that makes up the international development picture.

Find out more and support our work with community-based organizations at www.ebolacrisisfund.org

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This story was submitted by the Ebola Crisis Fund and Capital for Good