ActionAid and ActionAid Uganda: How to scenario-plan for attacks and the narrowing of civic space

30th April 2020 by Eva Gondorová

ActionAid, a global justice federation, developed scenario-planning and rapid response mechanisms to address growing hostilities in some countries, for example to react to raids on its office and freezing of its accounts in Uganda.

Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.

Actions taken by the organisation

What was the trigger? Growing hostilities in multiple countries noted by ActionAid Federation (2013).
What was the internal response?Federation put together Working Groups on closing space and institutional resilience, in order to develop solutions.
What measures were taken at the national level?Country offices received training and support to build resilience.

Response carried out in practice

What was the trigger? Raid on ActionAid Uganda Office and bank accounts frozen due to their position on legal reforms (2017).
What was the response?Scenario-planning and contingencies put in place; responses were deployed on political, legal, financial and communications fronts.
What were the outcomes?Their bank accounts were unfrozen; ActionAid Uganda then integrated a civic space focus into their programmatic work.

Learnings collected by the organisation

OutcomesActionAid Uganda’s experience fed back to the Federation via a Learning Paper, and there are now resources and tools based on this.
ChallengesResources; staff and sector insecurity; long-term impact of propaganda.
LessonsAlways keep your house in order; ensure all staff understand all processes for consistency of message; a rapid legal response is necessary; good media relations are essential; be relevant to civil society and your constituencies; and be transparent.

Get the case study

Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an In-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

 

Eva Gondorová

Project Manager

International Civil Society Centre

Eva coordinates the project Solidarity Action Network (SANE) which aims at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors.

Understanding megatrends’ impact on civil society’s work – Oxfam GB

30th April 2020 by Thomas Howie

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Listen on itunes

Links

Mini Series: Exploring the Interconnectedness of Global Trends Mini-series – Episode 2

Irene Guijt and Filippo Artuso, Research and Publishing Team Oxfam GB, share insights and discuss their findings of a yearlong mapping of global megatrends

Producer: Julia Pazos

Global Megatrends: Mapping the forces that affect us all: oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstrea…d=yOxfam From Poverty to Power blog: Will the real megatrend please stand up? Insights from a scan of scans: oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/will-the-rea…-a-scan-of-scans/
Scanning the Horizon – icscentre.org/our-work/scanning-the-horizon/

,

Thomas Howie

Communications Manager

International Civil Society Centre

Thomas joined the Centre in June 2017 as the Communications Coordinator. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Centre’s global communication strategy, as well as the Disrupt & Innovate platform – a place for civil society professionals and activists to discuss current innovations and future trends in the civil society sector. Prior to the Centre, Thomas worked for 5 years in the European Parliament firstly as the Digital and Social Media Coordinator for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and then, after the 2014 European elections, for Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen as Head of Communications, where he worked on issues such as the EU-US trade deal, issues around Brexit and as a specialist on the Petitions Committee. Thomas graduated from Bristol University with BSci in Geographical Sciences and holds an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, where he completed research into the role of civil society in the post war peace settlement in northern Uganda.

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #5

30th April 2020 by Thomas Howie

This page is part of a series of COVID-19 resource pages that we are creating to help civil society actors.

Click here to view all available pages.

Click here for our latest events news.

On this page, you will find links to readings, podcasts and videos related to the latest COVID-19 news and analysis. If you have a recommendation or a suggestion, let us know. Many thanks to our volunteer researcher Ineke Stemmet.

The sections are:

Staying up-to-date: Links to sites that will keep you abreast of important developments related to our sector and the latest news.

Strategic: We look at the impact and responses to COVID-19 in a general and intersectional way (i.e. impacts on human rights, climate change, etc).

Policy: Civil society’s policies that respond to challenges posed by COVID-19.

Operational: A list of what your organisation can do now to navigate these unprecedented times.

    1. Staying up-to-Date

  • The impact of COVID-19 on global poverty: Why Sub-Saharan Africa might be the region hardest hit (World Bank)
    COVID-19 is taking its toll on the world, causing deaths, illnesses and economic despair. But how is the deadly virus impacting global poverty? Here we’ll argue that it is pushing about 40-60 million people into extreme poverty, with our best estimate being 49 million.
  • COVID-19 response hub (Witness)
    Civic media depicting the grassroots realities of COVID-19 is vital. This resource hub supports vulnerable communities worldwide using video and technology to expose the unseen impacts of the pandemic, as well as counter lies, mobilise action, and preserve vital evidence that will help advocate for justice in future. It supports a broad-based community, including frontline healthcare workers, community leaders and social justice activists.
  • Creative Public-Private Collaborations in Taiwan and South Korea Bolster the Fight Against Coronavirus (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
    Cooperation between the public and private sectors in Taiwan and South Korea are enabling prompt response to the challenge of distributing important health products during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Global Humanitarian Response Plan COVID-19 (UN OCHA)
    This COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan aims to fight the virus in the world’s poorest countries, and address the needs of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children, older people, and those with disabilities or chronic illness. Coordinated by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it brings together appeals from the WHO and other UN humanitarian agencies.
  • In the Northern Triangle, rising food insecurity tests NGO adaptability (Devex)
    A heightened risk of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras has mobilised NGOs in the region — even those that don’t typically engage in humanitarian response — to ensure that people in both rural and urban areas will have access to food.
  • Multidimensional Poverty and COVID-19 Risk Factors: A Rapid Overview of Interlinked Deprivations across 5.7 Billion People (Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative)
    How can poverty data help with the crisis? This briefing uses the 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to identify where people are lacking in up to 3 key poverty indicators that provide timely and relevant information for the COVID-19 response.
  • Remote technologies find a role in COVID-19 response (Devex)
    On technologies (drones, video conferencing, mobile apps, etc.) in use to deliver services remotely in various countries to overcome the confinement.
  • Report: The Impact of COVID-19 Across Africa (Geopoll)
    This study examines the perceptions and impact of COVID-19, with data collected from more than 4,500 Africans across 12 nations. Results show high levels of fear surrounding the virus its effects on economic stability and food security: 72 % are very concerned about the virus, and 80 % worried about having enough to eat in the past week.
  • Social movements in and beyond the COVID-19 crisis (Oxfam From Poverty to Power)
    Summary of readings by/on social movements and how they are dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic, amplifying the voices of activists and people organising communities through the crisis.
  • The AfCFTA gets locked down for the year (Institute for Security Studies)
    The African Continental Free Trade Agreement was supposed to be implemented on 1 July 2020 which would have had positive impacts on Africa’s economic growth and cooperation. This date has been postponed, but the article argues that this could be used as an opportunity for Africa to become independent by using its regional value chains.
  • Voices from the Field: How NGOs Are Responding to COVID-19 (TechSoup NGO Source)
    This blog highlights some organisations taking extraordinary measures to act within the constraints of the pandemic and use this opportunity to make lasting change.
  • Voices from the Ground: Stories of Community Resilience & Entrepreneurship in the Pandemic (Oxfam From Poverty to Power)
    Stories of how local communities are coping with and responding to the global crisis on four key issues: production of face masks, awareness-raising, protection of the most vulnerable, and food systems.
  • Podcast: Women Leaders are Flattening the Curve (Foreign Policy )
    This podcast explores how the response to COVID-19 of countries such as New Zealand and others have been better than others. The countries who have responded better in relative terms all have one thing in common: female leaders.

    2. Strategic

    Climate Change and Biodiversity

    • The Effect of Coronavirus on Pollution in the UK (The Eco Experts)
      The analysis looks at how much COVID-19 social distancing measures for 12 weeks (from Boris Johnson’s 19th March announcement) will reduce emissions in 5 main areas: public transport, road vehicles, air travel, energy usage, London pollution.

    Civic Space and Human Rights

    Data and Digital

    • Artificial Intelligence against COVID-19: An Early Review (IZA Institute of Labor Economics)
      This article provides an early, and necessarily selective review, discussing the contribution of AI to the fight against COVID-19, as well as the current constraints on these contributions.
    • As content moderators go home, the content could go down (Witness)
      The sudden shift to broaden algorithmic content moderation during COVID-19 has significant potential human rights implications: from hate speech staying on platforms in vulnerable societies, to the removal of critical war crimes evidence at scale from YouTube.
    • COVID-19: arming Africa with debt, aid and open digital delivery partnership (The Africa Report)
      Africa has led the world in leapfrogging through mobile and Fintech. As a result, we can now spread accurate health messages, collect data on symptoms from citizens, trace outbreaks, track financial flows through open budgets and contracts, map geospatial data with ground-truthed data collected by local ‘factivists’ and all this information can be analysed by collaborations of data scientists and AI to help predict, prevent and invest.

    Food security

    Futures

    • How Will Covid-19 Affect the Role of NGOs? (Dianova)
      Lidiya Grigoreva, from the Office of the UN Director-General in Geneva, reflects on how the future of NGOs could look like after the pandemic.
    • A better society can emerge from the lockdowns (Financial Times)
      Amartya Sen on how history shows some crises lead to improved equality and access to food and healthcare.
    • After the Immediate Coronavirus Crisis: 3 Scenarios for Global Development (Global Policy)
      Three scenarios for how the world might look after the immediate COVID-19 crisis has passed: (i) an ugly scenario of a global meltdown, (ii) a bad scenario of a return to the pre-COVID-19 state of climate breakdown and considerable inequality, and (iii) a good scenario of a transition towards global sustainable development (a considerable challenge).
    • Click Here: New Normals During and After COVID-19 (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
      Links from SSIR’s editors to interesting news, essays, tweets, research, videos, podcasts, and more.
    • Coronavirus is accelerating eight challenging megatrends (Sydney Morning Herald/The Telegraph)
      The forces that will shape all our futures – the global tensions, the economic policies, the political ideas, the new technologies – are being sped up. We are about to experience the next 20 years in 12 months, and we need to get ready for it.
    • COVID-19 as a Critical Juncture and the Implications for Advocacy (Global Policy)
      Duncan Green’s essay on the possible longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on political, economic and social systems, the potential impact on the aid sector, and the implications for progressive advocacy, whether by CSOs or others, in defending past gains, building on new opportunities or heading off new threats.
    • Not back to normal (Elephant in the Lab)
      The bureaucrats lost control. When leaders take away uncertainty, many people feel comforted. More pessimistic and sceptic people may develop dystopian ideas, and conspiracy theories find a fertile ground to flourish. Optimistic and naïve people dream of the COVID-19 crisis supporting a revolution towards a better and more sustainable world. But uncertainty is a fundamental characteristic of complex systems, and a crisis confronts us with many alternative scenarios for the future. Plan for the unplannable.
    • Podcast: At a Distance (The Slowdown)
      A new documentary podcast series on the bigger picture and the interconnectedness of things, calling leading minds to get a whole-earth long-view perspective. Includes: the power of long-term thinking, finding a ‘whole society’ consensus, COVID-19’s impact and the climate crisis, and many more fascinating topics.
    • This is the best time to plan for urban Africa’s next health emergency (Quartz Africa)
      COVID-19 should trigger an extraordinary convening of coordinated emergency foresight teams across sectors and geographical boundaries to develop and effect strategies and action plans for a long-term change to reduce vulnerability to, and the risk of future emergencies.

    Gender Equality

    Global China

    • China, the coronavirus, and the liberal international order (Open Global Rights)
      China’s apparent success in tackling COVID-19 will bolster its authoritarian political system—and its restrictive approach to human rights.
    • Coronavirus: Will China come out on top? (BBC World Service) Podcast
      This podcasts brings together different experts and explores and debates China’s global future with regards to economics and security. China was hit first and will probably emerge out of the crisis first, however it still faces various economic, demographic and global challenges.

    Leave No One Behind – Inclusion

    • COVID-19 and Conflict: Seven Trends to Watch (Africa Portal)
      The global outbreak has the potential to wreak havoc in fragile states, trigger widespread unrest and severely test international crisis management systems. Its implications are especially serious for those caught in the midst of conflict if the disease disrupts humanitarian aid flows, limits peace operations and postpones diplomacy efforts at diplomacy.
    • Inclusive, empathetic communication will be a game changer in the Covid-19 emergency (Masimanyane Women’s Rights International)
      A South African perspective which argues that the language used around the COVID-19 pandemic can have an exclusionary effect on those living in poverty, migrants and the most vulnerable in the community.
    • Redefining vulnerability in the Era of COVID-19 (Lancet)
      Article focusses on vulnerable people who carry more of a risk regarding COVID-19. It argues that people who are not necessarily deemed vulnerable at the outset of the pandemic could become so as a result of policy responses.

      Multilateralism and international cooperation

      Narratives

      • The coming battle for the COVID-19 narrative (Vox)
        COVID-19 (along with climate change) will alter how we think about the economy and public policy, but also the ways in which people talk about their livelihoods and futures. It will likely prompt a leftward shift on the government-versus-markets axis. But more important, it may draw on social values going beyond compliance and material gain to include ethical motivations of solidarity and duty that underpin community.

      Pandemic Specific Consequences and Responses (economic, health & social impacts)

      Populism and Authoritarianism

            3. Policy

        • Policy brief: Environmental health and strengthening resilience to pandemics (OECD)
          COVID-19 highlights the need for a comprehensive and integrated approach to human health. Enhancing environmental health through better air quality, water and sanitation, waste management, along with efforts to safeguard biodiversity, will reduce the vulnerability of communities to pandemics and thus improve overall societal well-being and resilience.
        • Statement on the COVID-19 response from civil society members of OGP Steering Committee (Open Government Partnership)
          The civil society members of OGP’s Steering Committee has released this statement on COVID-19 and its risks to open government. Focused on the need to sustain democratic values, the statement is a call to action to governments, donors and international organisations.
        • The time to act is now (Africa Is a Country)
          A letter from more than 90 African intellectuals to African leaders about the continent’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

            4. Operational

        • The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Learning Pathway – Open Access (Humanitarian Leadership Academy)
          The COVID-19 Learning Pathway aims to enable humanitarians, including local responders, to be best equipped to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic. More than 5,000 learners have already signed up.
        • Urban Considerations for World Vision’s COVID-19 Response (World Vision)
          What puts cities at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission? Poverty and marginalisation of specific groups and spaces creating hotspots of the pandemic in urban areas. This document serves to provide specific recommendations to the four strategic objectives of WV’s global response to COVID-19 in urban contexts, and considers needs beyond prevention and response.
        ,

        Thomas Howie

        Communications Manager

        International Civil Society Centre

        Thomas joined the Centre in June 2017 as the Communications Coordinator. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Centre’s global communication strategy, as well as the Disrupt & Innovate platform – a place for civil society professionals and activists to discuss current innovations and future trends in the civil society sector. Prior to the Centre, Thomas worked for 5 years in the European Parliament firstly as the Digital and Social Media Coordinator for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and then, after the 2014 European elections, for Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen as Head of Communications, where he worked on issues such as the EU-US trade deal, issues around Brexit and as a specialist on the Petitions Committee. Thomas graduated from Bristol University with BSci in Geographical Sciences and holds an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, where he completed research into the role of civil society in the post war peace settlement in northern Uganda.

        COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #4

        23rd April 2020 by Thomas Howie

        This page is part of a series of COVID-19 resource pages that we are creating to help civil society actors.

        Click here to view all available pages.

        Click here for our latest events news.

        On this page, you will find links to readings, podcasts and videos related to the latest COVID-19 news and analysis. If you have a recommendation or a suggestion, let us know.

        The sections are:

        Staying up-to-date: Links to sites that will keep you abreast of important developments related to our sector and the latest news.

        Strategic: We look at the impact and responses to COVID-19 in a general and intersectional way (i.e. impacts on human rights, climate change, etc).

        Policy: Civil society’s policies that respond to challenges posed by COVID-19.

        Operational: A list of what your organisation can do now to navigate these unprecedented times.

            1. Staying up-to-Date

        • Cities and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Portal (C40 Knowledge Hub)
          C40 staff and cities have identified a range of compelling resources relevant to cities’ efforts to understand and combat the virus’ spread and impact. This collection will be updated as new resources are identified.
        • COVID-19 brings a wave of cyberattacks against NGOs (Devex)
          Aid groups say they are coming under an increased number of cyberattacks as they try to work through the disruption of COVID-19.
        • Curfews are a safer plan than total lockdowns to slow COVID-19’s spread in informal economies (Quartz Africa)
          W. Gyude Moore, former Liberia public works minister and visiting fellow Center for Global Development, on the difficult challenge of adapting social distancing measures and public health measures to informal economies which lack a comprehensive safety net to support those shut in.
        • France Says Apple Bluetooth Policy Is Blocking Virus Tracker (Bloomberg News)
          The article sheds light on a conflict line between states demanding changes to the operating system of mobile phones so as to “develop a sovereign … solution”. Apple, on the other hand, claims that the current configuration of its operating system is designed to protect the users’ privacy.
        • COVID-19 Africa Watch (Milken Institute)
          A hub for information, analysis, and the global response to COVID-19’s impact on Africa.
        • Key sources on COVID-19 impacts on Food and Nutrition Security (Food & Business Knowledge Platform)
          The short- and long term-consequences of COVID-19 on food systems globally are becoming increasingly visible. This is an overview of key resources related to the COVID-19 impacts on Food and Nutrition Security, which is being continuously updated with research and information.
        • Source overview: COVID-19 and older people (HelpAge)
          Studies confirm the high risks for older people from coronavirus. A health crisis can isolate older people and the risk of this happening is far higher in countries with less developed health systems where access to medical services and other forms of care and support can be challenging.
        • What are the responses to the COVID-19 crisis in West Africa? (WATHI)
          Portal aggregating pieces on the response in West Africa in particular, in English and French. Many by outside organisations and a mix of African and non-African authors.
        • What we’re reading on conflict & governance (Heather Marquette, University of Birmingham)
          Resources round-up on COVID-19 and governance.
        • Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance (Tomas Pueyo)
          This piece arguees that strong coronavirus measures today should only last a few weeks, that there shouldn’t be a big peak of infections afterwards, and it can all be done for a reasonable cost to society, saving millions of lives along the way. If we don’t take these measures, tens of millions will be infected, many will die, along with anybody else that requires intensive care, because the healthcare system will have collapsed.

            2. Strategic

          Biodiversity and Climate Change

          Cities and Urbanisation

          • Responding to COVID-19 in global south cities (C40 Knowledge Hub)
            This article provides solutions to some of the biggest COVID-19 response challenges raised specifically by mayors of global south cities in the C40 network, based on measures already being implemented by cities worldwide. It draws experiences and approaches mostly from cities across Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

          Civic Space and Human Rights

          Data and Digital

          • COVID-19, Disruption Of Education And The Digital Divide (Development Works Changemakers)
            How COVID-19 has disrupted education and the digital divide – the extent of disruption, impact on nutrition, demands on parents, technology to the rescue, the digital divide’s implications for becoming part of the learning society, and opportunities for learning during a lockdown.
          • How Access to Technology and Other Strategies Can Keep Education Afloat in the Time of COVID-19 (Development Works Changemakers)
            What is required to enable school learners and students to derive the best possible benefit from technology? This is a snapshot of approaches followed by schools, teachers, parents and learners during the lockdown period. Collaborative multi-dimensional effort and the role of education ministers are key.
          • “The Emergency and the World of Tomorrow” (El Pais) Article in Spanish
            In this article, the philosopher Byung-Chul Han discusses confuzianism, big data, and souvereignty, as well as the immediate and long-term effects of the ongoing pandemic on Europe and Asia.

          Futures

          Gender Equality

          • Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis (OECD)
            Making up 70% of the health care workforce, women are exposed to a greater risk of infection and shouldering most responsibilities at home. Quarantine and states of emergency increase the risk of job and income loss, violence, exploitation and abuse or harassment. Policy responses must have a gender lens and account for women’s unique needs, responsibilities and perspectives.

          Leave No One Behind / Inclusion

          Livelihoods

          Multilateralism and international cooperation

          • Global response to COVID-19 in Africa must protect lives, livelihoods, and freedoms (OECD/African barometer)
            Overview of Africa’s levels of readiness for COVID-19, and the likely politics of the response. Limiting the effects of the pandemic on Africa and saving lives requires an urgent global response, but the international community must also provide support in ways that strengthen, rather than undermine, Africans’ freedoms.

          Pandemic Specific Consequences and Responses (economic, health & social impacts)

          • COVID-19: Protecting people and societies (OECD)
            COVID-19 is affecting social relations, trust in other people and in institutions, personal security and sense of belonging. This OECD policy brief looks at the broad range of effects that COVID-19 will have on different aspects of people’s well-being, with a focus on specific population groups such as children, women and the elderly.
          • Coronavirus: Responsibility and Fragility Revue (Médicale Suisse) – Article in French
            The coronavirus won’t be the Big One. But the risk is there that humanity will one day face a highly lethal pandemic. In that case the only way to survive is openness, knowledge sharing, organizational intelligence, and the willingness to anticipate and prevent. It is therefore about culture, solidarity, and civilisation says the Swiss medic and journalist Bertrand Kiefer (Article in French).
          • Five key steps for a health systems response to COVID-19 in Africa (Options)
            Countries with particularly fragile health systems can take five steps to overcome the challenge of responding to the pandemic and continuing to provide vital services. Memories of rapidly learning from scratch how to cope with the Ebola outbreak are still fresh in West African countries.
          • ‘Millions hang by a thread’: extreme global hunger compounded by COVID-19 (The Guardian)
            Coronavirus ‘potentially catastrophic’ for nations already suffering food insecurity caused by famine, migration and unemployment.
          • Mitigating COVID-19’s impact on Africa’s food systems (Nutrition Connect)
            Latest in a blog series on opportunities for building back better food systems and nutrition. African Development Bank economists, Martin Fregene and Atsuko Toda, remind us that the pre-existing crises in Africa of locusts, droughts and foreign exchange losses, now with COVID-19, looks to be converging on an imminent food crisis on the African continent.
          • Using Graphics to Cut Through COVID’s Complexity (Oxfam: From Poverty to Power)
            Helpful picture-‘explainers’ to help frame thinking on COVID-19, communicate the complex problems we’re all facing and how to use social science and political research to tackle these.

          Vulnerable populations

          • COVID-19 & Migration: Resources page (SDC Network on Migration and Development)
            The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on migrants and displaced populations wears many faces. This page summarises resources on this particular theme.
          • Will COVID-19 Harm or Help Displaced Populations? (Political Violence at a Glance)
            The COVID-19 pandemic poses myriad threats to vulnerable populations, including the more than 70 million migrants and refugees forcibly displaced from their homes globally. However, there are also reasons to anticipate some positive side effects for our collective treatment and management of migrant and refugee populations.

                3. Policy

            • Accelerating Tech for Inclusion in a Time of Crisis (The German Marshall Fund of the United States)
              Digital technology has gained traction in the global fight against the virus and has helped millions cope with isolation. As the crisis has also exposed gaps in access to technology, the article advocates for an acceleration of tech development and policies for inclusion and against a digital divide in western societies.
            • Coronavirus: Impacts on freedom of expression (ARTICLE 19)
              Website monitoring and reporting on the impacts of COVID-19 and government overreach on Freedom of Expression. Includes a new briefing on tackling misinformation.
            • A statement from civil society and academia on the situation of international migrant workers from India during COVID-19 Pandemic (ActionAid India & many more)
              As the origin country of one of the largest migrant populations in the world, India has many reasons to worry. Temporary labour migrants from the country are increasingly vulnerable due to the loss of employment, lack of access to healthcare and other basic services – especially in GCC countries where almost 50 % of Indian migrants are located. Indian academic and civil society organisations are endorsing this list of immediate and long-term solutions. Please contact us if interested in adding your name.

                4. Operational

            • Care International Gender and COVID19 Programme Guidance (Care International)
              This one-pager is helping CARE countries prioritise, adapt and maintain gender programming and organisational work during the COVID-19 pandemic, with priorities identified by a Global Rapid Gender Analysis (RGA).
            • Care International Gender-Based Violence and COVID19 Guidance Note (Care International)
              Movement restrictions and other COVID-19 safety precautions have increased risks of domestic violence and intimate partner violence. The need for specialised gender-based violence (GBV) services and risk mitigation across programming is increasingly important. This guidance is helping CARE staff adapt existing GBV prevention, response and risk mitigation programming, internal and external messaging.
            • Identifying & Mitigating Gender-based Violence Risks within the COVID-19 Response (Global Protection Cluster/Inter-Agency Standing Committee)
              An initial summary of potential gender-based violence (GBV) risk mitigation actions, based on established good practise, that are starting points to address GBV risks in this unprecedented situation.
            • Tough Times Call For Tough Action: A Decision Framework For Nonprofit Leaders & Boards (SeaChange)
              SeaChange has a decade of experience working with nonprofits with respect to risk management, lending, financial analysis, mergers/collaborations, and restructuring/dissolution. This briefing note summarises their advice to organisations grappling with COVID-19 and the best practices they are seeing in the field.
            ,

            Thomas Howie

            Communications Manager

            International Civil Society Centre

            Thomas joined the Centre in June 2017 as the Communications Coordinator. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Centre’s global communication strategy, as well as the Disrupt & Innovate platform – a place for civil society professionals and activists to discuss current innovations and future trends in the civil society sector. Prior to the Centre, Thomas worked for 5 years in the European Parliament firstly as the Digital and Social Media Coordinator for the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and then, after the 2014 European elections, for Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen as Head of Communications, where he worked on issues such as the EU-US trade deal, issues around Brexit and as a specialist on the Petitions Committee. Thomas graduated from Bristol University with BSci in Geographical Sciences and holds an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford, where he completed research into the role of civil society in the post war peace settlement in northern Uganda.

            Solidarity Playbook: Discover and Learn from our Pilot Case Studies

            22nd April 2020 by Eva Gondorová

            Solidarity and collaboration are among strongest tools we have to push back against clampdowns on civil society. These pilot case studies – initiated by the Solidarity Action Network (SANE) – showcase best practices, challenges, and lessons learned from organisational resilience mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices developed by civil society organisations and coalitions.

            There is clearly a need to move from reactive mode – responding to clampdowns – to a more formal prepared footing. Our strength will be in building on these case studies and ensuring that there are stronger organisational and sectoral responses as a whole.

            Also, read: Key Learnings for Civil Society Coalitions and Key Learnings for International Civil Society Organisations.

            Click on the pictures for a case study summary or find each complete case study to download below.

            Case Studies on Coalition Responses

            Case Studies on Organisational Resilience Mechanisms

             

            Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

            Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an in-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

            We sincerely thank our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

            The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were written in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

            Click on the buttons to read a complete case study.

            ActionAid case study

            Civilisation case study

            Spaces for Change case study

            Vuka! case study

            Greenpeace case study

            Islamic Relief case study

             

            Eva Gondorová

            Project Manager

            International Civil Society Centre

            Eva coordinates the project Solidarity Action Network (SANE) which aims at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors.

            Civilizáció (Civilisation): Coalition-building to fight back against government attacks on civil society in Hungary

            22nd April 2020 by Eva Gondorová

            The Civilisation, a cross-sector coalition of Hungarian CSOs, came together to defend against government attacks on civil society.

            Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.

            About the coalition

            What launched the coalition?Democratic backsliding, smear campaigns, and legislative reform concerning funding and registration of CSOs.
            Who are the members?Approximately 30 national CSOs form the inner circle of the network; they range across different sectors.
            How does it work?A part-time coordinator supports the work; regular in-person meetings occur; there are protocols on decision-making; email lists and info-sharing.

            Coalition action

            OutcomesMembers are now more resilient and better prepared for future threats; solidarity has been strengthend via the first cross-sector network in Hungary; they have conducted engagement with rural CSOs to try and undo the ‘chill factor’ of the government’s attacks.
            ChallengesThe coalition was established in reaction to restrictions, and worked well in resistance; but how do you maintain collaboration in ‘standby’ mode?
            Lessons learnedHow to cooperate, acknowledge different attitudes, approaches, appetites and agendas, and work with the diversity in a cross-sector coalition, as opposed to against it.

            Get the case study

            Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

            This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

            Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an in-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

            Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

            The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

             

            Eva Gondorová

            Project Manager

            International Civil Society Centre

            Eva coordinates the project Solidarity Action Network (SANE) which aims at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors.

            Spaces for Change: From informal networks and collaboration to the Action Group for Free Civic Space in Nigeria

            22nd April 2020 by Eva Gondorová

            The Action Group on Free Civic Space in Nigeria works to co-create a unified sector position and voice to defend civic space against security-induced restrictions.

            Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.

            About the coalition

            What launched the coalition?Successive proposed Bills focused on restricting internet freedoms, NGO operations, terrorism financing and anti-money laundering measures.
            Who are the members?A cross-sector and cross-regional movement of 61 national organisations and ICSO country offices.
            How does it work?This started as an informal, loose network, but has now crystallised into a formal group with a coordinating team, regular meetings and online communications.

            Coalition action

            OutcomesThe coalition built solidarity to ensure that government regulations (framed around national security, anti-money laundering (AML) and countering terrorism financing (CFT)) do not shrink civic space. Within a short time, the coalition grew in strength in numbers, shared expertise and research and built capacity amongst individual activists/bloggers, and created good working relationships with national and international AML/CFT regulators.
            ChallengesCreating a sense of common ownership for a sector-wide response; balancing inclusion with other considerations e.g. expertise.
            Lessons learnedIt is vital to create a sense of ownership and buy-in, by driving coordination with a ‘back-end’ team.

            Get the case study

            Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

            This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

            Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an in-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

            Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

            The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

             

            Eva Gondorová

            Project Manager

            International Civil Society Centre

            Eva coordinates the project Solidarity Action Network (SANE) which aims at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors.

            Vuka! – Building an international coalition to coordinate and enable civil society’s response to closing space

            22nd April 2020 by Eva Gondorová

            With its Country Coordination Calls, Vuka!, a coalition of international, regional and national CSOs, manages country-level responses to closing space.

            Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.

            About the coalition

            What launched the coalition?The recognised problem: how should international civil society respond to the global issue of closing civic space?
            Who are the members?Approximately 160 organisations; a diverse range of international, regional and national CSOs.
            How does it work?A coalition secretariat and a steering committee; country-focus across 6 action teams. Each member has equal footing to determine the coalition’s priorities.

            Coalition action

            OutcomesAdvocacy and campaigns enjoy greater reach thanks to the diverse membership; national engagement with international and regional bodies is facilitated; organic, bi-lateral connections have been enabled; creative and innovative initiatives incubated and stewarded by the action teams.
            ChallengesHow do you maintain the momentum of country-level conversations?
            How do you coordinate a response in ‘opening contexts’?
            Lessons learnedTrust is essential (and enabled by secure platforms); coordination enables identification of key gaps and opportunities; this needs to be backed by ready resources and mechanisms.

            Get the case study

            Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

            This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

            Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an in-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

            Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

            The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

             

            Eva Gondorová

            Project Manager

            International Civil Society Centre

            Eva coordinates the project Solidarity Action Network (SANE) which aims at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors.

            Islamic Relief Worldwide: Building a Reputational Risk Management Strategy in the face of Islamophobia-motivated attacks

            22nd April 2020 by Eva Gondorová

            Facing Islamophobia-motivated attacks, Islamic Relief Worldwide, an independent humanitarian and development organisation, developed a strategy to manage reputational risks.

            Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.

            Actions taken by the organisation

            What was the trigger? Designation as terrorist organisation in Israel and the UAE (2014).
            What was the internal response?Reputational Risk Management Strategy, backed by new infrastructure and resources.
            What measures were taken at the national level?Country offices received training and support to develop their own strategies.

            Response carried out in practice

            What was the trigger? Amendment proposed by US congressman to cut US funding to IRW (2017).
            What was the response?Collective action taken by IRW, InterAction and the Together Project, including advocacy, political engagement and solidarity action.
            What were the outcomes?The amendment was dropped, and their funding was left in tact. Learning has been applied to other contexts.

            Learnings collected by the organisation

            OutcomesIslamic Relief Worldwide is more prepared and resilient, and they have grown as an organisation since – and in spite of – the designations.
            ChallengesCosts – legal and lobbyist fees are expensive; staff time is hard to commit to this additional effort on top of day-to-day work.
            LessonsEngage with influencers over opponents; make friends while the sun shines and identify your key stakeholders; invest in saying who you are are rather than saying who you are not; fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

            Get the case study

            Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

            This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

            Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an In-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

            Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

            The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

             

            Eva Gondorová

            Project Manager

            International Civil Society Centre

            Eva coordinates the project Solidarity Action Network (SANE) which aims at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors.

            Greenpeace International: Developing resilience to Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation suits through joint action

            22nd April 2020 by Eva Gondorová

            Greenpeace International developed a proactive and collaborative response to the threat and damage of SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation) in the US and beyond.

            Read the summary and find the full case study at the bottom of the page.

            Actions taken by the organisation

            What was the trigger?Significant Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPP) suit filed against Greenpeace International in the USA (2016).
            What was the internal response?Greenpeace International developed a SLAPP Resilience Strategy, recognising legal solutions were not enough.
            What measures were taken at the national level?The strategy, developed with Greenpeace USA, involved outreach and engagement work in US.

            Response carried out in practice

            What was the trigger?A 2nd SLAPP suit was filed against Greenpeace International seeking almost $1 billion in damages (2017).
            What was the response?Thanks in part to Greenpeace International’s engagement work, there was a huge backlash from civil society, and the Protect the Protest coalition was formed.
            What were the outcomes?Both cases were dismissed (either in part or entirely); US civil society is now attuned to this tactic and responding collectively.

            Learnings collected by the organisation

            OutcomesGreenpeace International is now better prepared for SLAPPs, and has developed expertise and learning that can be applied elsewhere.
            ChallengesEngaging other CSOs, and managing differences within a coalition.
            LessonsWhen responding collectively to a specific restrictive tactic coordination is key for spotting opportunities and gaps; finding ways to enable easier participation e.g. by building efficient structures and processes, can help encourage joint action.

            Get the case study

            Background to our Pilot Solidarity Playbook Case Studies

            This case study is one of six that reviews best practices, challenges, and lessons learned for both ICSO internal mechanisms and coalition responses to scrutiny and attacks. They show positive outcomes and new practices that were initially triggered by an undue threat or attack.

            Written by Sarah Pugh and Deborah Doane, these case studies first appeared in an in-house study called “Solidarity in Times of Scrutiny” presented at the International Civic Forum in Addis Ababa in October 2019.

            Thanks go to our case study partners for making their learnings available to a larger readership.

            The presented case studies reflect the status of when they were first written up in October 2019. Naturally, the political situation as well as the organisations’ and coalitions’ learnings have since evolved and are constantly evolving.

             

            Eva Gondorová

            Project Manager

            International Civil Society Centre

            Eva coordinates the project Solidarity Action Network (SANE) which aims at strengthening resilience of and solidarity among civil society actors.