Ebola in Zimbabwe: people take action through social media

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
A Dollar for Ebola
A Dollar for Ebola
Image Credit: A Dollar For Ebola Facebook Page

If there’s one thing that everyone will agree with, the thought of Ebola in Zimbabwe isn’t just disturbing, it’s terrifying. It’s hard to forget how we struggled with Cholera in 2008, and easy to imagine the horrors that can will accompany any sign of this virus on our doorstep.

Although the state has “beefed up its efforts” (we are still short by $3.5 million in our preparations for any outbreak) its no surprise that most people don’t feel entirely safe by whatever assurances are being made that the situation is under control. So I wasn’t surprised when I came across something more than just an awareness campaign on social media.

 Fellow Zimbos, we cannot and should not wait until this vicious virus makes its way into our land. Prevention is better than treatment. Let’s Act NOW!

Those are the words that accompany a call to action on a Facebook page started as a community initiative against Ebola in ZImbabwe. Called “A Dollar for Ebola,” this effort launched by one Sharon Bwanya is meant to be a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds that will be directed towards the procurement of protective gear for health workers, as well as screening and testing equipment.

According to details from the page the initiative has partnered with Telecel’s telecash to provide a payment platform for the $1 pledges with short codes to be made available for the whole process soon. For purposes of transparency the funds will be audited by Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants.

Although this campaign is still in its infancy, it does show an impressive display of social media activism, with a cause that most Zimbabweans will identify with, unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge.

A lot of the feedback on the A Dollar for Ebola page shows support even from Zimbabweans in the diaspora, which will hopefully result in the involvement of the Zimbo social media community in something more than just video parodies.

Just recently there was a lot of concern raised by a suspected case of Ebola in Zimbabwe that was isolated at one of the hospitals.The innumerable warnings that were shared on social media and WhatsApp showed how everyone is largely concerned about the virus and how social media is a quick way to spread information and take action.

While this initiative might not be about awareness like Econet’s involvement so far, or the WhatsApp centred information drive that the BBC launched in West Africa, It does seem like smart way to capitalise on the popularity of Facebook in Zimbabwe for a noble cause.



  1. kilotango

    for the sake of clarity, can you guys in the media please be more careful on the way you title these Ebola issues in Zimbabwe!

    1. Anonymous

      yah the title is a bit misleading coz it cn cause one to think that there is an ebola outbreak in zimbabwe

  2. Anonymous

    I have to agree with the first commenter. Lets be responsible in naming our articles as anything misleading can result in panic.

    Point in case: I will not say which country (in SADC), but that country’s minister of health almost had the borders to Zim closed based on media reports he had seen saying there was Ebola in Zimbabwe. Obviously this would have been catastrophic for people doing business between the two countries if the border had been closed because of a story in the media which might not necessarily be true.

    Interestingly enough, searching for “Ebola in Zimbabwe” your article will be shown in the search results and this is the current full title of the article:
    “Ebola in Zimbabwe: people take action through social media”

    This gives the impression Ebola is in Zimbabwe and people are taking action through social media to try and stop the spread. Which is not what your article is about.

    Just my 2 cents

  3. Ini

    Nigel can you please acknowledge the above feedback its very important.

  4. timon

    Maybe the title is meant to attract attention bt trust me…its very misleading.the first reaction for me was shock,then when i read i realised its a false alarm.i appreciate the work you are doing but please….

  5. jaga

    Your headline is misleading and can you amend it, this is bad for our country

  6. Perceptor

    Turns out if you search for the term ‘ebola Zimbabwe’ this article is the second result in google’s news section, just after Newsday’s warning ‘Zimbabwe should take Ebola seriously’. At a glance, I can see how some might conclude that ebola has indeed made landfall in Zim.
    Anywho, I’m loving these guys preemptive initiative against this disease. Lets build on this and use the time we have to prepare and educate one another so we stay ahead of it not by luck, but by design. I watched a Vice documentary the other day that for me brought into focus just how much we don’t want Ebola here while we are under prepared. Check it out and share http://youtu.be/ANUI4uT3xJI

  7. kin kin

    oh nigel!

  8. simbo

    tel some people not to post khaki on da facebook it cause misunderstanding

  9. inini

    iwo ma wordpress awa..makuita kuti titye imi

  10. Tafadzwa Mukondo

    we have to to restric against tose who enter a country who are illegal immigrants.Us as philosophers but students we discovered that ebola is a satanic disease we have to pray God to protect us from it