SBAIC News

USAID/LIBERIA GOVERNANCE AND ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT SUPPORT PROJECT (USAID-GEMS) CONTRIBUTIONS TO RESPONDING TO THE EBOLA EPIDEMIC

By: David Colvin, IBI International

The five-year United States Agency for International Development Governance and Economic Management Support (USAID-GEMS) project provides technical assistance to improve performance through strengthening public sector capacity in Liberia. Awarded to IBI International (IBI), a Virginia based small woman-owned business, on June 29, 2011, USAID-GEMS is strengthening human and institutional capacity in the public sector within targeted ministries, agencies, and commissions by utilizing in-depth assessments and performance improvement methodologies.

The IBI team for USAID-GEMS responded to the Ebola epidemic with a determination to continue progress on long-term goals while reinforcing the capacity of the Government of Liberia to respond to the immediate emergency.

 

Seaiwon-Aaron Dickson, IBI’s Asset Management, Data Collection and Training Specialist at a warehouse building the GOL capacity for supply chain management of donated items.

On Information Communications Technology (ICT)

IBI is providing the US government’s most senior ICT expert in Liberia, supporting the Mission to understand and harmonize ICT actors in the Ebola response. The IBI team for USAID-GEMS has contributed the following:  

  • Convened discussions with Lonestar MTN (mobile network operator) and the Ministry of Finance to utilize mobile money to disburse Ebola hazard pay and other allowances to health and social workers.
  • Provided the lead authors for parts of an assessment by USAID’s Global Development Lab of ICT software and infrastructure in Liberia, including the analysis and review of the current state of ICT and requirements to facilitate recommendations for the provision of effective technology support to the Ebola response.
  • Advanced the partnership with UNICEF to launch the uReport and mHero systems, being key tools available to the Ebola Response.
  • Assisted in the development of protocols to allow the safe utilization of call data records.
  • Provided expert on the ground advice, arranged and hosted meetings for the visit of Mr Stephen VanRoekel, USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer.

On Assets Management

Liberia’s General Services Agency (GSA) was designated as the Logistics Distribution Hub for the Government of Liberia’s Ebola response. GSA recognized the specialized knowledge of IBI’s Assets Management team and decided to involve them in the national ‘Logistics Cluster’ coordinated by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

The IBI USAID-GEMS Assets Management team collaborated with the MOHSW and GSA to:

  • Establish an Asset Data Collection Management System to monitor the influx of donated equipment and government seconded equipment for the Ebola response;
  • Establish the Ebola Logistics Vehicle sub Committee, which includes GSA, USAID-GEMS and UNOPS Task Force, and assisted with developing a plan for monitoring, tracking and maintaining vehicles used for the Ebola response;  
  • Consolidate all information on Ebola response vehicles and develop a comprehensive Ebola Fleet Registry, which was used as a basis to cost the fleet maintenance; and
  • Develop a maintenance plan for power generators serving in the Ebola response.

IBI’s Assets Management Advisor and Fleet Specialist will work within the GSA full time for the next several months to support the management and maintenance of Ebola response vehicles while training and building capacity of staff for ongoing sustainability.

On Procurement Management

  • IBI’s USAID-GEMS Procurement Advisor assisted the MOHSW to finalize and sign agreements with the WHO, UNICEF, WFP and UNOPS for the procurement of medicine, laboratory equipment, food, sanitation facilities and ambulances. The IBI USAID-GEMS team also assisted the MOHSW to process the procurement of items under funding provided by the World Bank’s Ebola Response facility. The MOHSW made a standing request for USAID-GEMS assistance, should large scale procurements be required, as their Procurement Director was on leave.

The USAID-GEMS project’s support to the GOL and other partners in the face of this crisis is a good example of the flexibility, decisiveness, commitment and innovation that a small business partner can bring to partnering with USAID.