Global Communities’ George Woryonwon Receives the InterAction 2015 Humanitarian Award

george award interaction
George Woryonwon Receives the InterAction 2015 Humanitarian Award. PHOTO CREDIT: Interaction

Press release originally appearing on Reuters Alertnet

Global Communities’ George Woryonwon Receives the InterAction 2015 Humanitarian Award for His Work Assisting Communities in Liberia in Their Fight Against Ebola

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, Global Communities’ George Woryonwon received the InterAction 2015 Humanitarian Award for his work assisting communities in Liberia to contain and prevent the spread of Ebola. Since August 2014, Woryonwon has been working with Global Communities on a USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance’s program to train and supervise a total of 72 burial and 57 disinfection teams across Liberia. Through his work with local communities to help build trust and understand the threat posed by Ebola, he has ensured rapid, safe, and dignified burials in all 15 counties of Liberia. To date, zero burial team members supported by Woryonwon and Global Communities have contracted the virus and during the height of the crisis in Liberia, teams were able to maintain a 24 hour response rate of 90% and above.

In addition, Woryonwon led the way in working with Liberia’s Traditional Council so that Global Communities could secure land for a Liberian National Burial Ground. Since its inception in December 2014, Global Communities’ trained burial teams have conducted over 1,280 safe and dignified burials at the site at Disco Hill, Monserrato County. The success of the burial ground effectively ended the emergency cremation of the dead in Monrovia, and due to cultural concerns over cremation, helped more people accept assistance from burial teams.

“At the height of the Ebola epidemic, a time when many in the international community were paralyzed by uncertainty and fear,  people like George were on the front lines working with the communities that were most affected by this terrible disease,” said David Weiss, President and CEO of Global Communities. “His dedication to his work and the people of his country are an ideal all of us in the NGO community aspire to, and we at Global Communities could not be more proud that he has received this recognition.”

Prior to working for Global Communities, Woryonwon worked with the Government of Liberia, where he has held various positions throughout his career. Most recently he served as the National Coordinator for Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), where he worked closely with the Global Communities’ USAID-funded IWASH program, helping more than 300 communities attain “Open Defecation Free (ODF)” status, providing them also with significant resistance to the Ebola Virus Diseases. Prior to that, as the National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Coordinator for Liberia from 2008 to 2011, Woryonwon organized WASH activities across the country including planning and reviewing program activities of key stakeholders. He is married to Neresa Troublemaa Rivercess Woryonwon and has three children, Roland, Seedy and Torge, and he helps support six extended family members. He is also a pastor at a church that has a congregation of around 1,000 members.

InterAction's Humanitarian Award recognizes an individual or individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in support of NGOs and the people they serve in the developing world. Our community’s national staff and counterparts often surmount significant obstacles to carry out their work effectively in their own home countries or regions. InterAction seeks to honor these individuals for their bravery and commitment to the most vulnerable populations in their own communities.

The award recognizes individuals whose work reflects important leadership qualities (such as courage, initiative, creativity, grace under pressure, integrity, personal sacrifice) and who have made significant contributions in the developing world to any of the following areas: disaster relief, human development, refugee assistance, civil society, equitable economic development, health, environment, education, population, or public policy.

Global Communities is an international non-profit organization founded in 1952 that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable. Global Communities began working in Lebanon in 1999, and believes that the people who understand their needs best are the people of the community itself. Learn more at www.globalcommunities.org.

Interaction 2015 Humanitarian Award Winners