CID Weekly: Sector 'braces for COVID' new survey, plus US elections & fragile states

Posted on 11 November 2020

+ What the US election means for fragile states

International NGOs are often involved in monitoring elections in countries with fragile democratic processes.

The US election has brought the question of the integrity of elections  in the wealthier 'North' into sharp relief.

DEVEX reports that  The Carter Center, based in Atlanta Georgia which typically monitors three to five international elections each year, this year, turned its attention to its own country.

'...disinformation spreading, President Donald Trump discrediting the electoral process, and voter suppression in full force, The Carter Center decided to offer journalist training and public service campaigns.'

“The major issue is a lack of public trust that the election would be trustworthy, credible, and tested by the population as a whole. Now, this year, we have major candidates questioning whether the election results will be accepted,” said David Carroll, director of the organisation’s democracy program.

What happens in the US has a ripple effect around the world.

"...notwithstanding our own flaws, the U.S. has been a beacon and a model and a standard-setter. When it slides and it doesn’t play a leadership role and hold others accountable, we see that contributes to a decline in the rule of law globally," said Elizabeth Andersen, executive director at the World Justice Project.

It's important now that the US applies the lessons learnt of how to maintain peace after an election result.

"No country is immune from these kinds of challenges and the rule of law is a never-ending project to perfect, to develop and strengthen."

+ What a Biden administration will mean for development

On Saturday, November 7th in the United States, AP called the United States presidential election for Joe Biden ahead of Donald Trump, after a tumultuous four days of waiting for election results.

Adva Saldinger reports for DEVEX that a Biden administration will mark a return to 'normality'.  Biden foreign policy advisor Antony Blinken says that, as President, Biden will "bring aid back to the center of our foreign policy", while Conor Savoy of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network says "it's a return to normality and stability, in that the White House will no longer be actively trying to dismantle foreign assistance".

RNZ's Koroi Hawkins suggests that a Biden presidency will bring a focus on climate change to the Pacific, though it is unclear what changes Biden will bring for American territories American Samoa and in Micronesia.

+ CID Workshop - Gender Responsive Programming in a COVID World

Register now for these 2-hour workshops over two days, which will:

  • Revisit the role of gender mainstreaming in development and humanitarian responses, along with the role and impact of COVID on gender equality
  • Provide rich examples of gender mainstreaming in Asia-Pacific
  • Support participants to learn new skills and apply them to case-studies.
Both will be facilitated by two internationally leading gender experts, with vast expertise of working in the field, particularly in the Pacific.

Workshop 1
  • Wednesday 18 November, 12pm-2pm
Hosted by Anna Cowley from Fiji, who is a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Specialist and trainer.

Workshop 2
  • Thursday 19 November, 12pm-2pm
Hosted by Gina Huong Lee, who is a trainer, a practitioner and a feminist and gender advocate for women's human rights in the Pacific

Register here to receive the Zoom link for both workshops, just $20 for both workshops.

+ Aid charities 'Brace for COVID'

Aid charities have reported a slight drop in income, but are showing positive signs of adapting to COVID, reveals CID's latest annual survey of the sector 

This year’s survey covers activities before COVID, and into the first few months of the pandemic, revealing signs of how the sector is starting to adapt to COVID.
Key points:

  • There is a slight drop in overall income, from $202 million last year to $190 million
  • This continues a decline in public donations over 15 years, primarily from child sponsorship
  • COVID is beginning to impact fundraising (although fundraising remains relatively healthy) 
  • Public funding remains the main source of income for aid charities, but dependence on government funding has increased 
  • Collaborations between aid charities has declined slightly, but is expected to increase as more aid charities work together to respond to COVID
  • Partnerships with community organisations in-country has increased, particularly in the Pacific
  • Positive trends have been accelerated by COVID -  locally-driven development and humanitarian responses have increased, as closed borders prevent travel from New Zealand
  • 80% of aid charities have partnered with a Pacific organisation
  • 66% of aid charities reported a partnership with a New Zealand business – up from 54% last year
  • Funding to the Pacific as a proportion of income is up from 20% to 30%
  • But aid charities also continue to respond to the greatest need around the world, demonstrating the breadth of the sector’s work.
  • South Sudan receives the most funds, and four of the top ten countries are in Africa, with three in the Pacific and three in South-East Asia.

+ International SOS conference - 10th November.

***Business Continuity Whilst Delivering Aid: Empowering Your Local Teams - register here.

International SOS Workforce Resilience Council is holding a roundtable for NGOs, IGOs, and faith-based organisations next week. At this invite-only event, you and your peers will have an opportunity to discuss project delivery during COVID-19 and how to empower your local teams overseas.
The discussion-based session is 90 minutes long and will cover a variety of topics within the overall theme of remote overseas project management during COVID-19. Discussion points would include how to get the right information to help your local teams, having an updated escalation process and crisis policy, considerations for vulnerable populations, and available COVID-19 resources.

+ 'Oceania Connect' shows new way of connecting with Pacific, says DEVEX

COVID-19 has placed a magnifying glass on preexisting environmental and social challenges. It has highlighted flaws in government policy, partnerships, and delivery of development and humanitarian services — including those of international NGOs, writes Lisa Cornish at Devex.

"Bringing together the members of PIANGO, the Australian Council for International Development, and the Council for International Development in New Zealand, Oceania Connect highlighted that COVID-19 was part of the story for current and emerging challenges in the Pacific region. To respond to these, partnerships in the region would need to evolve — including those with NGOs."

Calling COVID-19 a “revealer,” (Siale) Ilolahia explained that going out to communities to help support  responses — including educating and informing communities — showed that access to water and crowded living conditions remained a challenge.

Where governments invested heavily in expanding the tourism industry prior to the pandemic, local workforces have become more vulnerable. And strained relationships between Pacific countries and external governments, (Siale) Ilolahia believes, means needs of the Pacific are not being considered, reports DEVEX.

Vani Catanasiga, executive director at the Fiji Council of Social Services, said shifting the power and enabling a faster process toward localization would support rapid response and better targeted delivery of development and humanitarian assistance.

“In one instance with COVID, I saw just how … replaceable INGOs, and some local NGOs, became,” she said. “Unpaid volunteers … replicated much of the work of humanitarian NGOs across the country in a matter of weeks.”

Craig Fisher, chair at the Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, said that NGOs needed to be “brave enough” to embrace localization as a better way of delivering services, and warned against complacency.

+ CID AGM (& Dinner)

On Thursday 5 November, CID held its Annual Dinner and AGM, hosted by Hon. James Shaw, returning Minister for Climate Change, who also gave a keynote address.

The day included a panel discussion of the latest CID Annual Membership Survey for 2019-20, which shows the sector bracing for the impact of COVID-19.  Rachel LeMesurier (Oxfam CEO), Ian McInnes (Tearfund CEO), and TJ Grant (International Partnerships Director at World Vision) gave insights into how CID members can adapt to the new environment, with localisation and shared services.

Oxfam New Zealand were presented with this year's Collaboration Award for their project, New Zealand Aid Agencies Call for Global Action on Pandemic.  They worked with 12 other CID members as well as CID.  The project sent an Open Letter to the Prime Minister seeking new humanitarian funding, securing $7m in funding to the Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

Thanks to all of you that came and enjoyed the evening - it was a well-deserved night of celebration after a challenging year for the sector!

+ Should charities use NDAs?

NDAs (Non-Disclosure- Agreements) should neither intentionally nor unintentionally silence survivors at times when they require support the most, writes Lena Bheeroo at UK BOND this week. 

"But how can we guarantee that NDAs are being used ethically when needed, whilst also encouraging the creation of an open work culture that allows employees to speak up?"

Here are some helpful guidance on NDAs to make it clear that they cannot be used to stop someone from: 

  • reporting discrimination or sexual harassment at work or to the police 
  • 'whistleblowing' 
  • disclosing a future act of discrimination or harassment 

They also make it clear that NDAs should not be used: 

  • before seeing if another solution can be used instead 
  • to stop someone reporting discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment 
  • to cover up inappropriate behaviour or misconduct 
  • to avoid addressing disputes or problems in the workplace 

+ Aotearoa Living Wage week

Do Good Jobs hosted a webinar on the Living Wage in the not-for-profit sector for Aotearoa Living Wage week this week.  CID, along with some of our members including Oxfam, CWS, and UnionAID are Living Wage accredited employers.

The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.

+ IDYP 'Korero on Racism' in International Development

On Thursday 19th November at 6pm, IDYP will be hosting a Korero on Racism in International Development, to be held in Auckland

The expert panel will delve into the often ignored areas of institutional discrimination, unconscious bias, a lack of true diversity and the unequal power dynamics of Western donors in relation to local practitioners, communities and organisations in the Pacific and further afield.

There are 3 confirmed panelists (Dr Wiremu Manaia, Dr Yvonne Te Ruki-Rangi-o-Tangaroa Underhill-Sem and Dr Mahdis Azarmandi), and Siobhan Patia (a Crown lawyer based up north) will moderate. 

Please register here

+ Save the Date: MFAT Virtual NGO Hui on 10 December

MFAT’s Pacific and Development Group are pleased to announce the annual NGO Hui – this year held virtually on Thursday 10 December, starting.


 - MFAT Updates
 - Partnering for Impact
 - Localisation: Initial research findings
More details to come.