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
- 4 Non-Obvious Trends That Matter During This Pandemic (Singularity Hub)
A non-obvious trend is a “unique curated observation of the accelerating present.” Four trends being amplified by the current situation are: (i) revivalism, (ii) human mode, (iii) instant knowledge and (iv) flux commerce.
- Civic Freedoms and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Snapshot of Restrictions and Attacks (CIVICUS)
CIVICUS has documented several alarming civic space trends since the pandemic: (i) unjustified restrictions on access to information and censorship; (ii) detentions of activists for disseminating critical information; (iii) crackdowns on human rights defenders and media outlets, and (iv) violations of the right to privacy and overly broad emergency powers.
- COVID-19 has blown away the myth about ‘First’ and ‘Third’ world competence (The Conversation)
One of the planet’s – and Africa’s – deepest prejudices is being demolished by the way countries handle COVID-19.
- COVID-19 strategies Africa can learn from (Institute of Security Studies)
The United States’ failing coronavirus response experiment holds some important lessons for Africa.
- COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 26 May (World Economic Forum)
This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected. Today’s top stories: WHO warns of second COVID-19 peak; trial of hydroxychloroquine suspended; rights group warns of impact on children; and how to stay safe while flying.
- Gender Data Series: Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls (Devex/Facebook)
Devex and Facebook have launched this series of 10 practical virtual events to create a better understanding of the gender-related issues highlighted by the current pandemic and to share important lessons learned about how data can help inform better responses to the current crisis.
- Grassroots innovation and the COVID crisis (Podcast) (Nesta)
In this fortnightly podcast series, Nesta will explore how organisations it supports are working tirelessly to shape their communities for the better in response to the pandemic and what it might mean for their cause in a post-COVID world.
- In Senegal, a new COVID-19 test will cost just $1 and take 10 minutes for results (Fast Company)
A coronavirus test in the U.S. can cost hundreds of dollars and take hours, or even days, to process in a lab. But a new test that will be produced in Senegal will cost around $1—and one version of the test gives results in only 10 minutes.
- New media voices are telling Kenya’s COVID-19 stories – from the ground up (The Conversation)
In Kenya, the entry of journalistic “strangers” is increasing the possibility of hearing a greater range of candid, critical, citizen-centric stories. These can either be provocative or unsettling in their violation of standard journalistic ethics and norms. But they speak to the disruptions in journalism thriving in the digital space and are likely to last well beyond COVID-19.
- The Economic Impact of COVID-19 around the World: Remittances, Updated Growth and Poverty Projections, and the Reintroduction of Barter in Fiji (Center for Global Development)
Here is a roundup of the most recent analysis from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean, divided into sections: growth and income analysis, sector and sub-population analysis, economic policy responses, and commentary.
- Three ways human rights groups can create hope during COVID-19: An OGR Guide on Hope-Based Communications (Open Global Rights)
Here are three simple steps human rights groups can use to tell their own story in their response to the pandemic, and to any populist attempts to take advantage of it: (i) talk about community, not crisis, (ii) focus on collective action and (iii) start telling a confident story of tomorrow, today.
- What African Nations Are Teaching the West About Fighting the Coronavirus (Tne New Yorker)
African governments, unlike their Western counterparts, aren’t relying on common sense. Judging from the numbers, and interpreting them with the scientific information that’s understood so far, Africa has made the better bet.
Biodiversity and Climate Change
- Coronavirus Crisis: Exploring the Human Impact on Nature (Chatham House)
This interview explores the ways in which human activity has changed nature, which increases the risk for a global pandemic as it increases the likelihood of pathogens transmitting from humans to animals and ways in which economies can become more sustainable after the crisis.
- Migration is a safety net during climate change disasters (Institute for Security Studies)
With climate threats high across Africa, COVID-19 restrictions may prevent people from moving as a survival strategy.
- Migration is a safety net during climate change disasters (Institute for Security Studies)
Movement is a critical resilience strategy for communities affected by climate change. Climate threats are currently high across much of Africa, with floods, droughts and the biggest locust outbreak in generations. Increased restrictions on movement due to COVID-19 may intensify the effects and put people at even more risk.
- The COVID-19 pandemic is not a break for nature – let’s make sure there is one after the crisis (World Economic Forum)
This article argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has negative environmental consequences, especially in rural areas, and suggests ways in which these could be mitigated during and after the crisis.
Cities and Urbanisation
- Building Better Cities After COVID-19 (Podcast) (Exponential View)
How do we build better cities after the coronavirus crisis? The World Bank’s Sameh Wahba joins Azeem Azhar to discuss how the World Bank partners with technologists to help cities on the frontline of the pandemic, and how the dynamism of urban density can be harnessed to build the livable and inclusive cities of the future.
- Coronavirus will reshape our cities – we just don’t know how yet (The Guardian)
The development of cities has been by affected by the disease for centuries, so what legacy will COVID-19 leave on urban life?
Civic Space and Human Rights
- Coronavirus response in West Africa and the Sahel: Human rights must not be forgotten (The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes)
This article analyses the positive response of West African countries, countries in the Sahel, and the global community to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes responsible multilateralism and prioritising inclusion and equality.
- Fit for the future: Can we emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis? (Alliance Magazine)
Civil society was not ready for COVID-19. Benjamin Bellegy (WINGS), Chris Worman (TechSoup) and Lysa John (CIVICUS) discuss the investments needed in civil society and its philanthropic and technical infrastructure, and the actions we must take to emerge wiser and stronger from the current crisis and to be prepared for crises to come.
Conflict and Humanitarian
- How the coronavirus increases terrorism threats in the developing world (The Conversation)
As the disease wreaks its havoc in areas poorly equipped to handle its spread, terrorism likely will increase there as well. Recent research identifies a potential link between the pandemic and an uptick in violence, as food insecurity makes citizens angry at their governments.
Data and Digital
- Call by global leaders: work together now to stop cyberattacks on the healthcare sector (Humanitarian Law & Policy)
This article calls on governments to take a stand against cyber attacks on hospitals and healthcare facilities during the pandemic, as this has become an increasing risk to the safety of healthcare staff and patients.
- Cybercrime and COVID-19: A concern for financial stability during the pandemic (The South African Institute of International Affairs)
Cybercrime has long posed a significant risk for financial stability in African countries given limited capacity and attention to managing cyber risk. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic exacerbates existing challenges.
- The great unwinding: Charting post-COVID futures for the internet (Nesta)
This piece explores competing forces and the different futures for the Internet they might lead us to: will we see the incumbent tech giants use COVID-19 to further solidify their power or are we entering a period of more government control? Could the push for further centralisation be counterbalanced by an emergence of more bottom-up, grassroots redistribution efforts?
- Healthcare will never be the same: 8 experts on the future of medicine around the globe (Fast Company)
The leaders of the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Doctors Without Borders, and more tell us how healthcare is being transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Out of the Belly of Hell: COVID-19 and the humanisation of globalisation (openDemocracy)
Anthony Barnett’s lengthy essay argues that the pandemic has swallowed neoliberal globalisation. The long-term effect of the 1968 uprising has created “humanisation” which creates the opportunity to become globalisation’s defining influence.
- The case for degrowth in a time of pandemic (The Ecologist)
We need to build systems capable of scaling back production in ways that do not cause loss of livelihood or life to be more resilient to crises.
- The Pandemic’s Geopolitical Aftershocks Are Coming (The Atlantic)
Western capitals aren’t just worried about the risk of a resurgence in coronavirus cases. Beyond the epidemiological challenges lies a slowly amassing threat that is not pathological in nature, but economic, political, and military. This is the geopolitical second wave, and its power is already starting to concern Western leaders.
- What are the weak signals of Covid-driven transformation, and will we hear them? (From Poverty to Power)
The Covid pandemic is bound to be a game-changing critical juncture for some issues in some places – maybe in all places, who knows. But what kind of transformations and how soon will we know?
- Global Health Security and Pandemics: COVID-19 and Gender Inequality (video) (Mile End Institute)
In this video, Professor Sophie Harman explores the gendered nature of pandemics and the extent to which the coronavirus crisis impacts on women in terms of health, but also in terms of personal and economic security.
- Governing Africa during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic (Webinar) (Institute for Security Studies)
How will COVID-19 compound Africa’s governance challenges, and is the continent prepared? This seminar discusses current governance realities on the continent, lessons for African governments and what to expect post-COVID-19.
Multilateralism and international cooperation
- African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) Report comment: towards a new post-COVID-19 world order? (Institute for Security Studies)
International relations experts agree the pandemic will be a major catalyst for new dynamics in the international system. The resulting shifts have the potential to redefine inter-state relations and global governance in ways that require Africa and the global South, in general, to reposition themselves. We are likely to see increased competition between the US and China, rising nationalism and weak global leadership.
- Where is the power in the pandemic? (podcast) (Oxfam)
This introductory episode of the Power in the Pandemic podcast explores power structures, decolonisation, social movements and narratives.
Pandemic Specific Consequences and Responses (economic, health & social impacts)
- A novel idea: integrating urban and rural safety nets in Africa during the pandemic (The Conversation)
Many African governments lack the financial and administrative capacity to launch new large-scale formal safety net programs. But they may still be able to run smaller programs which help people safely migrate back to more food-secure rural areas, simultaneously reducing the risk of transmission.
- Coronavirus weekly: where next for globalisation after the crisis? (The Conversation)
COVID-19 is the starting point for a reconfiguration of the global system. Academics in The Conversation’s network analyse the impact of the pandemic on globalisation.
- Migrant Remittances Will Plummet. Here Is What That Means for Global Development (Center for Global Development)
A new wave of this global crisis will hit developing countries later this year. Not through the virus itself, not through economic shutdowns inside those countries, but through slashing the money that international migrants send home: workers’ remittances.
- The African Continental Free Trade Area and measures to facilitate trade could significantly mitigate COVID-19’s economic impact in Africa (Brookings Institution)
This article explores the effects that COVID-19 will have on African economies and how these can be mitigated by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement if it is implemented as soon as possible.
- Time for a rights-based global economic stimulus to tackle COVID-19 (Open Global Rights)
During this pandemic, economic rescue packages—nationally and globally—must protect the socio-economic rights of those most at risk.
Populism and Authoritarianism
- Culling the Herd: A Modest Proposal (London Review of Books)
A provocative commentary by Eli Zaretsky stating that the poor masses were wilfully deprived of health care in the same way it was made to believe that it had no right entitled to jobs, housing and good schools.
- In a pandemic, be a positive disruptor and not an ambulance chaser (Open Global Rights)
In moments of crisis, it is critical that social justice advocates remain focused on ethical and transformative advocacy, not reactive short-term change.
- Can we understand COVID-19 fast enough – and well enough – to make a difference? (From Poverty to Power)
For a relatively short period, with COVID-19, there is scope for aid actors to work collectively to embed more locally-led, politically-informed and adaptive types of monitoring, evaluation, research and learning (MERL) in aid and development practice.
- COVID-19 Rapid Gender Analysis (Multiple countries) (CARE)
Rapid gender analyses (RGA) seeking to explore the implications of COVID-19 in Uganda, Malawi, West Africa and Asia-Pacific to inform current CARE programming in these regions, and serve as reference to any other stakeholders working in these areas with similar target groups.
- COVID-19: How leaders can create a new and better normal (World Economic Forum)
The ability to embed rapid and nimble decision-making into company cultures will be equally important through crisis recovery and into the next normal. But managing in this new and unfamiliar environment demands more from leaders.
- Leading a Global Team Through Crisis Means Focusing on Local Details (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
Three steps every global organization should take to care for staff, and build resilience during COVID-19 and beyond: Step 1: Gather Accurate Local Pictures of the Crisis, Step 2: Focus on Team Members’ Mental Health and Well-Being, Step 3: Heed Local Constraints and Priorities.
- To face COVID-19, the human rights community must first protect its own workers (Open Global Rights/CIVICUS)
The COVID-19 crisis should be a wake-up call to civil society to strengthen the social protection measures in our own industry.
- Why Informal Social Protection could be the missing piece in the COVID Response (From Poverty to Power)
Informal social protection practices are deeply embedded within communities and humanitarian actors should consider how these existing support mechanisms that are based on social connectedness and trust could be harnessed in humanitarian aid.