U.S. Embassy Program Alumni and Volunteers: Keeping Gabon Strong

U.S. government program alumni and partners are working to help Gabon through the COVID pandemic.  We are proud of the volunteerism, hard work, and caring attitude they show for their communities.  A few examples:  To help with caring for COVID patients, the president of AWEP Gabon, Rachel Ebaneth, and her team provided medical professionals at the Angondje military hospital with 100 meals from May 4 to May 10 so health practitioners could concentrate on medical care.  Members of the AWEP group funded the activity and each member donated either money or food items.  Many also participated in the cooking and distribution of the meals to the 87 health practitioners in that hospital.

International Visitor Leadership Program alumnae Pepecy Ogouliguende, head of the NGO Malachie, led a two-week tour of Gabon with women from other NGOs to educate rural populations, especially women, about the dangers of the Coronavirus and how to take preventative measures to counter the virus spread. The women-led NGOs also donated soap to aid in hand washing.

With a goal of keeping vendors, customers, and the food supply safe, Gáel Mouteli a 2019 YALI Dakar alumnus and 2020/1 Mandela Washington Fellow selected candidate, organized a multi-week campaign targeting vendors in Libreville’s six local markets.  The team explained COVID symptoms and effective measures of prevention.  The U.S. Embassy in Libreville contributed to this effort with a donation of Aganor certified facemasks made by AWEP member Brigitte Nsie Nami.

To celebrate jazz month – and give people something to do besides think about COVID – DJ ChaCha gave two presentations in April on the John Lewis American Corner (JLAC) Facebook page, highlighting American jazz musicians and garnering views both during the live show and with the posted video.  Native Gabonese jazz pianist and composer Frederic Gassita did a Facebook Live performance and talk about the history of jazz and expressing sorrow for the passing of jazz artists in the last year.  Port Gentil-born, and now Paris-based, gospel and jazz singer Melinda O recorded a two-minute bilingual video for Gabon about the importance of music. Growing professionally during the pandemic can happen. Gina Nzengue, of Urban FM, promotes women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship with the Nouveaux Horizons biweekly video book club on her Facebook page.  Her live and archived discussions have reached thousands of Gabonese. Speaking of entreprenuership, Frank Noel Makosso – aka Slam Master No – spoke on the theme of Entrepreneurship & Public Speaking. The Facebook Live session focused on overcoming fear in a crisis (Like the COVID pandemic) to find ways to stay connected to yourself and your audience, and continue to create and earn income.  The Facebook presentations can be found on the JLAC’s and Gina’s pages. These are just a few examples of great work the Embassy’s alumni and partners are doing to keep their communties safe, informed, and entertained during the pandemic.

As Gabon experiments with starting down the path of “normal” we thank our alumni and parnters who have helped Gabon stay strong during this time – and who will continue to make Gabon great.  Of course, the pandemic continues. To remind yourself of measures you need to take to stay healthy, listen to The Henhouse Prowlers, a Chicago-based bluegrass band the Embassy scheduled to perform in Gabon before the pandemic forced us to postpone.  Despite the distance, they gave a special performance from home, especially made for Gabon.  Check out the Embassy’s Facebook page to hear it: https://www.facebook.com/USEmbassyLibreville