West African civil society groups push for ‘ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola’

More than one hundred civil society groups in the West Africa have met in Senegal, Dakar to push for a Special Envoy on Ebola to facilitate efforts to contain the deadly disease in the sub-region.

The civil society groups say in light of the current outbreak of the deadly disease, members of Economic Community of West African States must “appoint a leading, influential, strong and knowledgeable West African physician or health professional as ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola.”

The current Ebola epidemic, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called the deadliest outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976, has claimed at least 1,552 lives in West Africa, including many health personnel.

According to the 101 civil society groups  pushing for the ‘ECOWAS Special Envoy on Ebola’, such an envoy will complement the efforts of WHO’s envoy Dr David Nabarro, to help draw attention to the public health and humanitarian challenges posed by Ebola and become a regional voice and leader for a regional response plan led by African and international contributors.

“The Envoy could also be the voice calling for effective management and coordination of cross-border transportation and logistics. The challenge we face is extraordinary and ECOWAS needs to create a specialised platform to address this”, a statement released by the West African Civil Society Institute (WACSI) on behalf of the 101 civil societies pushing for the initiative said.

WHO predicts that 20,000 people may ultimately be infected in this outbreak before a cure for the disease is discovered, a situation civil society groups say demand urgent steps to avoid an even greater catastrophe.

Reason for an ECOWAS Ebola Envoy
The civil society groups said cross-border coordination and collaboration have become necessary to stem the spread of Ebola, noting efforts to contain the disease has largely been haphazard and chaotic in the sub-region

“While closure of borders may provide short term relief, it is not proving an effective way of controlling the virus and is also an impediment to cross-border technical support and humanitarian assistance, giving rise to new food security challenges”, the statement said.

The CSOs observe that the challenge of the current epidemic calls for urgent, unified and concerted efforts by ECOWAS and the international community, hence the need for the Ebola envoy for West Africa.

“Since regional collaboration and coordination have been the main impediments in the management of this epidemic, we particularly appreciate and welcome the decision of ECOWAS to put in place a regional monitoring mechanism composed of two entities: the ministerial coordination group chaired by the Ghanaian health minister and a technical monitoring workgroup with members such as WHO Afro and the West African Health Organization (WAHO).

“The work of this monitoring mechanism should continue even in the post-Ebola period given the negative impact that the epidemic is having on health systems, on economies, and on social ties and community relations.

“We call on the international community to provide needed assistance in ensuring that the response to Ebola in the region is effective, humane and sustainable” the statement said.

Below is a full list West African Civil Society Organisations who are pushing for the initiative :

Action Aid Liberia

ActionAid Nigeria

African Artists’ Foundation



Alliance des femmes pour l’Egalité et le Genre en Guinée (AFEGGUI)

Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)

Association des Femmes Journalistes de Guinée (AFJ/Guinée)

Association des Juristes Sénégalaises (AJS)

Association Mains Solidaires (AMAS)

Association of Community Radio Stations (ALICOR)

Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme – Guinee (ADHG)

Avocats Sans Frontières Guinée

Bassa Women Development Association

Bassa Youth Caucus

Brekete Family Empowerment Project


CDD Ghana

Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) – Sierra Leone

Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)

Center for Justice and Peace Studies

Center for Media Studies and Peace Building

Center for Social Justice (Censoj)

Center for Transparency and Accountability

Centre LSD

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

Community Development and Research Agency

Community Life Project – Nigeria

Conseil National des Organisations de la Société Civile de Guinée (CNOSCG)

Council for the Development of Research in Social Sciences in Africa (CODESRIA)

Creative Media Centre For Development

CSO Ebola Response Taskforce – Liberia

Décentralisation Droits Humains Développement Local (ONG 3D)

Development & Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation (DIG Nigeria)

Development Education Network Liberia

EARS for the Masses

Elections Coordinating Committee

ENDA Tiers Monde

Forum Civil – Sénégal

Gender Peace Network

Human Development Initiatives – Nigeria



Initiative for Positive Change

Institute for Research and Democratic Development

Institute of Governance Reform – Sierra Leone

Integrity Organization Ltd (GTE)

L’Association Béninoise de Droit Constitutionnel (ABDC)


Liberia Feminist Forum

Liberia Media and Democratic Initiative

Liberia Media Center

Liberia Women Media Action Committee

MacJim Foundation

Maison de la Presse Guinee

Mano River Women Peace Network

Media Rights Agenda – Nigeria

Meme Droits pour Tous Guinee

National Civil Society Association of Liberia

National Civil Society Council of Liberia

National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE)

Natural Resource Management Consortium

Network Movement for Democracy and Human Rights (NMDHR)

Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West Africa (NNHRI-WA)

New African Research Development Agency

ONG SOS-Civisme/Niger

Organisation Catholique pour la Promotion Humaine – Guinée

Partners for Electoral Reforms

Plateforme des Acteurs Non Etatiques pour le suivi des accords de Cotonou (ANE/PF)

Platform for Dialogue and Peace

Policy and Legislative Advocacy Center (PLAC)

Press Union of Liberia

Public and Private Development Centre

Public Health Initiative

Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits de l’Homme – Guinée

Responsible Citizenship and Human Development Initiative

Rights & Rice Foundation

Save Nigeria Group (SNG)

Say No Campaign (SNC) Nigeria

Search for Common Ground

Security Sector Working Group

Social Watch Benin

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)

Special Emergency to Restore Children Hope

Support Initiative for Sustainable Development (SISDEV)

The Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria)


Union des Radios Associatives et Communautaires du Sénégal (URAC)


WACAM – Ghana

WANEP -Benin

West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)

West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)

West African Network for Peace Building

Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia

Young Men Christian Association of Liberia

Young Women Christian Association

Youth in Technology and Arts Network

Youth Initiative for Growth and Advancement (YIAGA)

Zorzor Women Development Association

Open Society Initiative for West Africa
  Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | George Nyavor | [email protected]

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