Disrupt & Innovate

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #7

14th 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

    • Record global carbon dioxide concentrations despite COVID-19 crisis (UNEP – UN Environment Programme)
      Despite local air quality improvements during the COVID-19 crisis, atmospheric CO2 concentration levels continue to rise, and fundamental shifts in global energy production are needed to achieve long-term reductions in CO2 concentration levels.

      Data and Digital

      • A guide to a healthy scepticism of artificial intelligence and coronavirus (The Brookings Institution)
        This article looks into the limits of the effective use of artificial intelligence to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • COVID Tracing Tracker (MIT Technology Review)
        Worldwide, there’s a deluge of apps that detect COVID-19 exposure, often with little transparency. The MIT Tracing Tracker project will document them.
      • Et Big Brother prit le pouvoir! (L’Illustré, Switzerland)
        Geolocation, generalised surveillance, ubiquitous social control via our smartphones: Is the coronavirus sounding the death knell for individual freedoms and giving rise to a totalitarian world, in Europe and Switzerland as everywhere else in the world?
      • Opinion: We cannot allow COVID-19 to reinforce the digital gender divide (Devex)
        Girls, women, and marginalised groups are least likely to have access to technology. This was already a dire disadvantage, and now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has moved so many aspects of daily life online, this lack of connectivity has become even more alarming.

      Civic Space and Human Rights

      • We Can Beat the Virus Only By Protecting Human Rights (Human Rights Watch )
        Some governments are arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic leaves no space for human rights. This article argues the opposite – that respect for human rights during the pandemic will help save lives that would otherwise be lost to the virus.

      Food security

      • The link between food (in)security, peace and stability and COVID-19 (The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes)
        COVID-19 may have started as a public health emergency, but at this stage, the measures taken to contain the crisis have developed into an economic crisis, that has more of an impact on people’s livelihoods than the virus itself.


      Gender Equality

        Multilateralism and international cooperation

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

              3. Policy

          • Closing the COVID-19 response transparency gap (ARTICLE 19)
            Blog on ARTICLE 19’s new report on ‘Ensuring the Public’s Right to Know in the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (listed here).
          • Ensuring the Public’s Right to Know in the COVID-19 Pandemic (ARTICLE 19)
            ARTICLE 19’s new report warns the COVID-19 pandemic could have a negative impact on global freedom of information. 90% of the world’s population now lives in a country with a Right to Information law or policy, but this analysis highlights several threats to governments’ obligations on access to information and public health under human rights law.
          • Joining Forces’ open letter and recommendations to world leaders on the COVID-19 crisis and child rights (WHO)
            The Joining Forces group of child rights organisations asks governments to put concrete steps in place to protect children during the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure access to nutritious food, appropriate supervision, healthcare, protection from violence, alternative education at home and reliable information on the crisis to help them cope with its psychological impact.
          • Strengthening Preparedness for COVID-19 in Cities and Urban Settings (WHO)
            This document is to support local authorities, leaders and policy-makers in cities and other urban settlements in identifying effective approaches and implementing recommended actions for COVID-19 in urban settings, to ensure a robust response and eventual recovery. It covers factors unique to cities and urban settings, considerations in urban preparedness, key areas of focus and preparing for future emergencies.

              4. Operational

          • 8 critical lessons leaders need to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis (and one that will surprise you) (Fast Company)
            We know that empathy and networking, for example, are important, but it’s how you approach these concepts now that will carry you out of crisis mode.
          • Doing fieldwork in a pandemic (crowd-sourced document) (Deborah Lupton/Crowd-sourced)
            Isolation measures to contain COVID-19 means that social researchers need fieldwork ideas for avoiding in-person interactions by using mediated forms that will achieve similar ends. This crowdsourced document shares ideas for moving face-to-face methods into a more ‘hands-off’ mode, and useful material about ‘born digital’ social research.
          • From lockdown to locked in, here’s what post-pandemic travel could look like (World Economic Forum)
            Gone are the days of short international travel, or long trips visiting multiple countries as it is likely that all countries striving to suppress COVID-19 infections will impose some kind of restrictions on international arrivals. Travellers should expect quarantine, self-isolation, and testing rules to persist.
          • Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations (McKinsey)
            COVID-19 has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations, and an opportunity to transform them. The virus has shown that, when they align around a common purpose, operations teams can achieve goals that would have been considered impossible before the crisis. As they plan their transition to the next normal, companies are looking for ways to maintain this sense of purpose and speed.
          • Guidelines for field-based staff (Islamic Relief Worldwide)
            This guidance seeks to assist our staff in operating safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
          • Guidelines for fundraisers and volunteers (Islamic Relief Worldwide)
            This guidance seeks to assist IR’s fundraising staff and volunteers in operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
          • Position statement for Advocacy (SOS Children’s Villages)
            This position statement from SOS Children’s Villages presents the key tasks necessary to ensure that the rights and needs of children without or at risk of losing parental care are prioritised by national, regional and international governments as they adopt measures to mitigate the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.
          • Protection of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Children and Alternative Care – Immediate Response Measures (Better Care Network, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and UNICEF)
            This technical note aims to support child protection practitioners and government officials in their immediate support for children at risk of separation or in alternative care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
          • Responding to COVID-19: Guidance for humanitarian agencies (ALNAP)
            How should humanitarian organisations prepare and respond to COVID-19 in humanitarian settings in low- and middle-income countries? This Rapid Learning Review outlines 14 actions, insights and ideas for humanitarian actors to consider in their COVID-19 responses. It summarises and synthesises the best available knowledge and guidance for developing a health response to COVID-19 in low- and middle-income settings as at April 2020.

          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.