Important message- COVID 19
2nd Update 1 April 2020
Dear Voice Family,
Since our last message on March 18, we have heard from several of you about how you are experiencing the impact of this pandemic; on your personal lives, at organisational levels and on the Voice-funded projects. We have received requests on giving more time before you submit both narrative and financial reports, plus requests for (no-)costs extensions. You have also informed us of the numerous cancellations, postponements, and rescheduling of upcoming events and meetings. A few have asked have even asked the question: “What will happen to our grant if we are not able to do any activity over the next weeks and maybe even months?”
Our response is simple. Voice will not abandon you during this difficult time. Your grants will not be withdrawn or cancelled due to a situation beyond your control. Our commitment to you and your community’s empowerment and influencing does not stop because of a pandemic. On the contrary, this crisis further exposes the need for your work to continue. The impacts of social (or rather physical) distancing strategies, lockdowns, and community quarantines are not equally shared among all citizens. In fact, many Voice rightsholder groups will bear a heavier burden in the efforts to contain the virus.
As a result, we at Voice want to hear from you on how we can support you during these uncertain times. Tell us:
- Do you want to focus on only Voice project documentation and report writing for the time-being?
- Do you want to change activities in order to respond to impacts of COVID-19 on the rightsholder groups?
- Do you want to shift physical meetings -planned in your project- to online meetings and hence need to strengthen your facilitation skills and/or digital capacity?
- Do you want to capture how the situation is impacting your community and use such information as evidence to lobby governments to respond?
If you haven’t done so, please share your ideas with your Voice country team. They will also reach out to you as soon as possible. Although Voice is not set up to support direct relief or humanitarian efforts, your responses will help us determine what sorts of flexibilities are needed (and which we may or may not be able to negotiate with the Ministry). We’ve already been inspired by the creativity and quick-thinking shown by some grantees like these:
- Empowerment Grantee San Julian Pride from the Philippines shared how they are planning to convert their office phone to a COVID-19 hotline. They will provide information/updates on the virus and psychosocial support to those who feel isolated due to social distancing including but not limited to the LGBTI community.
- Innovate and Learn Grantee Street Project Foundation from Nigeria was in the middle of their bi-annual creative bootcamp for social transformation with 25 youth. Once the camp had to stop due to COVID-19, they worked with participants on how they can further their talents online. An example is a video of Michael Uhene rapping and singing about guidelines on how prevent the spread of COVID-19, something which will be shared widely within their networks on social media.
- Awareness-creation through the Linking and Learning Facilitating organisations in Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria who are planning to host meetings/webinars to provide updates to grantees on the Covid-19 situation, and explore creative ways of supporting the most affected rightsholders.
- Fuwavita, an Empowerment Grantee in Tanzania created awareness-raising videos specifically for deaf and hard-of-hearing community and image descriptions about Covid-19 after the government confirmed the presence of Covid-19 in the country.
We look forward to learning what you want to do.
The Voice Teams