Enterprise Training Post-Ebola
Be the Change Academies are ready to aid Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia’s post-Ebola economic recovery through Enterprise Training.
PCI has paid close attention the Ebola crisis since the disease first appeared in West Africa about a year ago. Thanks to support from NORAD, we work alongside our partners Youth Crime Watch Liberia, A W.I.S.H Sierra Leone and Jatropha Youth Micro-finance Bank to run entrepreneurial training and loan programmes for young women in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – the three countries where the Ebola outbreak was especially severe.
As the crisis worsened over the summer and states of emergency were declared, we suspended our Be the Change Academies (BTCAs) in Liberia and watched in horror as the worst Ebola epidemic in history spread through West Africa.
We worked to support our people on the ground and supply them with the Ebola prevention materials they needed to stay safe and continued provide mentorship to those women who received loans.
Our former BTCA graduates sent us information about their lives and livelihoods during the Ebola outbreak. Many got involved with a variety of enterprises, adapting their work as the epidemic impeded normal life.
Comfort Wuozenneh sold pastries near the university, but when Liberia shut down all schools, she altered her business model to sell from door to door. Marie Deline used to sell gasoline until Ebola prevented people from traveling, so she switched to selling sand.
As the Ebola outbreak is gradually being contained, the abilities to develop and implement new business plans and adapt to market changes is what will drive the post-Ebola recovery.
We understand the difficulty. With more than 9,000 killed by Ebola – most of them women – and thousands of families affected by the epidemic, life may never return to normalcy for individuals, communities and countries at large. Some experts believe Ebola will never be fully eradicated from the region.
This is why the post-Ebola recovery is becoming a major focus of humanitarian and development programmes. Organisations like the UN are beginning to evaluate how to rebuild the health systems, governmental stability and economies of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The UNDP has reported that “large numbers of women have lost their livelihoods due to reduced productivity in agriculture, slowing down of trade and small business activity”. The UN organisation recommends that gender be considered in recovery initiatives.
As our NORAD-funded BTCAs work exclusively with women, providing business training courses, a revolving loan fund and full-time mentorship to help start up enterprises, we are well placed to support the economic recovery.
We reopened our location in Paynesville, Liberia, and we’re looking forward to working with the next cohort of BTCA participants. You can help us support the post-Ebola recovery through our BTCAs. Please visit our Donate page to make a difference today. Thank you.