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
- ‘Big push’ on food security as COVID-19 response enters the second phase (Devex)
The first phase of the global COVID-19 response focused on rapid containment. Now, development and humanitarian organisations are pivoting to incorporate secondary impacts such as nutrition into funding planning and emergency activities.
- Podcast: Coping with COVID – How do we spread hope? With Thomas Coombes (Part 1) (Give A Hoot)
Communications is critical in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. But there’s something we desperately need right now, and that is hope.
- Podcast: Coping with COVID: How do we spread hope? With Thomas Coombes (Part 2) (Give A Hoot)
Communications is critical in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. But there’s something we desperately need right now, and that is hope. Part 2 of 2.
- Video: Coronavirus – Ground Reports (India) (Video Volunteers)
How are India’s remote districts surviving the COVID-19 virus? Our 2019 Innovation Report partner Video Volunteers’ 200 Community Correspondents are keeping a close eye on the government’s and villagers’ response to the crisis. Watch this channel for an inspiring ground-level view of the regions most at risk to see how COVID-19 is affecting jobs, migration, health, infrastructure, livelihoods, food supplies and more.
- Coronavirus hits development pros’ livelihoods (Devex)
A majority of development professionals believe COVID-19 poses an existential threat to their careers and organisations.
- COVID-19 “Infodemic” Demonstrates the Dire Need for Journalism Free of Fear or Favor (InterAction)
The spread of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 is putting even more lives at risk.
- COVID-19: Emerging gender data and why it matters (UN Women)
UN Women has been closely following the political and economic response to COVID-19 and how it is impacting women and girls. It is working with partners to deliver a more accurate picture of the gender dimension to the response so that it can be more effective for women and girls. As more gender data is produced and disaggregated, they will make it available here.
- COVID-19: In northern Nigeria, states scapegoat the usual suspects (African Arguments)
In their response to the pandemic, state governments have singled out Qur’anic schools, not for epidemiological but political reasons.
- Gay men in South Korea are being hunted on dating apps after ‘palpable homophobia’ grows amid coronavirus resurgence (Pink News UK)
The second wave of coronavirus in South Korea linked to gay clubs is fuelling a horrifying rise in homophobia that has seen LGBT+ people on dating sites threatened with doxxing.
- Has it become too dangerous to measure violence against women? (Devex)
As COVID-19 rages on, organisations are racing to measure the rate of violence against women, which is projected to rise around the world due to lockdown orders. The interest in understanding how the crisis is impacting women’s well-being is welcome, but now is not the time to interview women in their homes.
- Homeless queer Ugandans brutally whipped by the mayor before being falsely arrested under coronavirus laws (Pink News, UK)
Footage from Uganda showing the arrest of 19 LGBT+ persons by law enforcement authorities who charged the group with disobeying coronavirus regulations on social distancing rather than the country’s barbed anti-LGBT+ laws.
- Living Under Lockdown: Girls and COVID-19 (Plan International )
COVID-19 and the efforts to suppress it will have an alarming impact on the lives and rights of girls and young women. Plan International has been listening to what girls are saying about the reality of living under lockdown. They are feeling bored, frustrated, alarmed and frightened, and they need clear information on the pandemic and support to deal with its impact on them and their families.
- Opinion: Without gender data, we leave critical COVID-19 clues on the table (Devex)
Only through data, consistently and thoroughly collected and assessed, can we inform eventual answers and solutions to address the pandemic effectively. And for the data to be complete, it must be disaggregated by sex so we can fully learn how COVID-19 is affecting men and women — from both medical and socioeconomic perspectives.
- Responses to COVID-19 in South Africa: The centrality of food security (The South Afrian Urban Food & Farming Trust)
Blog from one of our Innovation Report 2020 urban case study partner CSOs. While South Africa’s lockdown hunger crisis has a unique origin in the novel Coronavirus, the response to it and the effects of that response seem to resonate, or perhaps even to rhyme in some way with the past, both recent and deeper.
- Video: Sam Worthington on the pandemic’s financial impact on NGOs (Devex and InterAction)
Members of the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs have laid off or furloughed 3,000 employees, according to Sam Worthington, CEO of InterAction, an early indication of the significant challenges the international NGO sector will face as COVID-19 continues.
- The Economic Impact of COVID-19 around the World: Projections of Economic Growth Falling Further, Food Insecurity, and A Round-Up of Other Recent Analysis (Center for Global Development)
A summary of the most recent COVID-19-related economic headlines from Africa, Asia, and Latin America divided into sections: growth and income analysis, sector and sub-population analysis, economic policy responses, and commentary.
- Where India’s government has failed in the pandemic, its people have stepped in (The Guardian)
Civil society has outperformed the state in helping to feed India’s poorest. It should be seen as an ally not enemy.
Biodiversity and Climate Change
- Record global carbon dioxide concentrations despite COVID-19 crisis (UNEP – UN Environment Programme)
Despite local air quality improvements during the COVID-19 crisis, atmospheric CO2 concentration levels continue to rise, and fundamental shifts in global energy production are needed to achieve long-term reductions in CO2 concentration levels.
Data and Digital
- A guide to a healthy scepticism of artificial intelligence and coronavirus (The Brookings Institution)
This article looks into the limits of the effective use of artificial intelligence to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID Tracing Tracker (MIT Technology Review)
Worldwide, there’s a deluge of apps that detect COVID-19 exposure, often with little transparency. The MIT Tracing Tracker project will document them.
- Et Big Brother prit le pouvoir! (L’Illustré, Switzerland)
Geolocation, generalised surveillance, ubiquitous social control via our smartphones: Is the coronavirus sounding the death knell for individual freedoms and giving rise to a totalitarian world, in Europe and Switzerland as everywhere else in the world?
- Opinion: We cannot allow COVID-19 to reinforce the digital gender divide (Devex)
Girls, women, and marginalised groups are least likely to have access to technology. This was already a dire disadvantage, and now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has moved so many aspects of daily life online, this lack of connectivity has become even more alarming.
Civic Space and Human Rights
- We Can Beat the Virus Only By Protecting Human Rights (Human Rights Watch )
Some governments are arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic leaves no space for human rights. This article argues the opposite – that respect for human rights during the pandemic will help save lives that would otherwise be lost to the virus.
- The link between food (in)security, peace and stability and COVID-19 (The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes)
COVID-19 may have started as a public health emergency, but at this stage, the measures taken to contain the crisis have developed into an economic crisis, that has more of an impact on people’s livelihoods than the virus itself.
- A better world can emerge after coronavirus. Or a much worse one. (The Guardian)
Most Europeans support a universal basic income, yet young people doubt democracy’s capacity to deliver change.
- COVID-19 Global Aftershocks The Secondary Implications of COVID-19 across International Development and Humanitarian Sectors (InterAction)
A summary of some of the COVID-19 secondary impacts across the humanitarian and development sectors, including: children and youth, climate change, conflict, democracy, development assistance, education, food security, gender equality, global health, WASH and humanitarian assistance.
- The Existential Funding Challenge for Northern NGOs (Averthur NGO Consulting)
How pre-existing challenges of a decline in INGO income in recent years was already a slow onset threat to the continued existence of some northern INGOs, and why pre- and post-COVID factors mean that many INGOs/NGOs will have to close, shrink rapidly, or merge in the near term.
Multilateralism and international cooperation
Pandemic Specific Consequences and Responses (economic, health & social impacts)
- Before And After: How COVID-19 is changing humanitarian operations (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
This article demonstrates with photos the ways in which humanitarian aid had to adapt to the realities of COVID-19 and the challenges thereof.
- Building Emergency Planning Scenarios for Viral Pandemics (University College London)
The purpose of this report is to provide a systematic, if incomplete, record of the issues connected with the COVID-19 pandemic in order to improve the basis for future emergency planning. Like all large disasters, COVID-19 involves cascading consequences. These need to be factored into future emergency planning scenarios.
- Coronavirus pandemic could contribute to a surge of other deadly diseases, experts warn (CNN)
Cases of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases could surge worldwide in coming months as global health systems rally to battle the coronavirus pandemic, global health experts tell CNN.
- Evidence mounts on the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities (The Lancet )
This study shows evidence that ethnic minorities are often hit the hardest by the COVID-19 virus.
- Osons le socle citoyen ! L’appel de GenerationLibre et de quarante-cinq parlementaires (GenerationLibre)
This website is a good starting point to follow the debate in France to establish a universal basic income for all citizens. While the argument has been made for some years now, the current COVID-19 crisis would have been the moment to showcase its effectiveness: The proposed mechanism would have made it possible to give every citizen immediate and proportionate financial support.
- Strategic Intelligence Portal (World Economic Forum)
Multiple links on data and publications relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular its impact on global travel, migration, finance, trade, finding a vaccine and others.
- The ABCs of the post-COVID economic (The Brookings Institution)
This article explores the different ways in which the economy might recover post-pandemic and stipulates which scenario is most likely by analysing the current economic policy responses to the pandemic.
- Closing the COVID-19 response transparency gap (ARTICLE 19)
Blog on ARTICLE 19’s new report on ‘Ensuring the Public’s Right to Know in the COVID-19 Pandemic’ (listed here).
- Ensuring the Public’s Right to Know in the COVID-19 Pandemic (ARTICLE 19)
ARTICLE 19’s new report warns the COVID-19 pandemic could have a negative impact on global freedom of information. 90% of the world’s population now lives in a country with a Right to Information law or policy, but this analysis highlights several threats to governments’ obligations on access to information and public health under human rights law.
- Joining Forces’ open letter and recommendations to world leaders on the COVID-19 crisis and child rights (WHO)
The Joining Forces group of child rights organisations asks governments to put concrete steps in place to protect children during the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure access to nutritious food, appropriate supervision, healthcare, protection from violence, alternative education at home and reliable information on the crisis to help them cope with its psychological impact.
- Strengthening Preparedness for COVID-19 in Cities and Urban Settings (WHO)
This document is to support local authorities, leaders and policy-makers in cities and other urban settlements in identifying effective approaches and implementing recommended actions for COVID-19 in urban settings, to ensure a robust response and eventual recovery. It covers factors unique to cities and urban settings, considerations in urban preparedness, key areas of focus and preparing for future emergencies.
- 8 critical lessons leaders need to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis (and one that will surprise you) (Fast Company)
We know that empathy and networking, for example, are important, but it’s how you approach these concepts now that will carry you out of crisis mode.
- Doing fieldwork in a pandemic (crowd-sourced document) (Deborah Lupton/Crowd-sourced)
Isolation measures to contain COVID-19 means that social researchers need fieldwork ideas for avoiding in-person interactions by using mediated forms that will achieve similar ends. This crowdsourced document shares ideas for moving face-to-face methods into a more ‘hands-off’ mode, and useful material about ‘born digital’ social research.
- From lockdown to locked in, here’s what post-pandemic travel could look like (World Economic Forum)
Gone are the days of short international travel, or long trips visiting multiple countries as it is likely that all countries striving to suppress COVID-19 infections will impose some kind of restrictions on international arrivals. Travellers should expect quarantine, self-isolation, and testing rules to persist.
- Jump-starting resilient and reimagined operations (McKinsey)
COVID-19 has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations, and an opportunity to transform them. The virus has shown that, when they align around a common purpose, operations teams can achieve goals that would have been considered impossible before the crisis. As they plan their transition to the next normal, companies are looking for ways to maintain this sense of purpose and speed.
- Guidelines for field-based staff (Islamic Relief Worldwide)
This guidance seeks to assist our staff in operating safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Guidelines for fundraisers and volunteers (Islamic Relief Worldwide)
This guidance seeks to assist IR’s fundraising staff and volunteers in operating safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Position statement for Advocacy (SOS Children’s Villages)
This position statement from SOS Children’s Villages presents the key tasks necessary to ensure that the rights and needs of children without or at risk of losing parental care are prioritised by national, regional and international governments as they adopt measures to mitigate the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.
- Protection of Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Children and Alternative Care – Immediate Response Measures (Better Care Network, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action and UNICEF)
This technical note aims to support child protection practitioners and government officials in their immediate support for children at risk of separation or in alternative care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Responding to COVID-19: Guidance for humanitarian agencies (ALNAP)
How should humanitarian organisations prepare and respond to COVID-19 in humanitarian settings in low- and middle-income countries? This Rapid Learning Review outlines 14 actions, insights and ideas for humanitarian actors to consider in their COVID-19 responses. It summarises and synthesises the best available knowledge and guidance for developing a health response to COVID-19 in low- and middle-income settings as at April 2020.
This article, by our Executive Director, is part of a collection of think-pieces by civil society leaders called “The Future of Civil Society Organisations” co-ordinated by International Council of Voluntary Agencies and the International Civil Society Centre, with a foreword by their respective Executive Directors. The writings focus on current challenges and opportunities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are conversation starters over the transformations we want to see in society, and the humanitarian, social justice and environmental sector.
The Future of Civil Society Organisations (PDF)
In his book ‘The Great Leveller‘, the historian Walter Scheidel analyses how inequality in societies around the world has continuously, since the stone ages, worsened. His compelling piece describes the only three scenarios which have reduced inequalities significantly: wars, natural catastrophes and pandemics.
Scheidel is cautious in saying that a historical analysis does not predict the future. And frankly, reading his book in 2019 did not inspire hope and confidence for a concerned reader.
In April 2020, six weeks into the Corona pandemic, this feels different. While we’re still grappling with the painful comprehension and immediate management of the situation, our thoughts around a desired future start moving into the foreground. Doing away with inequalities, eliminating the gap between haves and have-nots and creating perspectives for people with lesser opportunities, is definitely part of that desired future.
Inequality is just one of the global injustices we want to overcome. Each of us, irrespective of organisational mandates, could name half a dozen threats to global justice – from ruthless wars to a broken food system, from the doom of climate change to political oppression. Over the past years, it has been painful, slow, sometimes seemingly hopeless to move forward on such big themes. And now? Is there a sudden opportunity to overcome these and heal the broken systems?
Well, certainly not by magic nor quickly. But the current crisis has shown previously unimaginable actions and reactions, and might as well be a watershed unfreezing of what we think is possible and not. Do we dare to articulate, with a stronger voice and determination, the transformations we want to see in the global societies?
Futurists and foresighters are currently looking at weak and strong signals on the post-Coronavirus situation. The most unlikely scenario will be ‘business as before’, once a solution – vaccine or treatment – is found. The biggest questions appear around so-called ‘systems changes’. Is the globalist, capitalist, financial and political system good enough in times of increasing global challenges? Where will our societies drift – back into nationalist and inward-looking behaviours, or forward towards global solidarity, interconnected actions and multilateral governance? And how will the current experience affect our dealing with ‘the other’ large global crisis around climate change?
Highly relevant to these future systems will be the role of organised civil society, whether it is aid, social discourse, political decision-making or framing the narratives that hold our societies together. We should not let others define the future of the values and systems that matter for civil society around the world.
Civil society’s most significant contribution to overcoming this crisis will be working in collaboration, focusing on solidarity and empathy. The humanistic values that bind us, and the societies we work in, demand that we are forward-looking and strategic in our actions, irrespective of the high operational pressures out there. Putting people, unorganised and organised civil society at the centre of post-Coronavirus planning is the task we need to unite behind and show collective leadership.
But we need more. To start with, the vision of a just and healthy planet, as articulated in the Sustainable Development Goals need refreshing. Following on from that, all major political and societal decisions need to be guided by that vision, by the ambition for a just society and clean environment.
Here are some ideas. What if:
– People in the service sector, the formal and informal gig economy, are paid a living wage;
– Mass mobility is drastically reduced in lieu of ecologically sustainable ways to meet and communicate;
– Taxation is directed towards a stronger common good, and tax avoidance loop-holes closed and tax evasion penalties are enforced with lasting consequence;
– Reformed multilateral crisis mechanisms effectively ceasing wars and sanctioning crimes against humanity;
– Production and consumption patterns support local economies, protect the environment and foster healthy diets;
– Inclusion of the ‘bottom billion’ in digitalisation, job creation and public health care becomes a priority for development ambitions;
– Human rights principles and civic freedom move back into the centre of societal values discussions?
The list can be expanded. We need the courage and the determination not to waste this crisis. Only then, can we bring people together as a society that shows solidarity and cohesiveness in the current crisis and goes beyond the fragmentations and antagonisms that have characterised the past years.