Disrupt & Innovate

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #6

7th May 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

    2. Strategic

    Biodiversity and Climate Change

    • Podcast: Sorry, Nature Isn’t Returning (Foreign Policy )
      This podcast explores the way in which nature has been given a break during the pandemic, but concludes that this is only a short term consequence and will not have lasting positive effects on nature.

      Data and Digital

      Food security

      • Building the future of food during the crisis (Forum for the Future)
        COVID-19 has exposed the strengths, fragilities and weaknesses in our food system, which was primarily focused on maximising output, driving profit, convenience and choice. How are those operating in the food system starting to respond to this immense challenge? Three different ways of thinking about this future are emerging: managerial, entrepreneurial and visionary.
      • Locusts, floods and COVID-19: a potentially deadly combination for malnourished children across the Horn of Africa (Reliefweb)
        The return of swarms of desert locusts – with more expected to hatch in May – coupled with the impact of COVID-19 and a return of flood season will devastate the chances of survival for malnourished children in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.


      Gender Equality

      Global China

        Multilateralism and international cooperation

        • COVID-19: Multilateralism Matters (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom)
          This article looks at the challenges that multilateralism faces in the time of COVID-19, but also at the opportunities and efforts already being made to strengthen multilateralism.
        • Expertise, Coronavirus, and the New Normal (Council on Foreign Relations)
          North-South divide in the time of coronavirus may be a preview of what will emerge on another side of the pandemic. This article argues for a more decolonised approach to global health during COVID-19.
        • The Hurdles to Developing a COVID-19 Vaccine: Why International Cooperation Is Needed (Chatham House)
          The article explores the challenges of creating a COVID-19 vaccine and how global cooperation and leadership is necessary to save the most vulnerable in the world.


        • COVID19 Message Testing Analysis (Development Engagement Lab, University College London)
          The Development Engagement Lab (Aid Attitudes Tracker phase II) has been thinking about development communications in COVID-19 times, testing messages with the UK public on a range of questions to understand support for international cooperation, using UK aid to invest in developing countries’ health systems, and how poverty interacts with the disease. The results shed some light on how we might best communicate our work in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
        • No crystal ball needed – evaluating the COVID-19 response (Humanitarian Exchange and Research Centre)
          Judgement without parole: The humanitarian sector has demonstrated it is incapable of reforming itself. Ed Schenkenberg analyses: The issue, not new but underlined again by the COVID-19 response, that stands in the way of real progress, is the role of the individual agency in relation to the collective response.
        • What narrative and behavioural sciences tell us about how to campaign during coronavirus (MobLab)
          What we can learn from Mindworks’ behavioural science approach to understanding action around coronavirus response.

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

        • COVID-19 could stall Africa’s integration agenda (Institute for Security Studies)
          Freedom of movement within Africa is one of the African Union’s main goals. This goal is hindered by the outbreak of COVID-19 which could have lasting negative effects on whether this goal will be attainable even after the pandemic.
        • No crystal ball needed – evaluating the COVID-19 response (HERE-Geneva)
          Sooner or later, governments, UN organisations, NGOs, and others will undertake after-action reviews and evaluations of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many of the the lessons of COVID-19 evaluations can be understood right now.
        • Podcast: COVID-19 in fragile states: fighting conflict in the midst of a pandemic (International Institute for Strategic Studies)
          This podcast explains Africa’s vulnerability and challenges for peacekeeping due to ongoing conflicts and fragile states.
        • How to Make Sense of Uncertainty in a Coronavirus World (Singularity Hub)
          Countries are pursuing five major public health strategies to control virus transmission: antibody tests, distancing, prevention, treatment and viral testing. These strategies arise from things we can control based on the things that we know at any given moment. But what about the things we can’t control and don’t yet know?
        • Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the African Economy (African Union)
          This report by the African Union uses a method of scenarios in order to explore the potential impact of the pandemic on various dimensions of African economies. It focuses on the possible socio-economic repercussions in order to propose policy recommendations to respond to the crisis.

        Populism and Authoritarianism

              3. Policy

          • Community leadership is key to halting COVID-19: Social Solidarity while Physical Distancing (The Movement for Community-Led Development)
            This website outlines a deep dive in the critical community-led strategies to defeat this unparalleled pandemic. MCLD intends these points and references to support collective advocacy and action.
          • COVID-19 and true solidarity on the internet (Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society)
            Digital technologies have reduced the effort required for solidarity-based action. Using hashtags, issuing personal calls to action via private social media profiles, offering neighbourhood help and undertaking organisational activities with increased responsibility to express solidarity. The relationship between individuality and collectivity has changed due to a structural transformation. Nowadays, the constitution of individuality no longer takes place in the private sphere but on the basis of social networks.
          • Take Robust Actions to Manage COVID-19 Crisis in South Asia: Joint Statement of South Asia CSOs (Asia Pacific Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism: South and South-West Asia Working Group)
            In order to address the issues and challenges regarding the COVID-19 crisis, multiple CSOs of South Asia have jointly released this statement to draw the attention of Governments of South Asia, international communities and to affirm COVID-19 response and recovery actions as inclusive, participatory, accountable and rights-based.

              4. Operational

          • Mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 (C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group)
            This article sets out approaches that city governments are taking to monitor and mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, with five priority issues: cash flow support and guidance for affected SMEs and marginalised groups; monitoring local economic impacts; working with local industries, trade unions and NGOs; and supporting job opportunities, particularly for green jobs.
          • The $90Bn Question: Can we reach 700 million people in response to COVID-19? (The Cash Learning Partnership)
            Digital cash delivery may be more efficient but might be excluding the most vulnerable people and widening existing digital divides: In low-income countries, the offline population remains disproportionately poor, rural, elderly, and female. Only consolidated beneficiary information aligned to cross-sector and multi-organisational collaboration will be critical to delivering at scale.
          • Three Things Nonprofits Should Prioritize in the Wake of COVID-19 (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
            Why organizations need to examine their social impact, economic viability, and capacity to deliver in order to remain relevant and viable both now and into the future.

          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.