Disrupt & Innovate

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.


    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


    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.