Disrupt & Innovate

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #11

17th June 2020 by Robert Vysoudil

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

        Civic Space and Human Rights

        • Aggravating circumstances: How coronavirus impacts human trafficking (Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime)
          Poverty, lack of social or economic opportunity and limited labour protections are the main root causes and drivers that render people vulnerable or cause them to fall victim to human trafficking. This unprecedented crisis will likely exacerbate all of those factors and result in developments that must be noted by anti-human-trafficking communities and stakeholders.
        • Coronavirus and the right to online political participation (Open Global Rights)
          Making access to the internet a human right can address inequalities in access to public discourse, especially where free speech is limited.
        • COVID-19 and the politics of the year of the nurse (The South African Institute of International Affairs)
          The challenges critical medical personnel are currently facing all lead back to a central question of care. There are three main challenges these critical workers face: insufficient supply of necessary protective equipment on a global scale; growing hostility towards them; and difficulties with access to childcare.
        • Southern Africa: Persons with albinism especially vulnerable in the face of COVID-19 (Amnesty International )
          This article argues that South African governments must ensure the protection and well-being of persons with albinism, who are increasingly vulnerable amid the COVID-19 crisis as lockdowns across the region hinder access to healthcare facilities and skin cancer clinics as well as vital sunscreen.
        • Will COVID-19 increase religious hostilities and discrimination? (Open Global Rights )
          COVID-19 and its impacts may hit some religious minorities disproportionately hard, exacerbating economic inequalities, social hostilities and discrimination.

        Data and Digital


        • OECD Economic Outlook: The world economy on a tightrope (OECD)
          COVID-19 has triggered the most severe economic recession in nearly a century and is causing enormous damage to people’s health, jobs and well-being. The Outlook focuses on two equally probable scenarios – one in which a second wave of infections, with renewed lock-downs, hits before the end of 2020, and one in which another major outbreak is avoided.


        • Future shock: 25 Education trends post COVID-19 (Foresight for Development)
          School closures carry high social and economic costs for people across communities, with a particularly severe for the most vulnerable and marginalised families. The resulting disruptions exacerbate already existing disparities within the education system but also in other aspects of their lives. This blog summarises 25 related trends from UNESCO analysis.

        Food security

        • COVID-19 recovery is a chance to improve the African food system (The Conversation)
          What we see happening as a result of actions to contain COVID-19 is like a global natural disaster. It’s also an opportunity for a different kind of recovery. Going back to “business as usual” investments in agriculture and food systems could reproduce those systems’ inequities. Instead, recovery efforts should be geared towards creating a better future.


              Gender Equality

              • COVID-19: “Who is Skilled and Who is Unskilled in this Pandemic Moment?” (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom)
                In this article, Cynthia Enloe realises that there are so many times in life when one finds one lacks the relevant skills to make sense of, and to grapple effectively with a pressing condition. That repeated realisation has made her think about skills – and what “counts” as a skill, and who gets to do the “counting.”
              • COVID-19: Making our Recovery Green and Feminist (Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom)
                This article explores the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the environment and advises that the recovery from the pandemic should be feminist and green in nature.
              • Rape cases spike in South Sudan as girls and women left vulnerable during COVID-19 (Plan International)
                A spate of rape cases in South Sudan has exposed the extreme risks girls and women have been left to face in COVID-19 pandemic, warns Plan International.


              • This global pandemic could transform humanitarianism forever. Here’s how (The New Humanitarian)
                As the crisis born of this global pandemic has evolved, some of the promises of deep transformation in a humanitarian aid sector that has long resisted reform have proven overly optimistic – at least so far. Here are 13 ways the pandemic may change the future of humanitarianism – and the forces of resistance that may get in the way.

              Multilateralism and international cooperation

              • COVID-19 responses expose gaps in global governance (The South African Institute of International Affairs)
                This report analyses the effectiveness of the WHO and explores the ways in which the pandemic has exposed not only how far the world is from effective and unified global governance, but also a crisis of confidence in the institutions expected to guide international action and cooperation.
              • Tackling COVID-19 as a Grand Challenge (Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society)
                How does the COVID-19 crisis relate to other grand challenges and how should we deal with, such as climate change?

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

              • Epidemics and Social Observation: Why Africa Needs a Different Approach to COVID-19 (African Arguments)
                In the absence of a vaccine, the main tool for control of COVID-19 is human behavioural change. Social scientists are not fully agreed on what determines behavioural change, but there is a broad consensus that individual agency is influenced by social factors. It matters what your family, friends and neighbours think.
              • Will Patents stop COVID drugs from saving lives? (From Poverty to Power)
                The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a global race of public- and private-led research to develop vaccines and treatments. Will patents hinder access to the products it generates? Comparison with HIV/AIDS indicated access problems may mainly affect middle-income countries facing higher prices. Low-income countries will likely receive drugs at discounted prices, and with governments and philanthropic donors covering the costs.
              • Youth or consequences: Put youth at the center of COVID-19 recovery (Brookings Institution)
                This article argues that to head off the worst repercussions of this youth unemployment challenge in the wake of the coronavirus, we must act now, focusing on three critical issues, education, engagement and employment.

              Politics & Governance

              • 6 experts on how capitalism will emerge after COVID-19 (Fast Company)
                We have an unprecedented opportunity to rein in capitalism’s excesses and reshape our democracy. Here’s how business leaders and experts from MIT, Harvard, and more would tackle the biggest problems. What’s been lost—and what could be gained—in the new world order?

                   3. Policy

              • Ensuring women’s representation in COVID-19 policymaking (Online event) (Devex)
                This 1-hour virtual event discussed why there’s an urgent need to integrate women in COVID-19 policymaking and highlight some of the work that has already been done to advance their voices in not only the response to this pandemic, but also long-term recovery efforts.
              • It’s Not Just About Health: Four Lessons From Ebola for the COVID-19 Response in Conflict-Affected Countries (Peacelab.blog / Search for Common Ground)
                Lessons from Search for Common Ground’s response to the Ebola and COVID-19 epidemics: Support civil society in violence prevention and trust-building measures, provide adequate training for security actors, and ensure the meaningful inclusion of local communities.
              • Mining industry profits from pandemic (The Ecologist)
                More than 300 organisations from around the world have released an open-statement condemning the ways that the mining industry and numerous governments are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to manufacture new mining opportunities and enhance their damaged reputations.
              • NGOs call for continued support for transparency and accountability
                This letter calls on providers of development assistance to continue to support transparency, accountability and open government during COVID-19 and the global economic crisis. The aim is to have it published in the media and to distribute widely through our online tools and networks once published. NGOs working on transparency, accountability and open government can sign here.
              • Strongest Together: An NGO Consortia View on Structural Issues in the Humanitarian Response to COVID-19 (White paper)
                COVID-19 has aggravated previously deteriorating humanitarian conditions and increasingly complex operational environments for frontline responders, prompting new operational challenges to emerge. InterAction has partnered with nongovernmental organization (NGO) consortia in 13 countries globally to draft this Working Paper delineating these challenges.
              • With attacks against health workers on the rise, advocates call for action (Devex )
                Attacks against health workers have increased under the strain of COVID-19, according to a cohort of medical and humanitarian organizations. In a joint declaration, they call for governments to do more than talk about it.

                   4. Operational

              Communications Student Assistant

              International Civil Society Centre