On the Frontlines of the Ebola Response: An Inside Look at a Program to Help the Grieving

In Liberia, a country gripped by Ebola, the outbreak has not only taken its toll on health care workers but also on the professionals who comfort the grieving.

“The outbreak of Ebola was very shocking and overwhelming to our country,” said Jestina Hoff, a counselor with the Liberian Red Cross.  “It brought a lot fear.”

The outbreak has also hampered Hoff’s ability to do her job.”  As a counselor, I talk to parents who lost a child or to someone who has gotten sick with the virus,” said Hoff.  “They are feeling so discouraged, and I have to help them accept the situation and comfort them, but without touching them.”

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unicef:

During conflict, sexual violence can become the norm and remain ingrained in culture long after the war is over. In post-conflict Liberia, where a 14-year civil war ended in 2003, a staggering 87% of children have experienced some form of sexual violation.
‘Olivia’, 12, says she “stopped being a child and started living in fear,” when she was six. “My uncle would sneak into my room and rape me until I bled. He abused me repeatedly until I could no longer control my bladder and bowels”.
Thankfully, another uncle reported Olivia’s case to the police and brought her to hospital where they performed surgery. “Now I have hope in my life once more,” she says. “I returned to school, and I am loving it. Life is still a challenge for me due to having to carry a urine bag with me and being at constant risk of infections. I hope one day I can be free again to play ball with my friends and my sister.”
World leaders must do all they can to end the rape and abuse of children in war at this week’s global summit. #TimeToAct #ENDviolence http://uni.cf/PSVI  

unicef:

During conflict, sexual violence can become the norm and remain ingrained in culture long after the war is over. In post-conflict Liberia, where a 14-year civil war ended in 2003, a staggering 87% of children have experienced some form of sexual violation.

‘Olivia’, 12, says she “stopped being a child and started living in fear,” when she was six. “My uncle would sneak into my room and rape me until I bled. He abused me repeatedly until I could no longer control my bladder and bowels”.

Thankfully, another uncle reported Olivia’s case to the police and brought her to hospital where they performed surgery. “Now I have hope in my life once more,” she says. “I returned to school, and I am loving it. Life is still a challenge for me due to having to carry a urine bag with me and being at constant risk of infections. I hope one day I can be free again to play ball with my friends and my sister.”

World leaders must do all they can to end the rape and abuse of children in war at this week’s global summit. #TimeToAct #ENDviolence http://uni.cf/PSVI  

Secretary Kerry meets with Chief Justices from Nigeria, Liberia, and Supreme Court Officials from Nigeria, Liberia, and Botswana at the Department of State.

Secretary Kerry meets with Chief Justices from Nigeria, Liberia, and Supreme Court Officials from Nigeria, Liberia, and Botswana at the Department of State.

united-nations:

Join us in congratulating Liberia as it celebrated 10 years of peace this week!
“Guns in the hands of young people have been replaced by pens and school books. Refugees have returned home with hope for the future, and schools are opening their doors across the nation, to educate future generations of leaders.”
Find out more: http://bit.ly/14Dh0fo
Image credit: United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)

united-nations:

Join us in congratulating Liberia as it celebrated 10 years of peace this week!

“Guns in the hands of young people have been replaced by pens and school books. Refugees have returned home with hope for the future, and schools are opening their doors across the nation, to educate future generations of leaders.”

Find out more: http://bit.ly/14Dh0fo

Image credit: United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)

On the Occasion of the Republic of Liberia’s National Day
Secretary Kerry: On behalf of President Obama and all Americans, I congratulate the people of Liberia as they celebrate 166 years of independence on July 26.
I extend warm wishes to the people of Liberia as you gather with family and friends on your national day. Read More
peacecorps:

Bonding with a little local in Liberia

On the Occasion of the Republic of Liberia’s National Day

Secretary Kerry: On behalf of President Obama and all Americans, I congratulate the people of Liberia as they celebrate 166 years of independence on July 26.

I extend warm wishes to the people of Liberia as you gather with family and friends on your national day. Read More

peacecorps:

Bonding with a little local in Liberia

Two Women, Two Countries, Two People: A Growing Partnership

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton shakes hands with Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., January 15, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

There is no more effective form of engagement than face-to-face communication. That’s a fundamental principle of our public diplomacy. And thanks to a strong friendship and understanding between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , we have just signed an important agreement between the United States and Liberia.

One year ago, this month, Secretary Clinton traveled to Monrovia to attend the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf . At the time she said, “Democracy hasn’t just sprouted in Liberia, it has taken root.”

The relationship struck between Secretary Clinton and President Sirleaf — strengthened by their own personal narratives of empowerment and their mutual commitment to changing the lives of women and girls, peace-building,… more »

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to hold a U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue signing ceremony at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on January 15, 2012. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2013/01/202201.htm

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 2012. A text transcript can be found at http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/06/192021.htm.

Supporting Justice and the Rule of Law in Liberia

United Nation's peacekeeping policewomen, from India, arrive at the airport in Monrovia, Liberia, Jan. 30, 2007. [AP File Photo]

About the Authors: Victoria Holt serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, and Annie Pforzheimer serves as Director for UN Peacekeeping in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

In countries recovering from war, it is normal to see UN blue helmeted military units — they’re big, obvious, and a reassuring presence.

But in Liberia, where President Johnson-Sirleaf was re-elected to a second term, that reassuring presence should be the uniform of a Liberian police officer — with a blue helmet backing them up.

A long-term peace, I was reminded during my visit to Liberia in mid-March, doesn’t come from soldiers, but… more »

Liberian Women Lead a Revolution in Agriculture
Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, U.S. Representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, meets with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia in August 2011. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ambassador Ertharin Cousin serves as U.S. Representative to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

As we continue to respond to the heartbreaking crisis in the Horn of Africa, it’s important to keep in mind that we are able to apply some lessons learned from our long term commitment to relief and development work elsewhere in Africa. The key, it seems to me, is to respond to the disaster while also building long term solutions to broader issues. Just before I visited refugee camps along the Somalia border last week, I traveled to Liberia to look into some of our longer term programs there. It was quite an amazing visit.

I was able to view firsthand the synergies between World Food Programmore »