CCOUC Assistant Director Mr Chi Shing Wong participated in the Sphere Webinar entitled “From Ebola to COVID-19: Lessons learned from the DRC” on 23 September 2020. It is part of a series of webinars organized by Sphere to share good practice and technical guidance on humanitarian standards in the COVID-19 response. It explored how local community members and humanitarian actors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were using best practices developed during the Ebola crisis to fight the current COVID-19 pandemic. CCOUC has been a Sphere Focal Point for China since 2004.
One of the key lessons learned from Ebola epidemic in DRC is that the epidemic brought about panic, fear and trauma in local community, with conspiracy rumours that international NGOs were behind the epidemic so that they could stay behind. Ebola victims were also attacked. The People First Impact Method (P-FIM) as a best practice evolved out of Ebola to tackle these challenges and adopted by various NGOs in DRC was introduced in the Webinar, which emphasizes listening to and understanding the needs of local community and victims and building on local capacity. Aid recipients should be the owner of emergency and disaster response and involved in organization and evaluation of response. Active participation of local population and disaster victims is essential for people to live with dignity. It is also important to engage vulnerable groups and avoid stigmatizing them. NGOs in DRC is now working with local community in response to COVID-19 via both phone and in-person visits.