Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Congratulations Muriel!

Some years ago when LOEP teacher trainers conducted the first teacher workshop at Lott Carey Mission School,Muriel Craigwell was an intern assistant for the workshop facilitators. A high school student back then, Muriel showed great potential and promise for a career as an educator. She begins to fulfill that promise now. 
Last week Muriel graduated from Stella Maris Polytechnical Institute in Liberia with a Bachelor of Science in Education. A student of remarkable ability, she maintained her honors status throughout her four-year college career and graduated with honors and distinction!
Muriel is pictured here with Mrs. Rosa Allen, Principal of Instruction at Lott Carey Mission School. Mrs. Allen, herself a highly accomplished educator well-regarded in her field, has mentored Muriel since she was in high school.
Reverend Emile Sam-Peal, Superintendent of Lott Carey Mission School, is also pictured with Muriel. He has been an enthusiastic sponsor for her seeking assistance for scholarships, encouraging her further study and having her work with students at Lott Carey.
After her first intern year, Muriel was a valuable participant in all the annual LOEP workshops.
LOEP sends congratulations to Muriel. We are so proud of her accomplishments and look forward to her success as a teacher. Muriel will make a difference in the lives of her students and in the future of her nation!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Back to School!

School re-opening has been postponed until February 16 in Liberia to give schools time to  conform to new health standards that include installing Handwashing Stations and providing disease prevention measures to screen students and teachers for Ebola symptoms.  In addition, schools are required to institute disease prevention and health curriculums geared to Ebola prevention.  Many schools, closed for months and without revenue during the closure, are struggling to meet the new regulations in time for opening.

LOEP donors have responded to the new challenge since the  re-opening was announced.  More than 60 new LOEP Handwashing Stations are being distributed to schools and clinics in rural Liberia.  The Handwashing Stations will help schools meet the new health requirements in time for the February 16 opening date.  LOEP has also provided "no contact" thermometers for health screening of teachers and students to monitor for symptoms of illness.   This is a new disease prevention measure that has been put in place because of the Ebola crisis.
Rosa Allen, LOEP's Volunteer Field Officer, works with LOEP's teacher volunteers preparing the Handwashing Stations for distribution to schools in time for School Re-Opening!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Outreach Education Successful - Focus Shifts to Support

Handwashing Hygiene Project includes monthly monitoring of stations for proper maintenance and frequency of use.  This is the first station checked after being in place for one month and was certified by the LOEP volunteer team for clean, sanitized water and continued regular usage!
LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project 
Remarkably, LOEP's simple, cost-efficient project is serving thousands of Liberians with Handwashing Hygiene Stations in more than 200 public locations and many family compounds.  In rural Liberia residents have no access to safe, sanitary water. Village markets, clinics, churches, mosques, businesses, and village squares now have LOEP Handwashing Hygiene stations in place and, most importantly, in regular use.  One Handwashing Hygiene Station placed in a village market serves more than 100 families, another is placed in a rural clinic that serves more than 5,000 patients from surrounding communities.   Other stations are placed in businesses and markets where exact numbers of customers are not available but reach well into the hundreds on a daily and weekly basis.

The LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project has been successful most notably in the following ways:

The numbers of Liberians who have been reached with the message that handwashing hygiene is important to disease prevention has far exceeded all expectations.  The project message was very well-received by Liberians in rural areas and much of that success can be attributed to the messengers –local teachers trusted by Liberians who value educators' work with children, shaping the future of Liberia.

A critical tool for disease prevention – clean, safe water for handwashing – is available to thousands of Liberians who are now also aware of the importance of regular, hygienic handwashing practices.  Having the tools for disease prevention are just as important as having the information and the Handwashing Hygiene Project provided both!

The project has inspired others to join the disease prevention effort against Ebola.  Several smaller organizations in Liberia used the Handwashing Hygiene Project model for programs of their own in other rural areas of Liberia.

Mrs. Rosa Allen, (r) delivers a Handwashing Hygiene Station to a family compound.  Mrs. Allen and her LOEP Volunteer Emergency Response Team of teachers from Lott Carey Mission School is responsible for bringing hundreds of Handwashing Hygiene Stations to rural Liberia - clean, safe water for hand washing and disease prevention.
The LOEP Emergency Response Team is headed by LOEP Volunteer Field Officer, Rosa Allen.  Mrs. Allen is vice-principal at a LOEP partner school.  She served as project manager leading the team in developing the Phased Implementation Plan, logistics such as purchasing and delivery, and provided complete budgets and follow-up reports on each Phase.

LOEP volunteers in Liberia with the financial support of donors are the reason the project was a success.   Here in the U.S., LOEP volunteers stand in awe of our colleagues in Liberia for an amazing job well done under the most difficult of circumstances. Thanks to all, thousands now have clean, safe water for handwashing!!

The LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project continues as an ongoing education project.  When life begins to return to normal in Liberia and schools are re-opened, LOEP will focus on placing stations in schools!  A $20 donation supports a Handwashing Hygiene Station, hygiene and disease prevention awareness and sanitizer in a Liberian school!

LOEP Emergency Response Team volunteers unload Handwashing Hygiene Station materials and demonstrate how to properly measure, mix and use sanitized water for handwashing to prevent disease in rural Liberia
LOEP Volunteer Support Project
Risk of continued exposure to disease for our LOEP volunteers is a serious concern .  In addition, conditions in Liberia are very difficult with severe food shortages and shortages of medical and personal care supplies.  LOEP is shifting focus from community outreach education to helping our partners through the Ebola health crisis.

LOEP shipments provide water sanitizer for Handwashing Hygiene Stations and some basic necessities for day to day living and self-protection (soap, rice, tylenol, latex gloves and masks) which are all in extremely short supply.  Please consider supporting the Volunteer Support Project with donations of materials listed or cash to ship items to our partners who are doing so much to fight Ebola in rural Liberia!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Go to Liberia Orphan Education Project for list of items we need for shipping.  Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook!

Life is Different Here

There is much discussion in the media about how the Ebola patient in Dallas could have contracted the disease.  There seems to be skepticism about the frequency of body fluids transmission in the course of normal daily life.  Life is so different in West Africa and there is no comparison with life in the U.S.

Look closely at Nancy Snyderman.  The NBC doc is  on location in Monrovia now.  Her on-location reports show her standing outside in the heat and humidity of West Africa - the TV makeup has dissolved, her hair is hanging in damp hanks and she is visibly sweating! A very different picture from her composed, impeccably dressed and made up appearance from air conditioned TV studios in the U.S.!

SWEAT is a bodily fluid and it drips off the body constantly in the West African environment of high heat and humidity. Sweat combined with Liberian customs involving touching, Liberian living conditions that allow for NO personal space, NO air conditioning either in homes or transport, as many as six people packed into the back seat of a taxi, open air markets the only option for food shopping with no sanitized water for frequent hand washing - all those factors make conditions favorable for transmitting Ebola.

Here in the comfort of N. American we live and work mostly indoors with air conditioning.  We drive our own personal air conditioned cars, shop in controlled environments and even public transport allows for large margins of personal space so there is virtually no physical contact - living in the U.S. simply does not allow for physical contact with others on a regular, day to day basis.

In addition, we also have an ingrained habit of hand washing and/or sanitizing with gels and such, at frequent intervals throughout the course of a normal day - and, most importantly, the water we use is clean.  All are conditions we take for granted and unthinkingly assume are available to everyone everywhere.  None of these conditions exist for most people in West Africa.  There is no comparison between life in West Africa and life in the U.S.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LOEP speaks about the Handwashing Hygiene Project on Georgia Public Broadcasting

We were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the LOEP Handwashing Hygiene Project this afternoon with Georgia Public Broadcasting. You can listen to the interview online here.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Clean is not the same as Sanitary

The last distribution of Handwashing Hygiene stations included stations placed at two clinics where women were in labor and there was no access to hand washing.   A number of LOEP donors were shocked to see that and want to understand how such a situation could exist.  

It all relates to water quality and accessibility in Africa  -  Liberia in particular.

In Liberia running water is not available in most homes.  There are no water treatment plants or sewage treatment facilities.  Household water for cooking and washing is ground water accessed by pumps and pulled from depths that would not meet health standards in other parts of the world.  Ground water is not drawn from deep wells but is close to the earth’s surface and vulnerable to contaminants.  In Liberia, conventional plumbing is uncommon, latrines are everywhere and open defecation is practiced.  Bottled water is only available to very few who can afford it and everyone else uses what is available.  The World Health Organization estimates that up to 40% of Liberians have no access to safe, clean water protected from outside contamination, particularly fesces.  It is common in Liberia for clinics and hospitals, including those treating Ebola patients, to use water that is accessible - there are no alternatives to contaminated ground water.

The lack of access to safe, clean water is, in and of itself, a health crisis in Africa.  According to WHO statistics, more than 65% of hospital patients in African hospitals are treated for illnesses related to contaminated water.  In this time of Ebola that statistic is chilling considering how unsanitary water is in Liberia.  Washing with ground water can remove dirt or blood, for example, and the skin surface may appear clean.  But water alone does not remove bacteria and viruses and only bleach can remove Ebola virus!  Clean is a woefully insufficient standard when ebola is a threat, especially in a setting with sick patients.  Clean just is not the same as sanitary.  
Health officials are looking closely at Nigeria where the Ebola virus seems to have been successfully contained.  According to Michael Ojo, country representative of global water charity Water Aid, a handwashing campaign was immediately put in place as a direct response to the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.  Ojo believes the handwashing campaign may have played a major role in Nigeria’s (so far) successful containment Ebola.

There is no data directly linking the ebola outbreak to lack of access to clean water, but there is plenty of data that proves hand washing with soap in clean water is the first line of defense in basic disease prevention.