Construction charity launches appeal to tackle Ebola threat to Sierra Leone work

Construction charity Construction and Development Partnership (CODEP) has launched an appeal to support its work in Waterloo, Sierra Leone in preventing the spread of Ebola virus across the city.

CODEP appeal Sierra Leone

For over ten years CODEP, a charity formed by engineering consultant Whitbyird, has been working with the community in Waterloo, a city of 40,000 people to build a library, train teachers and providing books to the city’s schools. 

However, this vital development work has been threatened by an outbreak of the Ebola virus which so far has claimed 6 lives in the city and forced the city to be placed in quarantine with movement in and out restricted.

“CODEP is a construction based charity which has had a big impact in Waterloo to date, however all that we have achieved is now at risk,” explained charity president and founder Mark Whitby. 

"We have no idea as to how long this may go on. If we can help prevent the spread it could be contained relatively quickly,” he added. “If we don’t it’s too horrible to imagine" Mark Whitby, president of CODEP

“Our team in Waterloo has now been asked to take a lead in training people in how they can protect themselves and in purchasing and distributing protective materials,” he added. “They urgently need funds for basic medical equipment - gowns, gloves, chlorine and buckets.- and to build a resilience to the evolving situation.”

The spread of Ebola can be limited provided the community takes particular precautions rapidly while in the quarantine condition, allowing CODEP’s vital community development work to continue.

CODEP said the team in Waterloo had taken advice from the local health authorities about what they can do and had been asked to help with supply and distribution preventative materials and protective materials. It said a pair of gloves, for example, costs £5, personal protective equipment £23, a floor brush £5, large tap buckets cost £12.50, chlorine is £10.00 a gallon.” 

Whitby stressed the urgency of the appeal. 

“Our problems are two-fold. Firstly it is difficult to say how bad the situation is, as quarantined districts are sealed off and the only supplies of food to the people are food parcel that can only be distributed by fully protected ‘health workers” explained Whitby.

“But second, we have no idea as to how long this may go on. If we can help prevent the spread it could be contained relatively quickly,” he added. “If we don’t it’s too horrible to imagine. With hospitals closed to everything other than Ebola cases there is also a breakdown in the normal help people would have been with malaria, maternity and other medical care.”

CODEP pointed out that by being on the ground in Waterloo it was ideally placed to lead the fight against the spread of the virus and with funding could make a substantial difference.

It warned that unless the virus in Waterloo is controlled the charity’s work in Sierra Leone will be threatened. This work includes: 

  • the construction of learning and literacy resources centres
  • the establishment of school libraries and classrooms stocked with books and furniture
  • functional literacy programmes (focus: maternal and child health, business and entrepreneurship);
  • teacher training programmes; (focus: improving the quality of education by enhancing literacy);
  • vocational training programmes; (focus: 1 year apprenticeship programmes in construction and admin (target +16); and
  • un-schooled children and young adult literacy programmes; (focus: reading for pleasure and sexual health and well being)

To donate to the CODEP appeal and to find out more about the situation visit the CODEP website:

If you would like to contact Antony Oliver about this, or any other story, please email