Mobilizing international response to the Ebola epidemic
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When the Ebola epidemic hit West Africa in 2014, the affected countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia – needed help raising awareness of the scope of the crisis in order to mobilize international relief efforts.
By the time it was contained, over a year later, the Ebola epidemic had killed over 10,000 people, decimated local healthcare systems, and shaken the social foundations of affected countries. The World Bank estimated that the continent lost a total of $6 billion in GDP due to the outbreak, with the fragile economies of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea suffering most.
The KRL approach
KRL, along with several leading companies in the region, was at the forefront of efforts to coordinate the private sector response and demand government action. The Ebola Private Sector Mobilization Group (EPSMG) formed in July 2014 as a small group of companies informally sharing information on the epidemic. It quickly grew to nearly 100 organizations coordinating relief activities, lobbying the UN and other international institutions, and working to promote economic recovery in the affected countries. KRL became the U.S. secretariat for the EPSMG.
As the official representatives of the government of Liberia, in addition to our role with the EPSMG, KRL successfully raised the alarm with the U.S. government in summer 2014, when the scope of the crisis was still poorly understood in Washington. Thanks to bipartisan support, Congress passed emergency appropriations and the Obama administration mobilized the Centers for Disease Control, USAID, the State Department, and the Pentagon. KRL also worked with stakeholders on long-term recovery efforts.