The ECOWAS Youth Council has concluded a 2-day outreach sensitization on the causes and preventions of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), at Gbalamuya, a boarder community to Guinea, Kambia district on their “Beyond Boarders Sensitization tour”.
The sensitization was facilitated by the ECOWAS Youth council President Sierra Leone Chapter, H.E Amb: Sheku Foryor, who headed the Freetown Team with the Support of the Kambia District Youth Council, and other youth serving organizations.
Sheku Foryor before starting the sensitization, briefed young people on the establishment and operations of the ECOWAS Youth Council in Sierra Leone that “ EYC is a platform that gives young people the chance to discuss issues that affect their wellbeing for the attention government” he said. The team went to the Gbalamuya border community and met with Gbalamuya Customs Supervisor, Mr. Nyakeh. Speaking with him, Sheku Foryor also explained the operations of the EYC and the role of youth in the border areas and it current intervention on the Covid-19 fight. Emphasizing on the importance of the sensitization in the border area as Guinea is
recording high number of Covid-19 cases and the role of the youth in putting measures to combat the fight.
He made a reflection on the roles played by the youth during the Ebola fight., he also said that this sensitization was carried out as a way of complementing government’s effort in the fight against the CoVID-19, he also emphasized the border communities are at high risk during this pandemic. In that meeting social distancing was highly observed.
In appreciation, the Customs Supervisor welcomed the team at the Gbalamuya Customs and told members of the team that the Customs is a joint border monitoring between Sierra Leone and Guinea, he also emphasized that they are working assiduously to ensure that the closure of the border is maintained as announced by government.
The Team also met with community stakeholders in respect of the event and awaken their responsibilities towards the fight of the COVID-19, speaking with the local chief and other stakeholder.
The Chairman, Kambia District Youth Council and Sheku Foryor, EYC-SL President spoke on the measures set by WHO and government as precaution, among which frequent hand washing with soap and clean water, social distancing were highly emphasized during the discussion, other messages like early referral to the health centre or calling of the 117 when someone feel sick.
Speaking on behalf of his people, Pa Moumodubah Fofanah, the chief of Gbalamuya, express thanks and appreciation to the ECOWAS Youth council and entire team for having Gbalamuya at heart and for bringing the sensitization to their door step. He employed the people of Gbalamuya to take heed of the messages been given to them by the team more especially young people who are mostly agents of smuggling around porous border areas.
Mariatu Sankoh a representative on behalf of young women express delight of honour from the inspirational and encouraging messages from her peers about consequences of corona Virus and the importance taking ownership of the fight. She employed her colleagues to make good use of the message.
The sensitization which took different forms town hall meeting with stakeholders, dialogue discussion with NRA/Customs officials and houses to house sensitization.
The campaign was not only limited to causes and prevention of the virus, but other messages such as: Do’s and Don’ts of Corona (hand washing, social distancing), Embracing strangers, cross boarder monitoring.