This page is part of a series of COVID-19 resource pages that we are creating to help civil society actors.
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
- A billion people live in the slums of the world’s megacities—and they’re being missed by coronavirus plans (Fast Company)
Sprawling urban areas in Brazil, Nigeria and Bangladesh are all seeing COVID-19 infections rise rapidly.
- Africa facing a quarter of a billion coronavirus cases, WHO predicts (The Guardian)
Africa will have fewer deaths than Europe and US because of its younger population and other lifestyle factors
- Coronavirus in Africa: Contained or unrecorded? (BBC)
Africa has had less than 100,000 cases so far, but WHO experts believe the continent will have a prolonged outbreak over a few years – and, aid workers say, the huge focus on containing the virus has led to other health issues being neglected. Here, five BBC reporters give a snapshot of what is happening in their countries.
- Coronavirus: World Bank warns 60m at risk of ‘extreme poverty’ (BBC)
Up to 60m people will be pushed into “extreme poverty” by the coronavirus warns the president of the World Bank.
- COVID-19 pandemic has derailed progress on sustainable development goals, says WHO (The BMJ)
The rate of progress towards the United Nations’ sustainable development goals is too slow and is being further “thrown off track” by the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization says.
- COVID-19 to slash global economic output by $8.5 trillion over the next two years (United Nations)
A forecast by the UN Statistical Division estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely cause 34.3 million people to fall below the extreme poverty line in 2020, with 56% of this occurring in Africa. An additional 130 million people may join the ranks of people living in extreme poverty by 2030. The pandemic is disproportionately hurting low-skilled, low-wage jobs and further widen inequality within and between countries.
- DRC has seen epidemics before, but COVID-19’s toll on older people leaves me sleepless (The Guardian)
Anatole Bandu, country representative for HelpAge in DR Congo, gives a testimony on the deadly impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the elder population in Kinshasa.
- How data can mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls (webinar) (Devex)
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have been more willing to share their data. This development is timely, given that the need for data-driven approaches — allowing greater impact and agility — is more critical than ever, particularly for women and girls.
- Power in the Pandemic (Podcast) (Oxfam)
This new podcast captures voice from across the world about their experiences of the coronavirus. This first episode considers how COVID-19 has made us rethink power structures, with David Mwambari on a Post-Corona, Pan-African vision and why now is the time to decolonise, and the effects of the virus on social movements and narratives.
- Social distancing: When extreme weather and coronavirus collide (BBC)
People being displaced by extreme weather events around the world are being forced to break COVID-19 social distancing safety guidelines, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies.
- The problem with predicting coronavirus apocalypse in Africa (Al Jazeera)
Claims that Africa will be hit the worst by the pandemic ignore African epidemiological know-how and action.
- The World Food Program’s Coronavirus Fight—and How You Can Help (Singularity Hub)
To make sure WFP’s programmes are disrupted as little as possible, it is looking to implement creative, tech-driven solutions to food supply chain, production, and delivery systems—and innovative startups and individuals can help.
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
- Coronavirus contact-tracing apps: can they slow the spread of COVID-19? (Nature)
While the global tech companies Google and Apple are changing the operating systems of their smartphones, consortia in different countries are developing so-called COVID-19 tracing applications. The article describes the different approaches, in particular to privacy, and expresses concern that poor adoption could blunt the efficacy.
- COVID-19 has blown apart the myth of Silicon Valley innovation (MIT Technolgy Review)
The most important failures revealed by Covid-19 is our diminished ability to innovate in areas that truly count, like health care and climate change.
- Responding to crisis with digital payments for social protection: Short-term measures with long-term benefits (The World Bank)
In many developing countries, the scale of emergency payments to millions of people via GSM phones is unprecedented. The crisis shows the importance of what might be called universal basic infrastructure. Not just visible things, like labs, ventilators, and apps. But also inclusive digital ID and government-to-person payment systems
- Why coronavirus will accelerate the fourth Industrial Revolution (The Economist)
The pandemic’s silver lining is the chance to experiment with technologies and co-operative approaches across borders that could lead to safer, more sustainable and more inclusive global futures.
- COVID-19 is disrupting a food industry already thrown into turmoil by climate change (UN Environment Program)
The COVID-19 pandemic together with droughts experienced in South East Asia is disrupting the food industry and rice production in particular, placing over half of the global rice production at risk.
- 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?
- 5 actions to help bring the most marginalized girls back to school after COVID-19 (Brookings Institution)
This article argues for radical inclusion in education systems across the world after the COVID-19 pandemic. It suggests five ways of doing this effectively.
- COVID-19 Discussion Paper #1: Gender & the COVID-19 Crisis in Conflict-Affected Contexts (Search for Common Ground)
This discussion paper provides a snapshot of the gendered impact of the current pandemic in fragile contexts. It identifies key risks for women and girls and provides recommendations for policymakers within donor agencies formulating their response to COVID-19.
- COVID-19: Women’s Leadership Sets the Example (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom)
This article explores how the approaches by women leaders to COVID-19 has been different than those of male leaders. It argues that women leaders show solidarity with their people, an approach that should be taken by all leaders.
- Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and COVID-19: The Complexities of Responding to “The Shadow Pandemic” (CARE)
COVID-19 creates a perfect storm of complications, whereby cases of GBV are likely to rise significantly, while at the same time the ability of survivors to seek help, or the capacity of providers to respond effectively, is more limited than ever. This Policy Brief explores what can be done to mitigate these effects.
- How “de-biasing” humanitarian organizations could lead to more gender-equitable programming during COVID-19 and beyond (Harvard Humanitarian Initiative)
This article argues that addressing gender biases in humanitarian organizations now could improve COVID-19 response efforts as well as other emergency response programming in the future.
Pandemic Specific Consequences and Responses (economic, health & social impacts)
- Conflict & Resilience Monitor (The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes)
This weeks’ ACCORD COVID-19 Conflict Monitor identifies twelve African countries that may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 related social unrest, and in some cases, a violent conflict.
- COVID-19 in South Asia: India and Pakistan’s regional responses and China’s regional ambitions (podcast) (International Institute for Strategic Studies )
This podcast explores India’s and Pakistan’s responses to COVID-19 and how this may affect their relationship with China and the broader region of South Asia.
- How Covid-19 restrictions and the economic consequences are likely to impact migrant smuggling and cross-border trafficking in persons to Europe and North America (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
COVID-19 travel and movement restrictions are not stopping the movement of people fleeing conflict, human rights abuses, violence and dangerous living conditions, while the economic consequences of the pandemic are likely to lead to an increase in smuggling of migrants and trafficking in person flows from the most affected countries to more affluent destinations.
- The Pandemic Exposes Dangers of the Informal Economy (Foreign Affairs)
The pandemic has deepened the precariousness of informal work in the US and OECD countries, just as it has in India and other developing countries. The informal sector, incl. gig work, arose out of decisions to dismantle welfare programmes, labour protection, reject or weaken universal health care.
- With the global focus on COVID-19 pandemic, measles remains a silent killer in parts of Africa (Doctors without Borders)
This article describes the devastating impact of measles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Chad. It argues that with international attention focused on COVID-19, the neglect of other illnesses could create another health crisis in these areas.
- 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.