General CBF

Baptist World Alliance: Ebola takes toll on Sierra Leone

In August, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced a partnership with the Baptist World Alliance to address the Ebola crisis in West Africa, providing food, educational materials and sanitary items to those suffering from the dire situation in Liberia. 

To respond to this growing crisis, the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC) in partnership with Baptist World Aid, the development and relief arm of BWA, is working to raise $35,000 from its mission partners to provide food, educational materials and sanitation supplies to 100 pastors and 100 communities across Liberia associated with the country’s Baptist churches and institutions. CBF has contributed $5,000 to this effort. Read more here. 

Below is the recent press release from the Baptist World Alliance on its efforts to aid those affected by Ebola crisis. 

Washington, DC (BWA)–The Ebola outbreak has disrupted economic and other activities in Sierra Leone, causing widespread dislocations.

The Baptist World Alliance (BWA) sent a total of US$20,000 to provide food, educational materials for the prevention of the spread of the Ebola virus, as well as materials and equipment to provide adequate sanitation for persons who have been affected by the crisis.

“The Ebola scourge in Sierra Leone is affecting the economy of the state, communities, households and individual family members,” Samuel Conteh, coordinator of social ministries for the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone, told the BWA.

The outbreak, which began in March, occurred during the height of the farming season. Agriculture is roughly 58 percent of Sierra Leone’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“This is the time rice farmers plant their rice fields and plantation (cocoa, coffee, etc.). The outbreak has not only abruptly halted these farming activities, but has also claimed the lives of farmers,” Conteh said.

“Some survivors are either quarantined or can no longer frequent their farms or plantations thereby leaving the crops to perish, particularly in epicenters like Kenema, Kailahun and Bo, where the majority of the population depends on rice and plantation farming for their livelihood.”

Conteh indicated “that most of the Ebola deaths are in the age brackets of between 15 and 45 years old, which fall within the active labor force, thereby leaving a huge population (children and the aged) as dependents.”

As a result, there is food shortage and the price of basic food supplies has skyrocketed. There is urgent need for food, especially for Ebola survivors and orphans. Agricultural supplies for planting the next harvest are also a great need.

The mining sector, the fifth highest contributor to Sierra Leone’s GDP, has also been negatively affected. Large mining companies “have all scaled down their activities leading to mass redundancy of a massive work force. Government revenue from this sector has also gone down,” Conteh affirmed.

In other areas of the economy, people have been laid off or made redundant. Education is virtually crippled as schools are closed.

The health sector is also severely affected. Approximately 50 medical personnel have died, including three prominent doctors. According to Conteh, persons are fearful of visiting health facilities lest they are labeled as Ebola patients and, as a result, are dying of ailments other than Ebola. Pregnant and nursing mothers are not visiting clinics to receive necessary prenatal and postnatal care. Babies and young children are not receiving necessary immunizations to ward off other infectious diseases.

Church activities have been drastically reduced. “Church attendances are dwindling. Baptist activities are being slowed down, particularly in [the] epicenters. The traditional embracing and handshake among members after church service have disappeared,” declared Conteh.

Donations may be made online at www.bwanet.org or sent to

Baptist World Aid
c/o Baptist World Alliance
405 North Washington Street
Falls Church, VA 22046 USA

The Baptist World Alliance is a fellowship of 231 conventions and unions in 121 countries and territories comprising 42 million members in 177,000 churches. Its priorities are nurturing the passion for mission and evangelism, promoting worship, fellowship and unity, responding to people in need, defending human rights and justice and advancing relevant theological reflection.

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