Disrupt & Innovate

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #8

20th 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

    • The hidden toll of lockdown on rainforests (BBC Future)
      With fewer planes in the sky and cars on the road, the lockdown has brought many benefits to the environment. So why is it harming tropical rainforests?

      Civic Space and Human Rights

      • How Africa can reduce COVID-19’s impact on displaced persons (Institute for Security Studies)
        Africa’s 25.2 million refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons are some of the most vulnerable groups to COVID-19. This article explores the ways in which African states can protect these vulnerable groups.
      • Imagining our Post-Pandemic Futures (Open Global Rights)
        COVID-19 is challenging the human rights movement to adapt, transform, and look ahead—so as to meet urgent demands now while laying the groundwork for a better future. This Up Close series explores the glimpses this pandemic has provided of what a better future could look like and asks just what kind of human rights practice is needed now to get us there.

      Data and Digital

      Food security


      • Four Pathways to Better Decisions (Global Dashboard)
        How do you make good decisions when you’re playing (COVID-19) whack-a-mole? Here are four recommendations to improve decision-making: (i) form an independent red-team, (ii) empower a ‘mole-spotting’ unit, (iii) embrace foresight to manage risks and (iv) build in real feedback loops. This is how experimentation feeds learning and defers to frontline expertise.
      • Why coronavirus may make the world more accessible (BBC Future)
        For many people with disabilities, options like remote working have been needed for years. Workplaces around the world have now made this shift. Are there other ways the world could become more accessible, too?

      Gender Equality

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

                3. Policy

            • A Call to Action on Open Budgets during the COVID-19 Response (From Poverty to Power)
              Countries now have a choice about where their response to this crisis will lead — either to less transparency and trust or to more openness and accountability. More than 100 organisations have signed the Call to Action urging governments to choose the more open path.
            • A Perfect Storm: Domestic violence, economic hardship and COVID-19 in Latin America (Care International)
              We are faced with a historic responsibility to help shape whether COVID-19 is remembered as a moment in which global solidarity is forged and political will is mobilised in support of a more equal, inclusive, sustainable and just world order where women and girls are central to the response – or whether gender equality (in Latin America) is set back by decades.
            • Corruption risks in Southern Africa’s response to the coronavirus (Transparency International)
              Six Southern African chapters from Transparency International and the Botswana Center for Public Integrity are urging the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to accelerate governments’ response to the global pandemic and ensure that additional lives are not lost to corruption.
            • COVID-19 and mixed population movements: emerging dynamics, risks and opportunities (UNHCR / IOM)
              In this discussion paper, the UN agencies UNHCR (refugees) and IOM (migrants) take stock of what they are already observing and anticipate developing as the COVID-19 crisis evolves in countries of origin, countries hosting large refugee and migrant populations, countries of transit as well as countries of destination.
            • Rethinking anti-corruption for COVID-19 (From Poverty to Power)
              In many countries, corruption and governance constraints will limit the rapid scaling up of responses to COVID-19. This will not only undermine treatment responses but result in cycles of unsustainable lockdowns and massive economic deprivation.
            • The COVID Crisis Is Reinforcing the Hunger Industrial Complex (MIT Press Reader)
              In the United States, miles-long lines of motorists waiting for a few sacks of groceries have become seared into the public imagination demonstrating that charity has become the governing metaphor of the pandemic response, replacing justice, which itself has been placed on a ventilator.
            • World leaders unite in call for a people’s vaccine against COVID-19 (Oxfam)
              More than 140 world leaders and experts have signed an open letter calling on all governments to unite behind a people’s vaccine against COVID-19. The letter, which marks the most ambitious position yet set out by world leaders on a COVID-19 vaccine, demands that all vaccines, treatments and tests be patent-free, mass-produced, distributed fairly and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.


            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.