As the world continues to respond to the global pandemic of Covid-19, the coronavirus, the situation on the ground in every country is changing rapidly.  The ACT Security Group is putting together regular updates of their advice on how to deal with this virus.  The ACT Secretariat is in contact with forums and members around the world, and is looking into additional supports and responses that are possible from the Alliance.  We will continue to post updates to our website as they are available, to share our recommendations and responses to this situation.

WHO official page on COVID-19
COVID-19 Visualizer of global caseloads by country
Getting the workplace ready for COVID-19
Infographics for social media use
WHO FAQs

 

latest news

 

 

Quality and Accountability

Previous emergencies have demonstrated that the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse increases when humanitarian responses are scaling up. With the current Covid-19 crisis,  impacting on the possibility of direct interventions of traditional humanitarian actors, the increase of new actors and a wide restriction of movements across the globe, vulnerabilities are likely to increase. The ACT Alliance and its members reiterate their commitment to ‘Zero Tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse’. 
 
As a result, this outbreak is adding an additional burden on already difficult situations where humanitarian needs are increasing, information sharing and participation becoming more difficult and the situation of the most vulnerable, more specifically women and children, getting worse. Informing about, strengthening and enforcing minimum standards of behaviour, specifically in health care and quarantine facilities as well as refugee and displacement camps, remains a key priority for the ACT Alliance and all its members during these troubled times. 
 
To safeguard the most vulnerable, the ACT Secretariat and its members strongly reaffirm their commitment to their Zero-Tolerance policy for sexual exploitation and abuse. It is equally important that communities have access to systems where they can complain about inappropriate behaviour of humanitarian staff. These systems need to be accessible, transparent, confidential and safe.
 
Particularly during this time, when outreach and accessibility are difficult with limited access to information, including PSEA, organisations must ensure that communities can reach them at any time, taking into account these additional difficulties. The ACT Secretariat encourages its members to continue their efforts and discussions with community leaders to identify dedicated safe channels appropriate for each specific context. It is a key priority to enable communities to participate in a meaningful way, even without physical access, and to be informed about their rights, as well as the standards of behavior they can expect from our frontline staff members. Information to communities must include appropriate and accessible channels for reporting suspected misconduct.
 
 

 

Humanitarian Response

Pandemics are the most complex crises to plan for in terms of emergency response. For one, the humanitarian infrastructure is not particularly designed for scaling up at a global level. Traditionally, epidemics and pandemics are considered as health emergencies that require interventions in health systems and services. However, the current context in many countries is such that urban agglomerations and informal settlements have grown tremendously (e.g. Delhi, Kolkata, Dhaka, Manila, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Sao Paolo), and mega-camps have become the norm in dealing with massive displacement situations (e.g. Darfur, Dadaab, Zahtari, Cox’s Bazar). In addition, people on the move (e.g., Venezuela, Central America, Turkey-Greece border, Syria-Turkey border, Sahel, etc.) are a major vulnerable group, with infections expected to rise exponentially as soon as it hits them. As such the recommended approach as discussed in the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) and other global coordination bodies is that the humanitarian response to CoVID-19 should take a multi-sectoral approach that would complement the health systems work led by the WHO and governments.

The proposed ACT Alliance response should recognize the overall principles set out by the IASC in the draft Global Humanitarian Response Plan):

  • Maximise the complementarity and synergies between ongoing responses and plans.
  • Ensure flexibility to adjust the responses and targets to the fast-evolving situation and needs
  • Build on existing coordination mechanisms
  • Full respect of humanitarian principles
  • Ensure inclusion of all people – notably vulnerable, stigmatized, hard to reach, displaced and mobile populations who are frequently left out of national plans, or who are inadequately included in such plans

 

Global Appeal and Rapid Response Fund

ACT Alliance has launched a $12M USD appeal (a combination of Rapid Response Fund and more traditional appeal) to respond globally to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Full details can be found in the appeal document here.

The Call for Proposals and RRF template for the appeal are now available.

A two page summary of the appeal and an infographic about the appeal have been posted.

ACT has announced the first 14 countries to receive funding through the RRF.

ACT has announced the first 6 countries to have sub-appeals through the global COVID-19 appeal.

Available Resources for CoVID-19 Programming

WHO has launched a dedicated messaging services in Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese with partners WhatsApp and Facebook to keep people safe from coronavirus 

To help in designing the programmatic interventions, members may consult the following resources developed by ACT members and other humanitarian organizations:

 

  1. IASC website for CoVID-19 programming: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/covid-19-outbreak-readiness-and-response
  2. WHO Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan: https://www.who.int/publications-detail/strategic-preparedness-and-response-plan-for-the-new-coronavirus
  3. WHO Country Preparedness Index:https://www.who.int/internal-publications-detail/updated-country-preparedness-and-response-status-for-covid-19-as-of-16-march-2020
  4. Sphere guidance on coronavirus response: https://spherestandards.org/coronavirus/
  5. Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), CoVID-19 guidance
  6. Gendered Response to CoVID-19
  1. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/other/interim-briefing-note-addressing-mental-health-and-psychosocial-aspects-covid-19-outbreak
  2. DCA’s Learning report on working in the COVID-19 response

ROLE OF FBOs

Statements

The ACT Malawi Forum helped coordinate a Faith Leaders COVID-19 Platform meeting.  Here is the report on the meeting.

Read ACT Alliance EU Opinion piece: “The coronavirus response needs local communities and faith leaders”

ACT signed the Global Civil Society Statement “First, Save Lives: Solutions for the COVID-19 Pandemic and New Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees” here.

Joint Statement on COVID-19 by the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development (IATF) with the endorsement of the IATF Multi-Faith Advisory Council (MFAC) here. ACT’s General Secretary is a co-chair of the MFAC.

A statement by ACT and the WCC for World Water Day on the need for access to clean water to engage in proper hygiene in the developing world: here.

joint statement by ACT Alliance and Religions for Peace: Urgent Action Needed to Prevent Covid-19

Two statements by CWS, and by the Cuban Council of Churches and NCC USA calling for a lifting of sanctions against countries including Cuba, Iran and Venezuela that make it harder for these countries to respond to Covid-19. CWS (EN ES); Cuban Council of Churches and NCC USA.

A statement from the National Council of Churches of the Philippines and other Philippine FBOs about Covid-19 here.

A statement from ACT’s General Secretary: “A Call for Humanity and Stronger Global Governance” (EN ES)

Resources

Bread for the World has produced a new resource:  10 Commandments for Responsible Pastoral Responses to the Corona-Crisis (en)

Act Church of Sweden developed a guide on Psychosocial support and staff care_COVID19

UNICEF launches a Global Multi-religious Faith in Action Covid-19 Initiative

Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities (JLI) and World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) together with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University find more info here

Berkley Center Consultation on COVID-19: Exploring Faith Dimensions find here

“Healing from the Distress of the COVID-19 Crisis”: A pilot lesson for small groups to help you begin to heal from the spiritual and emotional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, from the Trauma Healing Institute.  PDF (EN ES FR)

Webinars by ACT member Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for emotional and spiritual care of those in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis here.

Practical considerations and recommendations for religious leaders and faith-based communities in the context of COVID-19 from the WHO here.

Additional information for FBOs and faith leaders is available from the WHO here.

ACT member IOCC has produced a resource called “Care Calls” for volunteers to reach out to people in their communities during this time of lockdown. More information here.

The ACT Philippines Forum has shared an infographic by the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and CBCP-NASSA/Caritas Philippines showing the impact of faith-based groups in responding to COVID-19 in the Philippines:

Infographic on FBO response to COVID-19 in the Philippines

Prayers and pastoral work

Prayers in the time of Covid-19 from LWF: here and here.

“10 Commandments for Responsible Pastoral Reactions to the Corona-Crisis”- advice for Christian clergy, written by Dietrich Werner, Bread for the World. (EN ES FR)

pastoral letter from the Pacific Conference of Churches to Christians in the Pacific here.

GENDER IMPACT

 
During these exceptional times, we cannot ignore the extent of the  gendered effects of Covid-19 to ensure that the secondary effects of this health emergency are taken into account when designing policies and interventions. Experiences from previous outbreaks highlight the importance of incorporating a gender analysis in the preparedness and repose activities to ensure effectiveness of interventions, while promoting gender and health justice.
 
 

Briefing Paper gender and faith_SP

Gender Justice Resources

The ACT briefing paper on Gender and Faith Perspectives on COVID-19.

The Africa Regional Gender Community of Practice has released guidance on gender-focused response to COVID-19 in Africa here.

 

The World YWCA has developed a number of resources that highlight the gendered impact of COVID-19. You can find them here in three languages. The comic strip to explain COVID-19 to children is a great resource for teachers and parents, also in three languages.  In addition, a new resource on how to host a virtual safe space during the quarantine has been created as a tool for advocates and women leaders.

The Side by Side campaign has created a resource page on Gender, Faith and COVID-19 

 

 

 

STATEMENTS

Faith in Beijing joint statement on “Gender, Faith and COVID-19” 

Faith in Beijing joint statement in Spanish: Género.FeyCOVID-19

PEACE and HUMAN SECURITY

The Reference Group on Peace and Human Security (in close collaboration with DCA and NCA) has developed How to integrate Do No Harm & Conflict Sensitivity.

Security Risk Management

Security Risk Management_EN

Security Risk Management_ES

Security Risk Management_FR

Zoom Security guidelines

ACT Alliance produced another infographic on safety advices for staff working in the COVID-19 environment here 

 

RESOURCES

Infographic

  • ACT Alliance has produced a 2-page summary of the ACT COVID-19 appeal, and an infographic about the appeal.
  • ACT Alliance produced another infographic on safety advices for staff working in the COVID-19 environment here 
  • ACT Alliance has produced a pamphlet on the role of FBOs during a health crisis. It provides arguments to justify investing in a stronger role of FBOs during the COVID-19 pandemic: New Virus, Old Challenges
  •  

Digital organizing during COVID-19

Resources, tips and trainings by ACTLearn

As we navigate in these troubling times of Covid-19, we are increasingly challenged by working remotely and conducting meetings and trainings online. Fortunately, ACT Alliance’s learning collaboration, ACTLearn, has focused on online collaboration and learning for several years and is ready to support! ACT Alliance members can take advantage of this collaboration and its resources.

A number of opportunities are listed below: 

 Advanced Online Facilitation – Making your webinar or online meeting engaging and motivational

Get inspiration, useful tips and other helpful resources for working with dispersed teams, hosting online meetings and trainings, and much more. Participation is free. The webinar is hosted by DanChurchAid’s Learning Lab.

The first webinar will take place on Thursday, March 26th from 9:00-10:00 CET. Find out more about the webinar.

Join the ACTLearn/Fabo collaboration and develop your own online courses

If you are interested to know more about the ACTLearn/Fabo collaboration, please contact Head of Learning Lab, Simon Skårhøj, ssk@dca.dk, DanChurchAid. You can also read more here

Virtual Work Site – inspiration and sharing space on working and training online

Learning Lab has launched a new virtual work site for experience sharing to help transition from in-person working to remote working. The site gathers resources, tips and tricks all in one place. 

ACTLearn Hub for Learning – gate for ACT Alliance Members

This is a learning gate on fabo.org for ACT Alliance Members. On the site you can find courses for ACT Alliance Members. We are currently developing the catalogue. We are excited to offer free courses on “Code of Conduct“, “Complaints”, “Facilitation” and “Religion and Development”. https://fabo.org/act

Communications guidelines

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