Voice and Covid-19
Adapting to the new reality
The coronavirus pandemic is here with us and is changing life as we know it. As everything changes, we see a surge in information on the post-COVID-19 hopes and dreams for many organisations, including Voice grantees, as well as their fears and challenges. There are also a lot of emerging support systems on how organisations can navigate through these uncertain times.
On this page, we feature all the important messages we as Voice have shared to the grantees. We also highlight the innovative initiatives that grantees have been exploring in light of the pandemic. Other like-minded organisations have been creating opportunities especially for funding and relief services, and that is also shared here. Lastly, we share some general information on how to cope during this period.
Important messages from Voice
Since March 2020, Voice has been issuing periodic updates to all its grantees. The first special message was shared in March 2020. The second update was shared in April 2020 and the latest one went out in May 2020 Voice will continue to share these special messages as we adapt to the changing global situation.
Updates from the Ministry
In the second message that Voice shared, there was an update from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Netherlands – the key initiator behind Voice. The Ministry recognised that these were uncertain times for many, during which it was important to keep our peace and find inventive solutions to solve problems as we take care of each other. Please find here their letter of solidarity to all Voice grantees and colleagues.
Voice is humbled by the positive feedback that we continue to receive from grantees during these uncertain times and the changes we are all going through. Below is a quote that we received upon sharing the letter from the ministry
“The letter was very encouraging, I used it as a talking point to some donors to show how humane Voice is- I was shocked that they will go to that extent to really care. For some donors- there is no humanity; for them its all about the project, they were not concerned that people are worried and tensed up; that people are trying to make sense out of what is happening in the world. When that letter came, me and my team broke down in tears and that gave us the zeal to start working again, knowing that we are not alone and that someone cares”Irene Ojiugo Patrick-Ogbogu, Executive Director, Disability Rights Advocacy Centre, Nigeria
Innovations from our grantees/ local responses
Voice grantees continue to adapt to the changing situation, more often than not surpassing expectations and proving that there is strength in being part of a community – rightsholders groups. Here are some of the innovations that Voice grantees have come up with;
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.
- Voice Link and Learn facilitators in Mali and Niger, Accountability Lab, has gone digital. In Mali, A-LAB is utilising online exchanges and virtual campaigns for awareness-raising around the pandemic and to empower citizens to promote accountability, transparency, integrity and social change in Mali.
Funding sources available
Voice had to put a halt on announcing any new Calls for Proposals. Due to the effect of COVID-19, this painful decision was also informed by the fact that national context analyses’ updates are underway, informing how Voice plans out its extension phase (2021-2024). However, there are other funding opportunities available from various other institutions.
Practical tips #staysafe and digital etiquette
Here are some resources to help you stay informed and to 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/