Bridging the Gap is designed to bring together national and international faith and non-faith based actors in South Sudan, to increase understanding, trust, coordination and collaboration in humanitarian response and recovery. Faith actors are a critical component of first and lasting response in humanitarian situations. They typically have a breadth and depth of reach, authority and a continuity of presence far beyond many international and even national organisations. They are already often active as first responders, but can struggle to be recognised in humanitarian response.
During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, communities were afraid, felt uninformed and mistrusted the health workers who were trying to explain the disease and importance of safe burial. The crisis worsened due to lack of engagement, and families often hid or illegally buried their loved ones. However, the engagement of faith leaders – both imams and pastors – provided a transformational role in the Ebola response.