"In West Point, people still don't believe that Ebola is real. They are still doubting it," she explains. "I see people showing the signs and symptoms of Ebola. That's the main reason I decided to join the awareness team to also help." These are the words of 16-year-old Jessica T. S. Neufville. She is among a handful of adolescent girls who bravely taught others in her neighborhood how to protect themselves, their family and their community from Ebola during the height of the 2014 outbreak.

For two years before the outbreak, UNICEF Liberia ran a program targeting 200 adolescent girls in the low-income West Point community in Monrovia. The program focused on awareness-raising activities to combat teen pregnancy and other issues related to sexual and reproductive health. When the Ebola outbreak hit the capital, UNICEF provided the girls with basic training on how to protect themselves from the virus as densely populated West Point was identified as one of the most vulnerable communities.  

On their own, the girls had began going door-to-door in their community to share what they had learned. To support their initiative, UNICEF’s social mobilizer leader provided them with additional training on Ebola prevention and armed them with flip charts and other materials, as well as protective gear and sanitizer to help keep them safe. To reach out to boys in the community, UNICEF also included a smaller cohort of boys aged 19–21 who were part of an earlier campaign to help combat teenage pregnancy.

"I can be afraid, but it can't stop me from going out," explains Jessica Neuville when asked why she continues to perform Ebola outreach in West Point, Liberia despite the risks. 

Published on Oct 20, 2014

Client: UNICEF
Cinematographer: Morgana Wingard
Producer: Sarah Crow (UNICEF)