Monday, April 18, 2016

It's Official! We're Becoming Offficial.

FOG is excited to announce that we are applying for official 501(c)3 status. FOG officers voted to pursue non-profit status for many reasons including expanding our fundraising efforts and project funding. The process is long but expect updates along the way!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fasso Demen

The NPCA Ebola Relief Fund received the final report from one of our grant recipients, detailing their work in a very unique and powerful way. A full-length movie with scenes from their volunteer training to door-to-door education campaigns. Uploading the video is proving more difficult... perhaps in the next post.

Fasso Demen is a co-op group from the Kankan neighborhood of Bordo. This has been a site for many PCVs and a great community for collaboration. The group is lead by the very enthusiastic and forward thinking Mamadi Kensa Conde. They proposed a project to address two important factors of the Ebola epidemic; pregnant women and safe burials.

By educating women and addressing the sensitive situation of burial, Fasso Demen was able bring a collective sense of cultural healing and preventing the epidemic from spreading. Women were able to contribute to their gender appropriate role in burial prep but the risk of spreading Ebola was contained. The group used a multi-channel approach with education sessions in two health centers, multiple radio broadcasts, and door-to-door campaigns with women speaking to women about avoiding the risk of transmission.

Fasso Demen's activities directly and indirectly reached 660 individuals. Very few cases of Ebola have reached the city of Kankan and the prefecture but there are 660 more individuals aware and prepared.

The epidemic and is far from over and government officials have authorized quarantine procedures in communities of lower Basse Cote (see link below). NPCA Ebola Relief Fund has one more round of grants to disburse. You could be a part of the next project to eradicate Ebola in a Guinean community. Donations will be collected until Tuesday June 30th!

Friday, April 10, 2015

ERF Round 3.1, 3.2, 3.3

For the third round of proposals the ERF steering committee elected to fund a three-village surveillance system within Kindia including the communities of Debelen, Friguiyagbe, and Koliagbe. The director of Organisation Nationale des Œuvres Evangéliques de Guinée (ONOMEG) Martin Luther Kourouma, is a former student of a Peace Corps volunteer. We wait to hear about progress on this project but expect great success.

From the same pool of applicants as Round 3, the committee has elected to fund a small number of projects for as long as possible. On March 26th the committee met and elected to fund another four projects in all three countries. The selected one from Guinea was an educational campaign in the Kankan community of Bordo.

The vetting process for Round 3.3 is currently in effect. One potential candidate is a groupement in Kouroussa making shea butter soap and educating communities about the importance of hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus. The meeting is scheduled for May 7th.

Reports are in for a few Round 2 projects such as Priorité Santé in the Conakry neighborhood of Ratoma. This organization focused on educating two high-risk groups: pregnant and breast-feeding women. Women were scheduled for one-on-one appointments with a health worker to discuss health risks of Ebola for mothers. In a private interview women were able to discuss their concerns and ask questions. The health workers emphasized the importance of women watching for symptoms of potential victims, because they are very often times caretakers for the ill and young children who are at high risk.

A woman receives a one-on-one consultation with a Priorite Sante health worker. 

Women at the Ratoma health center Ebola education session.

The organization ADSPB in Yomou of the forest region conducted an educational campaign at schools and home visits with community discussion groups. A small team of trained volunteers would visit a concession and ask the members to engage in interactive sanitation activities to adopt behavior changes. Community members were able to test their knowledge and ask for clarification from the volunteers.

More news to come on fundraising through FOG for the Ebola Relief Fund.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Midterms are in!

The organization Association Guinéenne d’Eveil au Développement Durable (AGEDD) of 
Maferinyah, Forecariah has submitted their midterm report. They are lead by the PC Guinea Agroforestry program manager Abdoul Khaligi Diallo. This month they successfully completed their project . The Forecariah region is known by the media for the resistance against Ebola aid work. With the help of local people and grants funded by NPCA progress has been made convincing populations about the reality of the disease.

The group lead 56 education sessions, distributed 639 sanitation kits educating 793 households, and trained 33 volunteers. Diallo credits the success of the program to the participation of the whole community. From religious leaders, farm workers, to students and their parents, everyone did their own part to mobilize people and share information about Ebola. The organization also asked recovered Ebola victims to share their stories, helping educate other community members to understand their struggle. They were also able to see recovery is possible and move towards reintegration. See pictures below from AGEDD's project!

The Ebola Relief Steering committee meets this upcoming week to decide on Round 3 recipients. In the Guinea pool, an interesting surveillance project has been proposed. The project would train community members to detect Ebola cases and alert authorities to begin proper health protocols.

More updates to come with the remaining midterm reports of Round 1 and 2. 

Ebola victim speaking at education session.

Volunteer coordinators


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Continued Support with Ebola Relief Fund Grants

The continued partnership of the National Peace Corps Association and the Friends of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone organizations has lead to the funding of local capacity building efforts against the Ebola epidemic. The NPCA, now in their third round of applications, hopes to reach the most mortality vulnerable groups with the next round of projects. Those groups include children, orphans, pregnant women, and elderly.

The third round also calls for focus on healing. Consideration for grants looking to counsel grieving individuals and stigma awareness are of high priority. The cultural norms of death, burial, and loss have been disturbed by the epidemic for the sake of sanitation and stop the spread of the disease. 

Grant recipient of Round 2 include the following  non-profit organizations; Priorite Sante Guinee (PSG), Association pour Development en Milieu Rural (ADMR), Bien Etre du Monde (BEM).  Each group continues to emphasize education of transmission, symptoms, and importance of hygiene, but they also offer interesting individual initiatives. PSG focuses on educating solely pregnant and breast-feeding women in week-long interactive programs in the Conakry neighbor of Ratoma. ADMR in the community of Kaliah of the Forecariah prefecture, stresses the idea that Ebola is a real disease and a real threat to all communities and the importance of seeking treatment rather than retracting from care in fear. BEM, based in Macenta, plans to work on grave identification for victims and their families in addition to radio broadcasts in local languages for more widespread awareness.

A new joint venture with World Connect, has nearly doubled the funds for Round 2 and allows the NPCA to expand the number of grant recipients. More updates on project progress to come.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ebola Outbreak Update

     The situation in Guinea continues to be relatively stable, according to the World Health Organization's most recent assessment, released on November 12. Transmission of the Ebola virus is steady, with Conakry and parts of the Forest region continuing to be the most severely hit areas. Siguiri has also emerged as a pivotal prefecture in the regional fight against Ebola, in light of the news that the virus has spread once again to Mali, including its capital city, Bamako.

     The official numbers as of November 12 were as follows: 1,878 cases with 1,142 deaths in Guinea alone. Of the 34 total prefectures in Guinea, only 10 remain completely unscathed, mostly clustered in the northern Fouta Djallon.

     With respect to Peace Corps' presence in Guinea, Volunteers who were evacuated will not be returning anytime soon, but will have the option of reinstatement, if the situation should clear up by October 31, 2015. Currently, Peace Corps Guinea staff and administration are hopeful that G27's spring arrival date will hold, but the situation will need to improve dramatically before then. Nevertheless, staff and administration are continuing operations as normal in Guinea, albeit with CDC oversight.

Ebola Relief Fund Grantees

     For several weeks now, Friends of Guinea, along with its sister organizations in Sierra Leone and Liberia, has been soliciting grant proposals from Host Country Nationals combating Ebola in the affected region. In collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association, the organizations are seeking worthy proposals of up to $3,000, with the intention of supporting local grassroots organizations that may not have other sources of funding.

     While the Ebola Relief Fund campaign continues, and we are still seeking grant proposals, we are happy to announce that three deserving proposals have been selected from Guinea in the first round. The NGOs AGEDD, AGUIFPEG, and Amis du Monde pour le Developpement, have each been selected to receive $3,000 to advance their cause. Each NGO is operating in a district that has seen Ebola cases: AGEDD is seeking to raise awareness in public places such as mosques and markets around Forecariah; AGUIFPEG of Kindia is aiming to promote awareness through theater; and AMD will be using its funds to transport supplies and hire community organizers in the heavily affected N'zerekore district.

     We at FOG are very grateful for all of the applications that we received and all of the work being done on the ground in the region. We are, furthermore, excited to continue receiving proposals as the campaign continues, and we hope that we can help to make some difference in the communities where these organizations operate.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Letter to Guinea in French and English


21 octobre 2014

Chers Frères et Sœurs de Guinée,

Nous sommes Friends of Guinea (Les Amis de la Guinée), un groupe de volontaires du Corps de la Paix, anciens et actuels, de leurs parents, et des ressortissants guinéens. Nous vous écrivons pour vous faire savoir que vous êtes dans nos pensées pendant cette période très difficile. Beaucoup parmi nous ont appris à parler pular, susu, malinke et ont travaillé dans vos centres de santé et vos écoles, parcouru vos villes et villages dans les taxis  brousse, et célébré avec vous quelques-unes de vos cérémonies de baptême et de mariage.  Pour beaucoup parmi nous, il y a longtemps que nous n'avons pas visit
é la Guinée mais malgré cela, nos cœurs et nos esprits n'oublient pas votre gentillesse et votre générosité.    

Veuillez accepter nos condoléances pour toutes les vies qui ont été perdues suite au virus Ebola, et les charges qui ont été placées sur votre pays. Nous espérons que les volontaires du Corps de la Paix pourront revenir dans votre beau pays très prochainement. D'ici , nous savons que malgré les kilomètres de l'océan entre nous, on est ensemble.

Avec beaucoup de respect,

Friends of Guinea (Les Amis de la Guinée)  

aux États-Unis



October 21, 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Guinea,

We are the Friends of Guinea, a group of current and former Peace Corps Volunteers, their parents, and Guinean nationals. We are writing to let you know that you are in our thoughts during this very difficult time. Many of us learned to speak Pular, Susu, and Malinke, worked in your health centers and schools, travelled between your cities and villages in bush taxis, and celebrated with you at baptisms and weddings.  While many of us have been gone from Guinea for years, our hearts and minds do not forget your kindness and generosity.

Please accept our condolences for all the lives that have been lost to Ebola, and the burdens that have been placed upon your country.  We hope that Peace Corps Volunteers can return to your beautiful land again soon. Until then, know that despite the miles of ocean between us, we are with you.

With great respect,

Friends of Guinea