Disrupt & Innovate

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #14

30th July 2020 by Thomas Howie

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

    • Cancelled, postponed, virtual: COVID-19’s impact on human rights oversight (Open Global Rights)
      The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for nonprofits’ services while damaging their finances and staff. What can history tell us about surviving this crisis, and how can philanthropy help?
    • Combatting COVID-19 disinformation on online platforms (OECD)
      Disinformation and misinformation about COVID-19 are quickly and widely disseminated across the Internet, reaching and potentially influencing many people. This policy brief derives four key actions that governments and platforms can take to counter COVID-19 disinformation on platforms, namely: 1) supporting a multiplicity of independent fact-checking organisations; 2) ensuring human moderators are in place to complement technological solutions; 3) voluntarily issuing transparency reports about COVID-19 disinformation; and 4) improving users’ media, digital and health literacy skills.
    • COVID-19 Aftershocks: A Perfect Storm (World Vision International)
      This report looks at the impacts of COVID-19 relating to violence on girls and boys. We predict a major spike in the cases of children experiencing physical, emotional and sexual violence, both now and in the months and years to come. Up to 85 million more girls and boys worldwide may be exposed to physical, sexual and/or emotional violence over three months as a result of COVID-19 quarantine.
    • COVID-19 Aftershocks: Out of time (World Vision International)
      Millions of parents and caregivers have lost incomes and jobs due to COVID-19, forcing them to expose their children to harmful and dangerous circumstances, such as begging or child marriage. World Vision has conducted rapid assessments in 24 countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia confirming alarming predictions of increased child hunger, violence, and poverty due to the economic impact of COVID-19
    • COVID-19 Aftershocks: Secondary impacts threaten more children’s lives than disease itself (World Vision International)
      As many as 30 million children are at risk of disease and death because of the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. World Vision’s Aftershocks report considers what would happen if the devastating secondary impacts of the 2015-2016 Ebola outbreak on children were replicated in the 24 most fragile countries covered by the UN’s COVID-19 humanitarian appeal.
    • Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2020 (OECD)
      New report summarising innovative responses by governments to the COVID-19 crisis, drawing upon the over 400 cases and initiatives, under five key themes: Theme 1: Rapid acceleration of digital innovation and transformation, Theme 2: Seeking bottom-up solutions and insights, Theme 3: Social solidarity and caring, Theme 4: Reducing the spread through virus tracking and adaptive action, and Theme 5: Forging a path to recovery.
    • Fighting COVID-19, Building Peace – a civil society perspective. What Local Peacebuilders Say about COVID-19, Civic Space, Fragility and Drivers of Conflict (Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS))
      This report provides a comprehensive outlook on the lived experiences of local peacebuilders as they face down COVID-19 and its consequences. It explores how the pandemic has affected civil society’s capacity to operate, how local peacebuilders view the pandemic as occasioning violence and stimulating drivers of conflict, and the dearth of coordination between government and civil society.
    • Is the explosion of COVID-19 conspiracies changing people’s real-world behavior? (Fast Company)
      More than 20 million people saw a video filled with lies about COVID-19. Researchers still don’t know how this kind of viral misinformation is impacting people’s willingness to wear masks—or to get an eventual vaccine.
    • ODI Bites: Africa beyond Covid-19 (ODI)
      Early signs from Africa are that in many countries, the response to Covid-19 has been effective. But contrary to commonplace narratives about aiding Africa, recent events highlight opportunities for Europe and elsewhere to learn from Africa.
    • Sensemaking possibilities #2: tools and analyses to support local and global sensemaking (OECD)
      What are some of the different narratives and perspectives emerging from or, or prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated crises? How do we explore them and make sense of them?
    • The Current and Potential Impact of COVID-19 on Nonprofits (SSIR)
      The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for nonprofits’ services while damaging their finances and staff. What can history tell us about surviving this crisis, and how can philanthropy help?
    • Updated forecasts quantify the impact of COVID-19 on Africa (Institute of Security Studies (ISS))
      Compared to pre-COVID-19 projections, Africa’s economy will be between US$349 billion and US$643 billion smaller in 2030. As such, beyond being a health pandemic, COVID-19 is set to create a generational set-back for development in Africa.
    • Urban Thinkers Campus – COVID-19 & the role of youth in cities (Webinar) (World Vision International and Plan International)
      This webinar included youth representatives from Bangladesh, Brazil and Peru and from organizations working with this population segment on how they are involved in prevention, response and recovery efforts to address COVID-19 while contributing to long term outcomes contributing to more liveable cities. Password: $C=Nr89H
    • Why African countries are reluctant to take up COVID-19 debt relief (The Conversation)
      African countries should tread carefully over the debt relief offered by multilateral institutions and other lenders. It could prove very costly in the medium to long term.

    2. Strategic

        Biodiversity and Climate Change

          Civic Space and Human Rights

          • COVID-19 has opened the floodgates for smart cities—whether we like it or not (Fast Company)
            The conditions created by the pandemic will make it easier for local governments to adopt technological solutions.
          • Putting cities at the centre of the post-pandemic world (C40 Cities)
            Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, highlights why both the global health and the global climate crises have galvanized cities’ central roles as global actors.
          • Priorities for mayors for a green post-COVID recovery: global perspective (C40 Cities Knowledge Hub)
            This collection of articles is intended to give a global outlook and shape regionally-appropriate responses for accelerating a green recovery in cities. Whilst there are regional nuances and differences, all experts agree that the response to the climate crisis and this global pandemic must be inextricably linked.

          • Migrant smugglers are profiting from travel restrictions (Institute for Security Studies (ISS))
            Across the world, over 60 000 mobility restrictions to contain COVID-19 have been imposed. Travel constraints, border closures and reduced travel modes severely disrupted smuggling markets. After an initial slowdown though, smugglers are reviving and adapting to meet changing needs.
          • The Dangers Ahead: COVID-19, Authoritarianism and Democracy (LSE)
            LSE article on trend towards authoritarianism and related threats and potential responses. It describes the broader political context CSOs are working in and provides some suggestions for how to counter some negative threats trends Four threats: ‘Deglobalisation’ takes a nationalist form, less democratic participation, more centralisation, surveillance state and erosion of human rights, inequality goes unchallenged.

          Data and Digital

          • Our post-COVID future should be as much about welfare as it is about tech (Open Global Rights)
            Surveillance thrives in unequal environments, and the pandemic has increased inequality. We need a welfare state for our digital information economy.
          • How COVID-19 exposed AI’s limitations (Nesta)
            As COVID-19 spread, a multitude of AI models were put to work in a bid to tackle it. The results to date have been largely disappointing. Instead, the unlikely hero emerging from the ashes of this pandemic is the crowd. Crowds of scientists sharing data, of local makers manufacturing PPE and of people organising through mutual aid groups.


            • Making Strategic Decisions in the Context of COVID-19 (SSIR (Stanford Social Innovation Review))
              The long-term impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on society is still uncertain, but the tools of scenario planning can help social sector leaders better prepare their organizations for the different, possible futures that may unfold.
            • Scenarios to Navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic and its Possible Futures (1) (The Red (Team) Analysis Society)
              This article presents nested scenarios – and linked narratives – to handle the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its aim is to provide an organised framework to foresee the future of our world as it lives through the pandemic, while easing understanding.
            • A post-pandemic world: well-being for all or deepening inequality? (Open Global Rights)
              Putting fear aside as we emerge from this pandemic will allow space for what we value most in people: empathy, solidarity and mutual support.
            • 7 predictions for the new normal post-pandemic (In The Black)
              As a society, we have a unique opportunity to re-evaluate how we live and work. There has been a cultural shift that brings into focus new priorities and emphasises the need for adaptability. Futurists believe that our “next normal” will prioritise collective benefit, collaboration and empathetic leadership.
            • Our COVID Future: The Long Crisis Scenarios(Long Crisis Network)
              Scenarios of how the response to COVID-19 could shape the conflict dynamics of the Middle East: some portend the pernicious effects of the virus moving the region even further away from integration and closer toward acute insecurity, but some also see a transition to greater stability, or even the prospect of a “wake-up” moment where leaders move toward a “resilience regional architecture.”
            • Middle East Conflict and COVID-19 A view from 2025 (Middle East Institute)
              Scenarios of how the response to COVID-19 could shape the conflict dynamics of the Middle East: some portend the pernicious effects of the virus moving the region even further away from integration and closer toward acute insecurity, but some also see transition to greater stability, or even the prospect of a “wake-up” moment where leaders move toward a “resilience regional architecture.”
            • Strategic foresight for the COVID-19 crisis and beyond: Using futures thinking to design better public policies (OECD)
              This resource supports the use of foresight in post-COVID 19 policy-making, presenting key uncertainties and possible future developments with short- and medium-term policy implications, a preliminary guide for using these elements, and selected foresight pieces.

              Gender Equality

              Multilateralism and international cooperation

              • Protection Requires Co-operation to Combat Covid-19 (Human Rights Watch)
                Cooperation between nations is needed to protect not only people’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to tackle issues such as climate change and the use of technology.

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

              • Pandemic profiteers exposed (Oxfam)
                In Pandemic Profiteers Exposed, Oxfam found that 17 of the top 25 most profitable US corporations, including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Facebook, Pfizer, and Visa, are expected to make almost $85 billion more in 2020 than in previous years. Oxfam is calling for a resurrection of the WWII-era excess profits tax to limit pandemic price-gouging, level the playing field between companies, and raise much needed funds for COVID relief and recovery, such as providing ongoing COVID-19 testing and vaccines for every person on the planet.
              • Divided we stand: the EU’s domestic- and foreign-policy agenda  (International Institute for Strategic Studies )
                Europe was already facing a host of complex geopolitical and economic challenges at the start of 2020, even before the COVID-19 crisis. In this week’s episode, Meia is joined by Sarah Raine and Fabrice Pothier for a wide-ranging and in-depth discussion on how the EU’s political agenda has been impacted by the pandemic and what issues remain at the forefront of its policy priorities.

              3. Policy

              • Almost 10 Million Children May Never Return to School Following COVID-19 Lockdown (Save the Children)
                Deep budget cuts to education and rising poverty caused by COVID-19 could force at least 9.7 million children out of school forever by the end of this year, with millions more falling behind in learning, especially girls. As the impacts of the recession triggered by COVID-19 hits families, many children may be forced out of school and into labor markets.

                Communications Manager

                International Civil Society Centre