Hawa is going back to school this week. Her uniform is clean and her hair neatly braided. The excitement of the new term is felt far and wide as laughter, giggles and singing fills the school campus, when classes break for recess. "I'm so happy to be back in school and to see my friends," she says with a big grin.
One year on from the end of Ebola, life in hot, dusty Dolo's Town is still fragile and hard. The legacy of this vicious disease will be felt for years to come. The pain and grief is still tangible, but there is a cautious op-timism that, with the right investment and support, things are starting to look up.
For now, the epidemic is officially over and families and communities are beginning to rebuild their lives, but the work of organisations such as Unicef remains as important as ever. Even before the Ebola outbreak, Liberia had one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, and combatting this continues to be one of our biggest challenges in the country.
Oxfam is in Liberia and Sierra Leone for the long haul. We're continuing to work with communities to build understanding of Ebola treatment and how to stay healthy, providing financial support to help families get back on their feet, and helping them guard against infectious diseases by equipping schools and clinics with clean water and sanitation.
Kate Gross, my friend and our founding CEO in AGI, died on Christmas day after a two year battle with cancer. Our last conversation was some weeks before, sitting in the November sun in Cambridge. She knew the chemo was coming to an end and we both knew what came next. But that wasn't what we talked about.
Mrs Mugabe's is the quintessential example of how female leadership does not guarantee a more transparent government. If women leaders are to have positive effect on the continent, it is necessary to break away from the deeply ingrained authoritarianism and culture of corruption that characterizes many governments in the region.
The affected West African States won't recover quickly after this epidemic ends, even if that end is currently incalculable. This region will need assistance from the international community more than ever. Liberia's economy is in ruins, the already fragile health system has collapsed, and social networks have been divided by both death and stigma. Ebola has also caused psychological trauma among the living. This will take time - and there will be a lot to do.
Ebola is a highly-infectious, extremely painful disease with a high death rate. But you probably won't get it. If you look at the man or woman sat nex...