January 10, 2015
Funding Together Now to Stop Ebola
Africa Stop Ebola

From the recording Africa Stop Ebola featuring West African recording artists: Tiken Jah Fakoly, amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare and others.

To equip donors to help stop Ebola and its deleterious consequences, New England International Donors (NEID) has launched a Beyond Ebola Fund to second five staff members for 18 months to the Liberian Ministry of Health.  NEID also maintains an evolving page of information about the philanthropic and aid response. In addition, NEID has held a tele-briefing and two public forums.  For upcoming Telebriefings watch the NEID Calendar.  For a moving song to inspire action see: “Africa Stop Ebola.”  Purchase the song if you’re in the UK on iTunes (all profits go to Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders).

NEID’s second Ebola Forum was held on December 5, 2014, the first anniversary of the passing of legendary South African President, Nelson Mandela.  Many thanks to event organizer and NEID Member Eliza Petrow for her comprehensive blog post.  Excerpts from my closing remarks are below.  

        The goal in sponsoring the Ebola Forum has been collaboration to Stop Ebola Now.  In the face of disaster, we all have to get better at it – funders, planners, aid workers, and public servants.  When we work together, as in the recovery from last year’s typhoon in the Philippines, uplifting outcomes are possible.  When we compete and follow the beat of our own drum, as I witnessed in Haiti after the earthquake, we waste time and money and lives.  NEID’s 100 members believe the most effective global donors are well-educated and collaborative ones.  We learn from experts and each other, we partner together, and we stand behind great leaders and aid workers like those in this room.

        Today marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime – President Nelson Mandela of South Africa.  Throughout the world, people are laying wreaths, sharing memories, and reflecting in silence about how Mandela suffered and eventually conquered injustice.  I will never forget the day I watched live on TV as he walked out of prison.  He expected all of us to walk beside him for a new South Africa, a new Africa and a new world where we all recognize we are a part of one another.

       His late wife, Graça Machel-Mandela, former First Lady of Mozambique and South Africa, has called each of us to walk with him still.[i]

“Therefore my challenge to each of you…is that you ask yourself what you can do to make a difference. And then take that action, no matter how large or how small.”[ii]

      Take action.  That is also the message of our closing video created by Doctors without Borders.  The song “Stop Ebola Now” is performed by a collective of 13 of West Africa’s top recording artists and its charge to us needs no translation.

      But first, let us share a few moments of silence in memory of Nelson Mandela… in memory of the 6,069 persons (reported as of yesterday) who have died from Ebola and the 17,145 who have contracted it… in sympathy with those who have lost their loved ones and friends… and in active solidarity with all those battling this rapacious disease and its consequences.

Hosted by John Snow, Inc. (JSI) with invaluable support from Joel Lamstein, Julie Ray and Nancy Brad, the forum was masterminded and propelled by NEID Member Eliza Petrow, an extraordinary global health advocate and philanthropic advisor to JC Flowers Foundation in New York City and World Education in Boston.  We benefited from expert commentary from Dr. Hilarie Cranmer, Director, MGH Center for Global Health, Disaster Response; Jesse Hartness, Director of Emergency Health and Nutrition, Save the Children; Kum Kum Amin, Associate Director, John Snow Inc.; and Dr. Imran Mirza, Health Specialist, UNICEF.  We were joined by nearly 80 donors and NGO staff. 

 

[i] I first learned about Gracie Machel-Mandela from NEID Member and global health advisor, Tanya Jones.

[ii] Gracie Machel-Mandela, from The Emily Fund for a Better World at http://www.doonething.org/heroes/pages-m/machel-quotes.htm, accessed December 4, 2014.