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Campaign for Congolese Response to Ebola Crisis

$235 of $40,000 goal

Raised by 6 people in 5 months
Help stop the second largest Ebola Virus Disease outbreak! I'm raising money for Cura Earth and the Congolese group Volunteers for Fauna and Flora (VCFF), and any donation will help make impact. Currently the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has infected well over 700 people and is on its way to 800. It has expanded its range and is getting closer and closer to major population centers like Goma, which would be a disaster of huge proportions with that many people potentially exposed. Neighboring countries like South Sudan and Uganda have begun vaccinating first line health workers in anticipation of it crossing borders and becoming a multicountry epidemic. It is also extremely worrisome that the infection may be become endemic- that it will become a regularly found and transmitted virus infection in DRC like the flu- that it won't be contained, as outline here from one of the best public health writers and policy analysts https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/15/ebola-has-gotten-so-bad-its-normal/ . Shockingly to many people outside of DRC the fact remains that many people in North Kivu still do not believe that EVD exists, and that it is either other diseases or causes for the symptoms, or that EVD is a conspiracy of the government, or they've never heard of it, which is understandable if you know what the people in North Kivu have lived through. 

More information about Cura Earth: Cura Earth combines science, social action, and creativity to achieve sustainable health of people, animals, and ecosystems.

We are raising money for a series of workshops to help mistrustful communities in North Kivu province of eastern DR Congo understand better what Ebola virus is, how it can be transmitted, how vaccines can help overall health as well as prevent Ebola virus from spreading to contacts of someone sick with the disease, and installing hand washing stations using filtered clean water at community meeting areas such as schools and churches. These workshops are conducted using traditional song, dance, and storytelling techniques that have been proven to be effective in changing behaviors and beliefs about both health and conservation, and have been used by the VCFF to improve public health in Goma behavior the EVD epidemic. The Red Cross, WHO, and Doctors Without Borders are using some similar techniques with some communities, but much more needs to be done and more groups need to get to more communities, which is why this work is so essential. 

This is a program conceived and developed by Congolese scientists and health workers, and using their on the ground knowledge of health, attitudes, and fear of the government they have developed a comprehensive proposal to educate communities in the outbreak region as well as communities near the outbreak, to lay the groundwork for more effective responses by the Ministry of Health, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), and the World Health Organization if the disease continues to spread. Our program compliments the traditional epidemiology investigations and treatment and vaccine programs ongoing by the previously mentioned three groups, and will hopefully lead to more cooperation between the communities and the Ministry of Health, which has had a difficult time due to distrust of the government. We will not be doing any vaccinating against Ebola virus at this time, as only a few organizations have access to the vaccine and it has been produced in limited quantities. 

For more information please visit https://www.curaearth.org where we share more details about the workshop. Once we reach $1000-2000 we can get the workshops started, and expand as we raise more money. This amount includes the workshop and educational materials costs, transportation, installing hand washing stations, and providing a stipend for the individuals in VCFF. We have discussed and continue to discuss how the members of VCFF can stay safe from the Ebola virus itself, as well as armed rebel groups in the area. Our first priority is keeping VCFF safe. 


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(Photo credit to Jean-Paul Lukusa from one of their hygiene workshops with school children)
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While we are continuing to seek funding sources for this program of workshops, improving sanitation, and building capacity in and adjacent to the outbreak, the Ebola outbreak has continued at a rapid pace, now over 600 cases with more each day. It is also likely, since some of the cases are "community deaths" (meaning they died at home and not in an Ebola treatment center) that there are more cases that are not getting traced or reported. This is due to a combination of violence from rebel faction groups, tumult in the area of the outbreak because of the recent Presidential election, and general mistrust of the government and outsiders in the community. This is why it is so important to have local Congolese professionals with ties to the various communities do these educational workshops. We can educate the locals on what Ebola Virus Disease is, how it is transmitted, how to prevent transmission (including vaccination), why local healers are not equipped to treat the disease and in fact have helped spread it, and why it is important to go to official Ebola treatment centers for testing if they have symptoms and to have all contacts of anyone infected work with WHO and the Ministry of Health to make sure they get tested and vaccinated. We can do this in the communities currently having the outbreak, as well as communities adjacent to help prevent the virus from spreading further in the country and perhaps internationally. Informed people are prepared people. Please consider donating today, and spreading our campaign to your network of peers, family, and friends.
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$235 of $40,000 goal

Raised by 6 people in 5 months
Funds raised will benefit:
Cura Earth
Certified Charity
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Minneapolis, MN
EIN: 454266820
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* If, after reasonable efforts, PayPal Giving Fund cannot deliver donations to this charity, the funds may be donated to another charity per PayPal Giving Fund’s policies.
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