Disrupt & Innovate

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #12

1st July 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.

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 Better World Ahead Means Shaping Emerging Narratives Now (SSIR)
    The groups that set the narratives about what happened during the COVID-19 crisis, what to do now, and what’s next will have outsized influence on who we hold responsible, who gets help, and what we do moving forward.
  • Adaptive Context Analysis during Covid-19 – Listening to Local Voices During a Pandemic (Global Policy – World Vision blog)
    With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic two key tenets for humanitarian aid that often go together, context analysis and travel, are now in tension. World Vision’s Johan Eldebo shows how they’ve sought to overcome it by balancing the necessity for remote management with the ongoing need for the locally informed analysis.
  • Challenging the “‘White Gaze’ of Development” during COVID-19 (Podcast) (Oxford Society for International Development)
    Liberian academic, activist and author Robtel Neajai Pailey, uses race as a lens of analysis to interrogate assumptions that Western whiteness and modernity are the primary signifiers of progress and expertise. In exploring the pitfalls of adopting a “colour blind” outlook on development, it considers how scholars, policymakers and practitioners can challenge the ‘white gaze’ by imagining “a better world beyond flattened curves”.
  • COVID-19: Human development on course to decline this year for the first time since 1990 (UNDP)
    The United Nations Development Program predicts a decline in global human development – education, health, and living standards – for the first time in 30 years.
  • Embracing Innovation in Government Global Trends 2020: Innovative COVID-19 Solutions (OECD Observatory of Public Sector Innovation)
    OPSI has identified five key themes driving public sector innovation efforts during the crisis: 1. Rapid acceleration of digital innovation and transformation, 2. Seeking bottom-up solutions and insights, 3. Social solidarity and caring, 4. Reducing the spread through virus tracking and adaptive action, and 5. Forging a path to recovery.
  • How are Civil Society Organizations adapting in the pandemic? (From Poverty to Power FP2P)
    Diverse stories on the roles of civil society and civic agency during the pandemic. While many actions focus on the basic and immediate needs that an emergency response requires, many others hint at gradual shifts and emerging areas of the agency.
  • How the Coronavirus Tests European Democracy (Carnegie Endowment Europe)
    The Coronavirus pandemic is prompting contrasting trends in European democracy. While the crisis is aggravating many stresses that afflict democracy in Europe, it is also propelling democratic efforts in a number of areas. Several articles including: Coronavirus and European Civil Society, Technocracy and Populism After the Coronavirus, Digital Divides and the Coronavirus.
  • Humanitarian Financing Is Failing the COVID-19 Frontlines  (Center for Global Development)
    Longstanding weaknesses in the humanitarian business model are undermining the COVID-19 response in fragile and conflict-affected states. Extensive delays, poor mechanisms for tracking disbursement of funds from intermediaries to implementers, and persistent obstacles to financing local actors are preventing funds from reaching organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight.
  • In many countries, the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating, not slowing (The Conversation)
    Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating. While some countries such as Australia and New Zealand have managed to flatten the curve, in many other parts of the world the number of cases has continued to reach new highs.
  • Latin America sees the largest decline in peacefulness as COVID-19 poses a further threat (Devex)
    South America is the region of the world where peace deteriorated most last year, followed by Central America and the Caribbean, according to the “Global Peace Index 2020” report, with peacefulness expected to drop globally as a result of COVID-19.
  • New UNESCO report shows COVID-19 leaving vulnerable children behind (Devex)
    The “2020 Global Education Monitoring Report” from UNESCO shows progress is slowing on the global out-of-school rate for primary and secondary school-age children, and COVID-19 will only make it worse.
  • Sector boundaries are blurring, says CARE secretary-general (Devex)
    COVID-19 has “deeply transformed” the humanitarian and development sectors, potentially blurring the boundaries for good, according to the new secretary-general of CARE International.
  • Sierra Leone faces coronavirus as rainy season hits – local disaster planning will be key (The Conversation)
    Overlapping disasters of COVID-19 and flooding could be a serious threat for Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown.
  • The Global Economic Outlook During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Changed World (World Bank)
    The pandemic is expected to plunge most countries into recession in 2020, with per capita income contracting in the largest fraction of countries globally since 1870.
  • The view from space: See how dramatically COVID-19 changed the world (Fast Company)
    A new dashboard from three space agencies shows the startling impact of the coronavirus pandemic on everything from air quality to asparagus farming.
  • What kind of research should inform COVID responses? (From Poverty to Power FP2P)
    If we agree that evidence-informed policy and practice are good things, we need to think about what kind of research gets commissioned. We are fast reaching the end of the road for COVID expert opinion based on what was happening in last data rounds before COVID, and need to shift gears to investing in new data.
  • When the West Falls Into Crisis (Webinar) (The New Humanitarian)
    An important conversation on rethinking humanitarianism in the midst of #BlackLivesMatter and COVID-19. The globalisation of vulnerability – made clear by the Coronavirus pandemic and a global anti-racism movement – is putting into question traditional conceptions of humanitarian aid, too. Will this historic moment force a rethink of international solidarity? Is the international nature of aid inherently problematic? TNH Director Heba Aly posed these questions to panellists from across the aid sector.
  • World Bank has ‘stretched’ its capacity in coronavirus response, Malpass says (Devex)
    The World Bank has reached the limit of support it can provide to low- and middle-income countries recovering from the pandemic, even while acknowledging those nations require more resources than are currently available, the institution’s president says.

    2. Strategic

      Biodiversity and Climate Change

        Cities and Urbanisation

        Data and Digital

        • Artificial Intelligence and the Fight Against COVID-19 (Nesta)
          AI could play a powerful role in tackling the pandemic, from helping to discover new drugs and vaccines to testing and predicting the spread of infection. But new Nesta analysis of the quality of AI research has found some significant limitations in how it is currently being applied.


          • A post-pandemic world is unlikely to focus on meeting need over human greed (The Conversation)
            Political and economic power-holders will strive for a return to pre-pandemic ‘normality’.
          • Exploring the impact of COVID-19 in Africa: A scenario analysis to 2030 (Institute of Security Studies)
            This new study assesses the likely impact of COVID-19 on Africa over the next decade. Comparing three scenarios on growth and mortality with the continent’s pre-pandemic development projections, it examines impacts on average incomes, poverty levels and SDG targets, and how to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience.
          • Martin Wolf – The World After the Pandemic (Podcast) (How To Academy)
            The world after 2020 will be very different from the world we left. But how? Will the pandemic lead to the greatest upheaval in the social contract since the second world war, the end of globalisation, the beginning of the Asian century? Will it lead to tax rises, inflation, further austerity? Hear from the world’s preeminent financial journalist.
          • Navigating the transition to sustainability amidst new forces, positive and negative (Forum for the Future)
            Caroline Ashley, Global Director of System Change Programmes at Forum for the Future, examines the emergent positive and negative forces actively shaping the post-COVID-19 reality and reasserts the need for a just transition.
          • Optimistic or pessimistic about Covid-19? No need to choose (From Poverty to Power FP2P)
            Jordi Vaquer, Director for Global Foresight and Analysis at the Open Society Foundations, argues this is a time when defenders of open society can neither afford to sit comfortably upon the vindication of their analysis by events, nor to simply spring into action following their mood, their gut and their time-tested handbook. It is the moment to be bold, imaginative and thorough in our thinking about the future.
          • Rethink: The edge of change (Podcast) (BBC World Service)
            How the coronavirus pandemic has created new opportunities to change our world.
          • The Long Shadow Of The Future (Noema)
            The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how valuable it is for governments to have operational expertise, plan for the long-term and socialise certain risks.

            Multilateralism and international cooperation

            • Humanitarian Financing Is Failing the COVID-19 Frontlines (Centre for Global Development)
              Longstanding weaknesses in the humanitarian business model are undermining the COVID-19 response in fragile and conflict affected states.Now should be an opportunity for international NGOs to rethink their role in humanitarian delivery entering into subcontracting relationship for operational delivery.

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

                 3. Policy

            • And now some questions for China’s TikTok (EU Observer)
              The EU named China as responsible for targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns around COVID-19. Given the questions about the extent to which TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, propagates censorship, TikTok’s membership in the EU Code of Practice risks prematurely legitimising the platform as a responsible information space actor.
            • Can the AU protect citizens against COVID-19 abuses? (Institute for Security Studies)
              The African Peer Review Mechanism’s pandemic governance guidelines are useful, but do they go far enough?
            • COVID-19 & the Risks to Children in Urban Contexts (Policy Brief) (World Vision)
              Residents of urban slums, informal settlements and low-income neighbourhoods endure living conditions that make it challenging to protect against COVID-19. This policy brief looks at how World Vision is responding to anticipate and experience the impacts in urban areas and assess the needs of the most vulnerable. It provides recommendations for what governments, the UN and other NGOs can do to lessen their suffering.
            • Left out & Unaccounted for: How COVID-19 is exposing inequalities in cities (World Vision)
              At World Vision, we are responding to COVID-19 in over 253 cities across all regions in both stable and fragile contexts. COVID-19 is currently a trending global challenge, but for urban hotspots, it is one of many. Now more than ever, the international community must amplify its voice in calling for accelerated actions to alleviate poverty and inequality in urban areas, making cities “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (SDG 11).
            • Survey: Advocacy in the Time of COVID-19 (Africa) (Advocacy Accelerator )
              The Advocacy Accelerator is keen to take the pulse of how change-makers within the advocacy ecosystem in Africa are being impacted by and responding to the current global pandemic COVID-19. The results of this survey will be shared with all who participate (organised by country) in order to inform your advocacy programme planning.

                 4. Operational

            • The Safe People + Data Initiative (Dobility)
              This new initiative provides methodologies and resources for safer data collection, in response to COVID-19 and the growing need for safety-focused innovation. It offers tools and insights to support safer methods of in-person data collection and alternative methods of reducing in-person interactions and collecting data remotely.
            • Dynamic Accountability and COVID-19 (Global Standard for CSO Accountability)
              Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many countries have imposed restrictive measures to ensure that the spread of the disease can be contained. In this new reality, Dynamic Accountability is taking a different shape. This post suggests some key takeaways and tips for organisations who wish to practice dynamic accountability during this difficult time.
            • What does Accountability Look Like During Times of Disruption? (Restless Development)
              The disruption caused by COVID19 is a chance to forge new ways of working, that put accountability practices and decentralised organisation at their heart, says Katie Fuhs.

            Communications Student Assistant

            International Civil Society Centre