Disrupt & Innovate

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #10

4th June 2020 by Thomas Howie and

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

      Cities and Urbanisation

      • COVID-19 and Shared Mobility: A New Normal (Urban Mobility Daily)
        The article lists external effects of COVID-19 on urban mobility as well as specific examples of urban design as opportunities to address the near term public health challenges and ensure a more environmentally sustainable future.
      • The Ecological Roots of Pandemics (Council n Foreign Relations)
        Even as politicians promote conspiracy theories on COVID-19’s emergence, its most likely origins lie in their longstanding negligence of environmental health especially with regards to rapid urbanisation.

      Civic Space and Human Rights

      • How do we protect children caught up in war and a pandemic? (World Vision)
        The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, it does not discriminate. It does, however, point out the impact of the failure of protecting civilians during the war. This article explains the vulnerability of children in these situations and what can be done to mitigate this.
      • How have people with disabilities been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? (The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes)
        Restrictions on human interactions have become mandatory in certain countries with imposed social distancing requirements. Many public services have become highly limited, if not completely halted; leaving persons with disabilities abandoned in terms of getting access to essential healthcare and social services.
      • The Anxiety of the Twenty Twenties: The Quest For Relevance of Civil Society Organisations in a Digital World (International Civil Society Centre)
        Global Angst plays into the hands of “Strong State” advocates. Even with limited room for manoeuvre, CSOs have to fight a disempowering gig economy and digital spaces where the individual is reduced to a consumer and/or worker with no attributes of a cyber citizen.

      Data and Digital

        Food security

        • COVID-19 and food protectionism (Vox)
          Although initial conditions in global food markets in the face of COVID-19 pandemic are good, disruptions across countries most affected could reduce global supplies of key staples. Escalating export restrictions would multiply the initial shock by a factor of three, with world food prices rising by up to 18% on average. Import food dependent countries would be most affected. Uncooperative trade policies could risk turning a health crisis into a food crisis.
        • South Asia at highest risk of civil unrest as food insecurity bites (Verisk Maplecroft)
          Asia experienced one of the world’s first COVID-induced food protests when residents of Manila took to the streets on 1 April. Food insecurity has since played a role in protests across the region, including in India and Bangladesh. We expect that these initial protests are a sign of much bigger problems to come.


        • COVID-19 and systems change: some reflections from the field (School of System Change)
          Four systemic practices are showing up in how systems change practitioners are deploying analysis and proposals around COVID-19: 1. working across multiple timescales, 2. engaging multiple perspectives, 3. experimenting, struggling, failing and learning, and 4. tuning into power.
        • The Post-Corona Revolution (Robert Bosch Foundation)
          In his essay, Daniel Hamilton analyses the impact of the pandemic taking into account the new stages of the ongoing global-scale revolutions, namely “the three fundamental kernels of our existence: the atom, the bit, and the gene”.
        • World Order after COVID-19 (Center for Strategic & International Studies)
          CSIS Risk and Foresight Group Director Sam Brannen asked four of his International Security Program colleagues to take the long view on how COVID-19 could affect geopolitics out to 2025-2030 and beyond.


              • Systemic Governing – Applied systems thinking in practice (OECD Guest blog)
                Seeing governance in systemic terms makes what might otherwise seem impossibly complicated understandable, able to be acted upon, and open to change. This blog looks at how systemic governing is needed to produce and enact a new model of governance.

              Multilateralism and international cooperation

              • Europe’s battle lines are drawn at a uniquely perilous moment (Brookings Institution )
                This article explains the battle lines that have been drawn in Europe due to the COVID-19 response of different nation-states and argues that solidarity, instead of individualism, is the best way to handle the current crisis.

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

              Populism and Authoritarianism

              • The pandemic creates ideal conditions for the rise of populism (The South African Institute of International Affairs)
                In moments of crises, populists make majorities feel like minorities under siege. COVID-19 has afforded populists a biological crisis with which to work and cement themselves onto the political landscape. This has left many asking: Will the coronavirus be populism’s next victim?

                    3. Policy

                • Advocating for Age in an Age of Uncertainty (Stabford Social Innovation Review)
                  How the COVID-19 crisis is amplifying ageism, and how advocates can push back: 1. appeal to the value of justice, 2. define ageism and show people how to address it, and 3. create a sense of solidarity.
                • Donors are ignoring hygiene in the fight against COVID-19 (WaterAid)
                  Despite being critical in the fight against COVID-19, efforts to improve hygiene are mostly absent in donor commitments to tackle the coronavirus, according to WaterAid. Instead, the focus is on vaccines.


                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.