Ebola Awareness Campaign’s Funding in Sierra Leone

Partnerships and Advocacy

Potential Partners

The success of the Ebola awareness campaign in Sierra Leone partly depends on gaining the support of major partners. One private partner that would be useful in the campaign would be community leaders. Alternatively, the Sierra Leone government is a public partner that would be important in the program.

Justification for Selection of Partners and their Associated Benefits

We choose to include the government of Sierra Leone as a public partner because it controls the country’s health infrastructure and is the legitimate custodian of the national health data (CDC, 2014). Thus, it would be an important partner because it could help to recognize and formalize the activities of the actors involved in the public health campaign. Alternatively, we choose to include community leaders in the public health program because local communities in Sierra Leone often look up to their community leaders for social and political empowerment (CDC, 2016). Consequently, community leaders would be beneficial to the campaign because they have a strong influence on local community affairs and could provide the legitimacy needed by health workers to make Sierra Leoneans aware of Ebola. Based on their involvement in the program, there could be less resistance from community members about the campaign and more public support for it in the long-term. Similarly, through the involvement of community leaders, public health workers are likely to get a better understanding of community beliefs, attitudes, and values that could affect the public health campaign. The strategies for fostering partnerships between the public and private health partners appear below.

Three Strategies on How to Foster Partnerships

Fostering partnerships between the public and private partners (mentioned above) requires the use of effective strategies that would achieve the desired goals. In this section of the paper, we explain three strategies that could be useful in fostering these partnerships. One of them is improving how partners communicate because effective communication would ensure better coordination of program activities (CDC, 2014). This way, health workers could capitalize on each other’s strengths, and minimize their weaknesses. Another strategy of fostering partnerships is involving all the partners in the decision-making team so that all of them contribute to the making of strategic decisions that would guide the program (CDC, 2016). This strategy would safeguard stakeholder buy-in and promote a team effort when executing the program plans. Lastly, another strategy for fostering partnerships would be adopting a value-based model of engagement. This strategy involves informing the partners about the value of committing to the program (CDC, 2016). Consequently, they would appreciate the importance of participating in the Ebola awareness campaign.

Benefits and Limitations of Advocacy

As highlighted by CARE USA (2006), partnerships are crucial in health care advocacy. However, there are unique benefits and limitations associated with the same. One benefit of advocacy is the expansion of base support for the Ebola awareness campaign (CDC, 2016). In other words, by advocating for support for the program, public health workers could expand existing network and connections associated with the public health campaign by increasing the number of partners who want to be involved in it, thereby creating an opportunity for achieving more together, as a coalition, as opposed to an individual entity (Fertman & Allensworth, 2017). Another benefit of advocacy for the proposed public health program is the provision of safety for partners involved in the public health program because there have been incidences where public health workers have been chased away by selected communities in Sierra Leone over suspicion of “creating” Ebola (CDC, 2014).

Advocacy could help provide safety to such workers. Lastly, advocacy could help to magnify the resources needed in the Ebola awareness campaign because by pooling together the resources of every partner, the program would have a wider pool of resources to implement it (The Aspen Institute, n.d.). Although the above benefits could help to spur the activities of the Ebola awareness campaign, some limitations could impede the realization of these benefits. For example, advocacy could lead to the failure of partners to agree on common objectives for the program, thereby causing confusion among them (Fertman & Allensworth, 2017). Similarly, advocacy could be time-consuming and bureaucratic, thereby impeding the efficiency required to implement the Ebola awareness program. Lastly, advocacy could be impeded by the uneven distribution of power by one or more partners. Those who do not wield this power may feel left out and disinterested. Based on these views, program planners should know how to weave through the challenges of advocacy to realize the associated benefits.

Program Funding

How to Fund the Public Health Program

There are many barriers associated with the process of seeking funds for the Ebola awareness program. These factors notwithstanding, crowdfunding, grants, and donor funding are three strategies that could be useful in raising funds for the campaign (CARE USA, 2006). Crowdfunding involves getting money from the public and it could be executed through a website where people donate money to fund the program via online payment links. No criterion is needed for determining the kind of people who could donate under this program because everybody is welcome to do so. Albeit uncommon in the funding of public health campaigns, researchers have demonstrated that there is immense opportunity to fund such programs this way (Edge Fund, 2016). Comparatively, donor funding is a common way of funding public health programs such as the Ebola awareness campaign.

Funds could be secured this way by inviting charitable organizations or well-wishers to support the program. Such charitable organizations could be Africare, CDC Foundation, Red Cross International, Doctors without Borders, Christina Blind Mission International, and Global Health Ministries (among others) (CDC, 2014). Since different donor agencies support different types of health programs, efforts would be made to send proposals to those that support African health programs. Lastly, seeking grants to support the public health campaign is another way of securing financial support for the Ebola awareness campaign. Grants could be solicited from the Sierra Leone government or the American government (through the CDC) (CDC, 2016). Similar to donor funding, the process of securing grants involves the submission of proposals, which will be done as a prerequisite for the approval process. Generally, based on these insights, donor funding, grants, and crowdfunding are among the best ways for securing funds to support the Ebola awareness campaign.

Barriers to Receiving Funding

As highlighted in this paper, there are unique barriers that often impede the process of getting funds from donor agencies, government organizations, and other funding agencies. One potential barrier that applies to the Ebola awareness campaign is the failure of funding organizations to understand the culture of Sierra Leoneans and its relation to the spread of Ebola (Edge Fund, 2016). Indeed, without a careful understanding of the culture of West Africans, these agencies may equally fail to understand the importance of implementing an awareness campaign in the country.

The lack of adequate information technology and internet access platforms in Sierra Leone could also be a barrier to the funding process, particularly concerning the crowdfunding strategy because it is hinged on a virtual strategy of getting funds. The difficulty in understanding funding jargon could also impede the process because some funding agencies have strict financial criteria and specifications that are difficult to understand (Fertman & Allensworth, 2017). For example, governments often have strict bureaucratic requirements that may significantly slow down the process of securing funds. Generally, the insights highlighted in this section of the paper show that the difficulty in understanding funding jargon, the failure of funding organizations to understand the culture of Sierra Leoneans, and the lack of adequate information technology and internet access platforms could be impediments to the funding process.

Strategies for Addressing Potential Funding Barriers

Based on the funding barriers highlighted above and their effects on the funding process, three solutions could be used to overcome them include conducting proper research, educating potential funders about the social, political, and economic dynamics of the target community, and setting up alternative ways of securing funding through crowdfunding (The Aspen Institute, n.d.). As the last recommendation points out, setting up an alternative way of securing funds would solve the problem of lack of internet access for crowdfunding. Educating potential funding agencies about the political, social, and economic dynamics of Sierra Leone would help to overcome the barriers associated with the failure of funding organizations to understand the culture of Sierra Leoneans while conducting proper research would help to solve problems associated with the failure to understand proper funding jargon. Collectively, these solutions would make funding more accessible for the Ebola awareness campaign.

References

The Aspen Institute. (n.d.). Dachshund acquisition campaign – a light-hearted sample app. Web.

CARE USA. (2006). Advocacy tools and guidelines. Web.

CDC. (2014). Ebola outbreaks 2000–2014. Web.

CDC. (2016). What successful health-related community partnerships have in common.  Web.

Fertman, C. I., & Allensworth, D. D. (Eds.). (2017). Health promotion programs: From theory to practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Edge Fund. (2016). Barriers to funding. Web.