Local faith-based organisations (FBOs) and faith leaders played important roles in the Ebola response in DRC. Unfortunately, however, the international and national response was slow to recognise their contribution. Funding and decision-making on the response centred on UN and host government leadership and scaling up the medical response, without adequate attention to community engagement. All this played out in a context of violent conflict between the central government, local political actors and armed groups in affected areas, which spread and shaped rumours about the virus and the response. As a consequence, opportunities to address the fears people had about Ebola and the response to it were missed. Backlash against the Ebola response grew and, tragically, lives were lost – both frontline aid workers and community members who did not receive the information and support they needed from sources they trusted. As such, the Ebola response in DRC illustrates wider challenges in efforts to localise humanitarian action and meaningfully engage communities in a crisis response.

Read the resource on Responding to Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo