HPC Recipe Five, 2016

 Recipe name:The impact of advocacy on mainstreaming older persons in Ebola response in Sierra Leone.

Origin of the recipe

Sierra Leone remains among the world’s poorest countries, ranking 181st out of 187 countries (Human Development Index, 2014) with more than 60% of the population living below the poverty line. Decades of economic decline, 11 years of armed conflict and two years of Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015 have had drastic consequences on the lives of Sierra Leoneans, particularly older people.

The Ebola outbreak infected more than 12,000 Sierra Leoneans, of whom nearly 3,955 have died. Although the Ebola virus disease outbreak was declared to have ended in Sierra Leone on 7 November 2015, two more cases of Ebola were confirmed in January 2016. This has again shifted the focus of stakeholders from recovery efforts to prevent the incidence of EVD, prompting the fear of resurgence of the deadly virus.

Overall, the epidemic’s unprecedented escalation has been linked to the country’s lack of experience with the virus, combined with a host of factors including culture, history, geography, weak health systems, over centralised governance with inadequate accountability systems, fear, mistrust of state institutions, poor infrastructure and a much delayed international response. The impact in terms of loss of human life and suffering is severe, as is the socio economic impact.

A lack of awareness and understanding about the vulnerabilities of older men and women in the country before the Ebola epidemic only escalated in the crisis. This presentation highlights the importance of mainstreaming the needs of older men and women, and the impact of advocacy efforts on policies and program response in Sierra Leone.


Glynnis Cummings-John


  • One informed and articulate presenter: Glynnis Cummings-John, Technical Inclusion Advisor, HelpAge International. (View her profile HERE)
  • 25 eager representatives comprised of policy makers (Government officials and Donor agencies), United Nations Agencies in Kenya, Humanitarian Practitioners (INGOs), Academia (Universities and Scholars) and Civil society (Disable Peoples Organizations and Older Persons Organisations)
  • One roving microphone
  • Lots of water


Place all the ingredients into the Ndovu room at the Boma Inn Hotel, make sure you have enough photographers and cook evenly for 20 minutes


As part of the discussions there was a dialogue on some of the main lessons learnt. This included:

  • There is need to train other INGOs on being age sensitive during program design.
  • Being age sensitive is a continuous process and should be encouraged during all stages of program design and implementation.
  • There is need for more synergy among implementing organisations to make sure all efforts are well received and to avoid replicating the same interventions.