AGI advisor Victoria Parkinson was awarded an OBE on Friday. Presented by the Duke of Cambridge, this award is in recognition of her work tackling the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.
Victoria Parkinson said:
“I am honoured to receive the OBE, as I am honoured to have worked with so many heroes during that dark time in Sierra Leone's history. When I think back to the fear and panic we felt in the early days of the outbreak, it’s an incredible relief to see it finally come to an end and to see Sierra Leone looking forward to the future again.”
Victoria began work in Sierra Leone in 2013 as an AGI private sector advisor to the government, where she expected to work on improving the business environment. When Ebola began to spread throughout Sierra Leone in the summer of 2014, she was asked by her government counterparts if she could help coordinate a response which was growing rapidly out of control.
She began her 18 month response career with the Western Area team who were managing the response for the 1.6 million people in Freetown. She helped establish a Command Centre for the area around the capital and worked alongside the Sierra Leonen leadership, British military and International Partners to build the systems for safe, dignified, burials and ambulance transfer to treatment – both essential for breaking the chain of transmission of Ebola.
By the summer of 2015, with the outbreak coming to an end in Freetown, Victoria was working at the National Ebola Response Centre where she acted as the Policy Advisor to the Directors supporting efforts to finish the ‘final mile’ of the response as case numbers moved towards zero.
AGI Chief Executive Nick Thompson said:
“I’m absolutely delighted to see Victoria honoured in this way, as well as other AGI team members who have received awards. I’m incredibly proud of them. I know that Vic would be the first to say too that the true heroes of the Ebola crisis are the many Sierra Leonean, Liberian and Guinean colleagues who put themselves on the front line in the battle against the disease. Many lost their lives, and we should remember them all.”
Victoria continues to support the Government of Sierra Leone as a Disaster Management Advisor. She is part of the International Security Advisory Team (ISAT) to the Government of Sierra Leone, which supports them to maintain a ‘resilient zero’ on Ebola and to improve the capacity for emergency responses in the future.
Our teams in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea continue to work alongside all three governments on their priorities for post-Ebola recovery – especially returning to the strong economic growth that the countries were seeing before the outbreak.