UNDP’s support to the joint border COVID-19 intervention aims to enhance the skills and capabilities of border and local community authorities to better address COVID-19 and its challenges. The intervention builds on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the MRU four UNDP Country Offices in November 2019 for improved collaboration among member states and UNDP within the sub-region and to respond to situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This partnership is central both to the MRU and to the Government of Sierra Leone particularly across the border communities and will provide a new-face in responding to COVID-19 and to other security issues that pose threat to the MRU states, considering Sierra Leone’s close ties with Guinea and Liberia” says UNDP Rule of Law Expert and Programme Manager, Walter Neba.
The importance of the Union to the three countries - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea was evident during and after the Ebola outbreak where authorities and communities across the borders joined hands to respond to combating Ebola and its after-effects. The joint intervetnions are also fullfilling UNDP's commitment to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by building strong Governance institutions even at the local level and equally strong partnerships for development.
This maiden COVID-19 border intervention will empower community-based security structures for better case surveillance and contact tracing. These borders are very remote and hard-to-reach making technological innovations widely used elsewhere in the world for managing COVID-19 only a thought yet they are 'hot-spots' for the spread of the virus. With little or no information reaching them, the communities are highly at-risk. That is why UNDP is supporting training of border security for COVID-19, helping financially towards physical deployments and face-to-face community engagement activities in these areas.