Important message- COVID 19
Dear Voice Family,
Over the past weeks, the Voice Country and Coordination teams have been monitoring information about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Globally, more than 170,000 people have been infected in 158 countries; check this map for regular updates). Governments, health authorities, organisations and individuals have responded in order to minimise the number of infections through the cancellation of large-scale events, work from home arrangements, and localised lockdowns. We have been thinking about how these developments are impacting your and our much needed work. With the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring a global pandemic, we wanted to reach out to you and emphasise this message: you and your communities’ safety and well-being are the first priority.
Voice is open to hearing how the situation is affecting you and understand the need to be flexible during these challenging times. Planned events, meetings, and trips to project areas may need to be cancelled or postponed. Some offices may need to close for a period of time or staff will be out of offices for child-care due to school closures. We are aware how this could incur additional costs, delay project timelines or submission of financial and narrative reports. The impact maybe much higher for smaller organisations who do not have as many (flexible) resources. Do not hesitate to contact the Country Teams and we can agree on alternative arrangements together. Do not hesitate to contact the Country Teams in case you wish to support your members in the response. We are open to think creatively on alternatives together. We like to hear from you!
Here are some resources to help you be informed and how you can take care of yourself:
- 9 Questions About the COVID-19 pandemic answered: https://www.vox.com/2020/1/31/21113178/what-is-coronavirus-symptoms-travel-china-map
- 5 Precautions to Stop the Spread of Coronaviruses: https://medium.com/@weimankow/5-precautions-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronaviruses-in-comics-8b5c6f9388f1
- Tools for online meetings: Jitsi (https://jitsi.org/), Skype (https://www.skype.com/en/), Zoom (https://zoom.us/), Google Hangouts (https://hangouts.google.com/)
- Online Meeting Etiquette Tips: https://uit.stanford.edu/videoconferencing/meeting-etiquette
- Ways to Lead a Productive and Inclusive Zoom(/Online) Meeting: https://youtu.be/edsHYcQ7q8k/
Since Voice supports organisations and groups in more than 10 countries across 3 different regions, each context will be different. Some Oxfam and Hivos offices have done the following:
- Staff who are not feeling well are encouraged to work from home or take sick leave;
- Large in-person meetings are to be cancelled, postponed or shifted to virtual meetings until further notice, including the next Voice Global Indaba
- Non-essential travels are limited and subject to the approval of the regional/country director.
You have the power to decide what is best for your specific situation. Rest assured that administrative and financial processes continue even during this time. We do ask some patience and understanding if there will be delays. The situation does continue to change and we will continue to provide updates.
Thank you for your continued strength in creating a more responsive and inclusive society.
The Voice Teams