Protecting our co-workers during COVID-19: A Social Security Protocol for Civil Society

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We have a responsibility to act decisively to protect our co-workers from adverse health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This six-point protocol, based on the ILO’s policy framework to fight COVID-19, provides a shared template for civil society groups to deliberate context-specific measures and adopt feasible actions in a time-bound and transparent manner.

Proposed Measures:

  1. Systems to ensure physical distancing and other precautions
  2. Support for COVID-19 testing and related treatment
  3. Protection of jobs and pay across the COVID-19 lockdown and escalation period
  4. Flexibility and support for home and care related responsibilities
  5. Extending our community of care to our collaborators and constituencies
  6. Acting in solidarity with workers and other vulnerable communities

Recommendations:

1. Systems to ensure physical distancing and other precautions

What it involves:

  • Procedures to enable physical distancing are explicitly adopted and communicated alongside an overarching call to social solidarity

  • Transition to virtual ways of working wherever   possible, provision of protective gear and guidelines for frontline workers whose efforts are needed to ensure the continuation of critical and essential services (e.g. non-transferable support services to vulnerable populations)

  • Ensuring that pay and benefits for personnel who are unable to perform their duties virtually are not reduced at this time

Why is this important?

  • In keeping with WHO guidelines and corresponding national government regulations, all agencies are required to take active measures to protect their personnel from contracting or transmitting the virus 

  • If relevant government authorities have not provided effective guidelines on social distancing, we can be proactive in implementing the WHO guidelines for our teams, and support advocacy efforts to ensure relevant   regulations are put in place.  

 

2. Support for COVID-19 testing and related treatment

What it involves:

Access to COVID-19 testing differs across countries. A few essential steps that we can take to support our teams in this context are:

  • Mapping and providing active information on testing procedures

  • Covering costs of testing procedures where these are not covered by health insurance.

  • Supporting the return of personnel located outside their home countries who request or require to be repatriated for health and/or family reasons

  • Fully paid sick leave for personnel needing to rest and recuperate; flexible arrangements in relation to time needed to care for family members and dependents. This could include ‘record-free’ leave provisions so personnel do not need to utilise their annual sick leave quota to cover illness related to the COVID19 outbreak

  • Full or partial support for costs of related treatment through existing group medical insurance plans; in case these are not available, explore organisation-supported reimbursements

  • Psycho-social support to deal with the mental health impacts of the pandemic, including with adverse effects of the outbreak within family and communities

Why is this important?

  • Ensuring access to basic health care for employees is an important responsibility for all organisations. For many organisations however, support to core costs that enable social security benefits for   employees is hard to negotiate and organise.

  • More ideas on how donors and intermediaries can support civil society groups to address core costs in this period are available in this Open Letter to Donors

 

3. Protection of jobs and pay across the COVID-19 lockdown and escalation period

What it involves:

In anticipation of the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an important role to play in protecting our co-workers from reduction of pay and loss of employment. Some measures that can be considered include:

  • Extending employment contracts, till December 2020 for instance, as an immediate measure of protection. This should ideally include personnel who work part-time, such as consultants, fellows and interns.

  • In the event that an employment contract must end in this period, ensuring a source of income is available to support transition is a helpful measure. National regulations on allowances linked redundancy and unemployment, for instance, can be used to benchmark this and activate government-backed programs in this regard

  • Coordinating with donors and intermediaries to redirect costs for new positions that were to be proposed in this period towards costs for staff retention

  • Coordinating with Boards to approve the use of organisation’s reserves, if available, and requesting their support for costs related to employment protection measures

Why is this important?

  • The implementation of this recommendation is directly related to donor flexibility and proactive measures adopted by governance bodies of civil society organisations. 

  • Ensuring an open conversation with donors to reallocate expenses related to activities that cannot be undertaken in this period, such as budgets linked to travel and in-person meetings, is one possibility in this regard.

 

4. Flexibility and support for home and care related responsibilities

What it involves:

In order to support staff to cope with the added pressure of familial duties, while also taking care of their own needs, we can consider the following:

  • Flexible or reduced work hours for personnel (without affecting levels of pay)

  • Reduction of work related deliverables for staff who have responsibility for children and other dependents, including the elderly and disabled

  • Additional measures (economic and psycho-social) to support single parents, staff who live alone and those who risk violence and abuse within their homes

Why is this important?

  •  Working from home places significant demands on staff who are primary caregivers within their families. Women are often burdened with additional responsibilities in this time

 

5. Extending our community of care to our collaborators and constituencies

What it involves:

  • Disseminating information on necessary protection protocols advised by the WHO and, where possible, translating these into relevant languages and making them accessible in multiple formats

  • Providing information on support and services provided by our organizations in this time

  • Ensuring that contingency plans for critical services are in place and shared with them

  • Identifying and calling out public measures that are being used to restrict and intimidate civil society

Why is this important?

  • As we conduct our duty of care to our employees, we have the opportunity to extend care and share knowledge with the communities we serve and networks we work with.

  • Civil society across the world often works to respond to and fill critical gaps in service delivery, access to justice and government accountability. Taking steps to ensure that our collaborators and constituencies are informed helps to ensure transparent flows of information and mediate continuity for critical services where possible.

 

6. Acting in solidarity with workers and other vulnerable communities

What it involves:

We have the opportunity to act in solidarity by:

  • Adding our voice and organisational support to campaigning for improved employment protections by organised labour, and for the most vulnerable casual workers and gig-economy workers

  • Supporting campaigns where there is an opportunity to advance progressive social welfare policies, including wage & income protection, universal social protection, access to healthcare and childcare support for frontline workers who are holding up essential public services.

  • Getting behind the bold, systemic reforms that challenge and change the fundamental inequities that have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic

Why is this important?

  • Adding our collective weight and support right now, may help secure both immediate relief, as well as pivotal longer-term wins for progressive campaigns

 

Notes:

  1. This is an outline of social protection measures that civil society organisations across a broad spectrum can consider to protect those in our employ from the adverse economic and psycho-social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  2. The protocol aims to assist a reflection on immediate actions and systems that are needed to help organisations navigate present and future challenges in relation to their resilience and sustenance in the context of the pandemic. While it is not an exhaustive list, an effort has been made to include key priorities that civil society organisations are grappling with, based on wide-ranging conversations across peers and partners.

  3. Each organisation is free to determine its course of action based on its specific context and resourcing realities. A list of resources to help determine and action relevant measures is available here.

  4. For more information, reach us via: | @CIVICUSalliance | https://www.facebook.com/CIVICUS/

 

Endorsements

Yes, I agree that a COVID-19 related social security protocol is necessary. I commit to deliberating these recommendations within my institution and adopting a set of relevant, context-specific actions in a time-bound and transparent manner. 

  Institutional lead/representative Organisation/ Network/ Movemement Location (HQ)
1 Darlymar Ruocco Mora  | Claudymar Colmenares A.C Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia Venezuela
2 Rocio Moreno Lopez Accountable Now Germany
3 Sake Mathieu ACPDH-The Human Rights Defenders Network Burundi
4 Dr Shahida Akhter Action for Humanity and Social Progress Bangladesh
5 Ekeno Lorooh Action for pastoralists integrated resilience Kenya
6 Oli Henman Action for Sustainable Development Global
7 Caroline Owashaba Action for Youth Development Uganda. Uganda
8 Ronald Ssenfuka Action Humanitarian Initiatives Uganda Kampala, Uganda
9 Charles Kamugisha Adolescents Initiatives Support Organization Tanzania
10 Oghbebor Eghosa Osazee Advance Centre for Peace and Credibility International Edo State, Nigeria
11 Ahmad Quraishi Afghanistan Journalists Center Afghanistan
12 Herman Kizito Bukenya Joseph Africa Intercultural Development Support Trust Uganda
13 Emmanuel Leslie Addae Africa Skills Hub Ghana
14 Mario Lenin Ayala ALFAGUAT Guatemala
15 Khalid Al-jameeliy Iraq 
16 Dr Michel Tia All Party System Co. United States of America
17 Komal Kumar Alliance for Future Generations Fiji Fiji
18 Arturo Reyes ARBO A.C. Mexico
19 Mohuya Monjure Arjon Foundation Bangladesh
20 MARCELIN ADAMOU ABOU ARPE Association Cameroon
21 Ismail Wolff ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) Jakarta, Indonesia
22 Ichal Supriadi Asia Democracy Network Seoul, Korea
23 Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development Bangkok, Thailand
24 Patricia Melgar Oroco Asociación Civil Ernesto Shneider Troller Guatemala
25 Mange Ram Adhana Association For Promotion Sustainable Development India
26 François Patrick WAFFO LELE Avenir Jeune de l'Ouest Cameroon
27 Ilina Neshikj Balkan Civil Society Development Network Skopje, Macedonia
28 AHM Bazlur Rahman Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication Bangladesh
29 Mr. Jakaria sumon Bicosito Bangladesh Foundation Bangladesh
30 Rajiv Joshi Bridging Ventures United States of America
31 Rafiu Adeniran Lawal Building Blocks for Peace Foundation Nigeria
32 Akilimali Aboubakar Burundi Child Rights Coalition (BCRC) Burundi
33 Bishnu Pukar Shrestha CAHURAST, Nepal Nepal
34 Silvia Flores Mosquera CAPTE - Uruguay Uruguay
35 Joseph Kagabo CareMe E-clinic Rwanda
36 Marcia Brandon Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods Barbados
37 Richard Jones Caribbean Policy Development Centre Barbados
38 Hesham Khalil Center for Development Services Egypt
39 Ifeanyi Nwanoro Center for Innovative and Pragmatic Development Initiative Nigeria
40 Gayflor Z. Worzi Centre for Inclusion and Empowerment Liberia
41 Styvn Obodoekwe Centre for Media and Development Communication, CEMEDEC Nigeria
42 James Gondwe Centre for Youth and Development Malawi
43 Irene Dawa CEPAD West Nile Uganda
44 Admiral development organization Chief executive officer Pakistan
45 Jeef Bech CISU - Civil Society in Development Aarhus, Denmark
46 Maja Stojanovic Civic Initiatives Serbia
47 Lysa John Berna CIVICUS South Africa
48 Roselle Rasay CODE-NGO Philippines
49 Desire Kajabika Collectif de Développement et respect de la Dignité Humaine North Kivu, DR Congo
50 Hans Rosenkranz Comunidad de Organizaciones Solidarias Chile
51 Genezaret Hernandez Consultando Soluciones Boheme group cem Venezuela
52 Katompa andy Curtis business Democratic Republic of the Congo
53 Alli Olawale Abdurrazaq DEPOSSIBILITIES YOUTH ALLIANCE Nigeria
54 Muhammad Ibrahim Khoso Diabetes Volunteers Pakistan
55 Micheal Adeniyi Differentabilities Ghana
56 Phumelele Dlamini Domestic Workers Union Swaziland
57 Milutin Milošević Drug Policy Network South East Europe Serbia
58 Titus Busonga Eliezah Foundation Uganda
59 KHAOULA BEHI ELSPACE Tunisia
60 Emad Konwolor Wesseh Emerging Youth OrganizationEYO Inc Liberia
61 Ayiorwoth Gloria Environmental Defenders Uganda
62 Daniel Mekonnen Eritrean Law Society U.S.A./Switzerland/Netherlands
63 Lorenzo Marsili European Alternatives Berlin
64 Wilbert St Fort FINESTE Haiti
65 Mamboleo Samuel Fondation JALUO DU CONGO Democratic Republic of the Congo
66 Nurul Alam Masud Food Security Network- KHANI, Bangladeh Bangladesh
67 Imtiaz Ahmad Watto Foundation for Awareness and Civic Engagement, FACE Pakistan
68 Chris Chirambo Foundation for Girls Advancement Malawi
69 Medya Dhir Fraternity Foundation For Human Rights Germany
70 Moisés Uceda Fundación Integral para el Desarrollo Regional, FINDER El Salvador
71 Nathaly Montenegro Fundacion Nuevos Campos Colombianos Colombia
72 Atef Soliman Gatef organization Egypt
73 Kisubi Denis GIVE HOPE UGANDA Uganda
74 Innocent Ndenda Global Exchange Program International Zimbabwe
75 Harriet karen Mukajambo Global Learning for Sustainability(GLS) Kampala, Uganda
76 Hadiya Usman Gombe Youth For Global Goals Nigeria
77 Jennifer Morgan Greenpeace International Amsterdam, The Netherlands
78 Mahendranath Busgopaul Halley Movement Coalition Mauritius
79 Hitesh BHATT-INDIA Hitesh BHATT-INDIA United States of America
80 Dr.Khurram Malik HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan New Zealand
81 Rochelle Stewart-Allen Hui E! Community Aotearoa Aotearoa, New Zealand
82 ISMAIL SIDI ALI Human Rights Network, Nassarawa Kano, Nigeria Nigeria
83 Jerbert M. Briola Human Rights Online Philippines Philippines
84 Mohammad Issa Ibtikar for Empowerment and Social Entrepreneurship Palestine
85 Tatwa Timsina ICA Nepal Kathmandu, Nepal
86 Ayoub Al kasemi Improve Your Society Organization - IYSO Yemen
87 Ayoub Al kasemi Improve Your Society Organization - IYSO Yemen
88 Dipak Dholakia Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN) Delhi, India
89 Sugeng Bahagijo INFID Indonesia
90 Dr. Patience Nishimagizwe Initiative For Social Development Organization Rwanda
91 Rajae Boujnah Innovation for Change - Middle East and North Africa Morocco
92 Ayomikun Olugbode Inspired Youth Network Nigeria
93 Tuuli Sauren INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO Germany
94 Anabel Cruz Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD) Uruguay
95 Phil Lynch International Service for Human Rights Geneva
96 Ibrahim Mwafrika International Social Movement self help group Kenya
97 Thirukumar Premakumar International Youth Alliance for Peace Sri Lanka
98 Tetiana Hulii ISC Charity Fund Ukraine
99 Simao Tila JOINT Liga de ONGs em Moçambique Mozambique
100 Mohammed Ndifuna Justice Access Point Uganda
101 Glory Nzenwa Justice Initiative For The Disadvantaged And Oppressed Persons (JIDOP) Abuja, Nigeria
102 Stephanie Kusa Kakamega Social Justice Kenya
103 Carminda Mac Lorin Katalizo Montreal, Canada
104 John Kule Kawempe Health and Education Initiative Uganda
105 Justus Lavi Mwololo Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum KESSFF Kenya
106 Ivan Fredrick Kasonko Key populations Uganda Uganda
107 Rupert Daley Kingston Action Forum Jamaica
108 ali mahmoud mhamad Kurdistan without Genocide Iraq
109 Justina Kaluinaite Lithuanian NGDO Platform Lithuania
110 Lina Marcela Lopez Manos al Campo Colombia
111 Emilie Pradichit Manushya Foundation Thailand
112 Saliu Bashir MCDO Nigeria
113 Edwin Donald Pérez Mesa Intersectorial de Tierra y Ambiente Guatemala
114 Dumisani Kaliati MicroMek Malawi
115 Victor Okechukwu Chimezie Mind Reformers Network Nigeria
116 Adah Mbah Muyang Mother of Hope Cameroon - MOHCAM Cameroon
117 Augustine Macarthy Movement towards Education and Youth Empowerment Sierra Leone, West Africa
118 Daya Sagar Shrestha National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal Nepal
119 Gaja Å avelÄ— National NGO Coalition Lithuania
120 Omayma National Sudanese Women Association Sudan
121 Subindra Bogati Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative Kathmandu, Nepal
122 Dr. Tristaca McCray NERDS RULE INC. United States of America
123 Kai Klandorf Network of Estonian Non-Profit Organizations (NENO) Estonia
124 Agenonga Robert Ngetha Media Association for Peace NMAP Uganda
125 Olena Lazorenko NGO "League of Professional Women" Ukraine
126 Ken Phillips NGO Futures LLC Boston, MA, USA
127 Yusuff Olayode Nigeria Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security Nigeria
128 Oyebisi, B. Oluseyi Nigeria Network of NGOs Nigeria
129 Vandita Morarka One Future Collective Mumbai, India
130 Chris Abbott Open Briefing United Kingdom
131 ali mahmoud mhamad Organization of the Justice Campaign Iraq
132 Dr. Obiero Onganga OSIENALA  Friends of Lake Victoria Kenya
133 Emeline Siale ILOLAHIA Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations Suva, Fiji
134 Epa Pepe Tanuvasa PacificwinAustralia Australia
135 Alice Meredith PacificwinNewZealand New Zealand
136 Pefi Kingi PacificwinPacific  New Zealand
137 Mohammad Ismail Pakistan NGOs Forum Pakistan
138 Mousa Rimawi Palestinian Center for Development and Media freedoms-MADA Ramallah- Palestine
139 D. Shankarappa Parivarthana Rural Development Society
140 Nurul Alam Masud Participatory Research Action Network- PRAN Bangladesh
141 May Nasr Partners We Are in Lebanon (PartnersLebanon) Beirut, Lebanon
142 Albert Baudouin TWIZEYIMANA PAX PRESS Rwanda
143 Runcie C.W. Chidebe Project PINK BLUE - Health & Psychological Trust Centre Nigeria
144 Elisa Peter Publish What You Pay United Kingdom
145 Guillermo Correa RACI - Argentine Network for International Cooperation Argentina
146 ElsaMarie DSilva Red Dot Foundation India
147 Suzanne Lea Red Dot Foundation Global United States of America
148 Lorena T Liendo Rey Red por los Derechos Humanos de los niños, niñas y adolescentes Venezuela
149 Fereza Makene Réseau SOS Femmes en Détresse - SOS FED Burundi
150 Tizgowere Msiska Revolution Human Aid and Transparency Initiative Malawi
151 Janak Raj Hamal Rural Sustainalbe Development and Research Center Nepal
152 Bernard LUTETE DI LUTETE Save the Climat Democratic Republic of the Congo
153 Marta Ferrara Semillas para la Democracia Paraguay
154 Juanita Pardesi Seriti Institute South Africa
155 Naima Twahir Shakirina Youth for Development Kenya
156 Ekenia Chifamba Shamwari Yemwanasikana Harare, Zimbabwe
157 Cosmas Rongoti Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care Zimbabwe
158 George Kapataies Shiam - Youth Make the Future Palestine - Ramallah
159 Charles Mwangi SIXKNM Self-Help Group Kenya
160 Adinan Sufiyan Social and Labour Affairs Ethiopia
161 Shawna Bader-Blau Solidarity Center United States of America
162 Festo Bali Christopher South Sudan community change Agency South Sudan
163 Stephen Lee Ste South Africa
164 Chanwat Brian Geoffrey Strategic Response International Uganda
165 Mayaya K. Singu Sustainable Beekeeping and Human Development Tanzania
166 Mazen DARWISH Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression- SCM France
167 Fadel Abdul Ghany Syrian Network for Human Rights Syria
168 Kwabena Agyarko Achempong Talent Africa Foundation Ghana
169 Samuel Sebit Emmanuel Talent Initiative for Development-TIDE South Sudan
170 Paschal Nchunda Tanzania Agricultural Modernization Association Tanzania
171 Emmanuel C. Amistad Task Force Detainees of the Philippines Philippines
172 Michael Diala Team Initiative Nigeria
173 Petru Botnaru Terra-1530 Moldova, Republic of
174 Alex Mukungu Nasiyo The Adan Keynan Foundation Kenya
175 Ziad Abdel Samad The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) Beirut, Lebanon
176 Coltrida The New Wash Burn Foundation Tanzania
177 Kirthi Jayakumar The Red Elephant Foundation India
178 Aidan Eyakuze Twaweza East Africa Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda
179 Gerald Kankya Twerwaneho Listeners' Club - Uganda (TLC) Fort Portal, Uganda
180 Sophie Kange Uganda National NGO Forum Uganda
181 Mukami Merete | Dr. Stella Wairimu UHAI EASHRI Eastern Africa region
182 Akaninyene Obot Ukana West 2 Community Based Health Initiative Nigeria
183 Cay-Low Mbedzi Uninhibited Voices South Africa
184 Susana Erostegui Unión Nacional de Instituciones para el Trabajo de Acción Social-UNITAS Bolivia
185 Ndanatsei Tawamba Urgent Action Fund-Africa Kenya
186 Mustafa Abdi Violation Documentation Center in North Syria Syria
187 BRIAN WAMUKOTA WAKWETU YOUTH GROUP Kenya
188 Nana Afadzinu West Africa Civil Society Institute Ghana
189 Ana Addobbati Women Friendly / Social Good Brasil Brazil
190 Gerbrand Haverkamp World Benchmarking Alliance Netherlands
191 Prince Ifoh Young African Leaders Forum South Africa
192 Tariq Mahmood Qureshi Young League Pakistan Pakistan
193 Paul Youth Advocates for Change Zambia
194 Foeday Zinnah Youth Alliance for Rural Development YARD-Liberia Liberia
195 Jonathan Kassibu Youth and Environment Vision Tanzania
196 Emmanuel Edudzie Youth Empowerment Synergy Accra, Ghana
197 Roshni K. Nuggehalli Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action-YUVA India
198 Priscilla Nyaaba Youth Harvest Foundation Ghana Bolgatanga, Ghana
199 Justin Francis Bionat Youth Voices Count Philippines / Thailand
200 Ahmed Allouch Youth Without Borders - Tunisia Tunis, Tunisia
201 Swaliho M. Fofana YOUTHAID-LIBERIA Liberia
202 Leah Diana Mitaba Zambia Council for Social Development Zambia

 

  

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