Mar 2015

Ebola: a security crisis?

With the number of new Ebola infections on the decline in some countries many are heralding the crisis as over – but it isn’t. In the vulnerable and isolated border regions of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and the Côte d’Ivoire, responses to Ebola have heightened tensions within villages, between communities and across borders.

The countries which make up the Mano River Union have been plagued in the recent past by violent armed conflict, they remain fragile societies with weak governance. The Ebola epidemic has exposed citizens’ lack of trust in Government.

At the request of our partners, Conciliation Resources has launched an 18-month EU-funded project Responding to Ebola-driven conflict. The project will enable local organisations and communities in the Mano River border regions to peacefully resolve tensions triggered or exacerbated by the world’s deadliest ever Ebola epidemic.

It is crucial we take action to provide support to populations in border areas affected by Ebola. The security implications can be potentially as grave as the humanitarian implications, in this highly fragile context.

Stephanie Brigden, Conciliation Resources’ Africa Director


A unique approach

The project, the only one of its type operating in these areas, will be implemented in 18 border districts and will be led by the District Platforms for Dialogue (DPDs). The DPDs were originally established by Conciliation Resources to address tensions within communities and across borders. They will monitor the emergency security situation in remote border communities.

Key aims of the project include strengthening the capacities of DPDs to mediate in conflicts at a community level, ensuring those affected by responses to Ebola are heard and enabling the experiences of those affected to be shared with policymakers and other key players, from the local level to the international.