Ebola anthropology: from real-time social science to building future local capacity

Professor Melissa Leach is Director of the Institute for Development Studies, and with her research team won the 2016 Celebrating Impact Prize for Outstanding International Impact.

This is the third in a series of blogs delving further into the research behind the impact awards. Applications for the 2017 Celebrating Impact Prize opened this week.

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I was truly delighted when our team won the ESRC’s Outstanding International Impact award in 2016 for our work during the 2014-15 Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Our Ebola Response Anthropology Platform (ERAP) and related Ebola: Lessons for Development initiative showed how and why long-term social science understandings, mobilised rapidly in real-time, could transform an epidemic response. Our work focused on issues like the social significance of burials, the value of community knowledge, practices and institutions, and contextualising the violence being experienced by health workers. Continue reading