COVID-19, Impact on NGOs, Code Committee Nominations, NZ Support Report, and more.

Posted on 23 March 2020

+ COVID-19 - Understanding the numbers

Our World in Data has some of the best aggregated data on coronavirus. To understand the numbers - and how fast the virus is spreading in different countries - go here.

This article aggregates existing research, brings together the relevant data and allows readers to make sense of the published data and early research on the coronavirus outbreak, writes Max Roser.

What we know is changing everyday which makes COVID-19 different to measuring, say poverty reduction for example. All data and research on the virus is preliminary and researchers are rapidly learning more about a new and evolving problem.

The number of total cases is what we want to know, but their number is simply not known. Not everyone is getting tested.

What we do know is the number of confirmed cases.

The important thing to measure is the growth rate of the disease. Even if the current numbers of cases and deaths are small when compared with other diseases, a fast growth rate can lead to very large numbers rapidly.

  • In the 'whole world' the rate of confirmed cases doubled in 24 days.
  • In Italy it doubled in 4 days, in Spain in 3 days, in the UK in 3 days, and in Greece in 1 day.

+ What does this mean for developing countries?

Although Europe seems to be the epicentre of the virus right now, vulnerable people in developing countries are at more long term risk because of lost income due to the virus which will see a spike in poverty, missed meals for children, and reduced access to healthcare.

David Evans and Mead Over, from the Centre for Global Studies access the impact of COVID-19 on the world's most vulnerable populations, here.

"Most of the economic impact of the virus will be...from “aversion behavior,” the actions people take to avoid catching the virus."

As consumers stay home and consume less, supply chains in developing countries will be affected.

Governments close schools, events are banned and people stop going to markets.

"Unplanned pregnancies rose sharply in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic, likely in part a result of school closures."

So far, there don't seem to be as many cases in poorer countries, but that may be lack of data collection, or an indication the infections will come later.

When the virus does hit, it will hit harder in countries without the health infrastructure in place.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and refugee agency (UNHCR) have issued reminders that the world’s most vulnerable people must not be forgotten during this health crisis.

"UNICEF noted that, whilst handwashing with soap is critical to stem the spread, millions of people do not have even basic facilities at home. This amounts to some 3 billion people in the least developed countries. Furthermore, nearly half of all schools do not have a handwashing facility with soap and water, whilst a third have no place for children to wash their hands at all.

"As a result, the health consequences and the economic impacts from the aversion behavior may reverberate in poor countries longer after the epidemic subsides in rich countries."

+ What does this mean for refugees?

If it was hard for a refugee family to get into a safe country before COVID-19. It's going to be almost impossible now, with borders closing and people panicking about infection.

It seems highly likely the virus will spread rapidly amongst crowded refugee camps, if it hasn't already.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the launch on Friday of a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to make it easier for private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to fighting the pandemic.

Funds will go towards supporting actions outlined in the WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, to enable all countries – particularly those most vulnerable and at-risk, and with the weakest health systems – to prepare for and respond to the crisis.

A $33 million appeal to support refugees was launched by UNHCR on Friday. Elderly members of the world’s forcibly displaced population are at particular risk, the agency warned.

The urgently needed funds will boost the preparedness, prevention and response activities to address the immediate public health needs of refugees, that have been prompted by COVID-19

+ 'Immediate evacuation' at refugee camp

MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) has called for the immediate evacuation of a refugee camp in Greece,

  • A case of COVID-19 coronavirus on Lesbos has sparked fresh fears for the health and safety of people trapped in camps on the Greek islands.
  • With unhygienic, cramped living conditions, the threat of an outbreak among people is very real, yet there are no epidemic response plans in place.
  • MSF is urging for the immediate evacuation of the migrants and asylum seekers in the camps in the Greek islands.

+ What does this mean for NGOs?

Many New Zealand NGOs are eliminating noncritical travel to limit staffers’ exposure to COVID-19, while also creating contingency plans as the global pandemic continues to escalate.

If you can do a meeting virtually or attend a conference virtually, do it that way.

Mercy CorpsRelief InternationalNorwegian Refugee CouncilCatholic Relief ServicesCARE, and Save the Children are among the nongovernmental organizations issuing new travel restrictions for staff while also rolling out prevention and response plans in impacted and at-risk countries, writes Amy Leiberman at Devex.

It's also about restricting training and workshops. Long-term work, like identifying  future direction and designing strategies could be affected as teams work from home.

Several international NGOs also shared their individual health security strategies with Devex:

  • Plan International has canceled all noncritical international travel and activities through March 31 and is looking at business continuity plans.

  • CARE International has moved to “business critical” travel but continues to undertake programs in compliance with local government restrictions. 

  • Relief International is now “constantly” reviewing risk levels and authorizing travel on a case-by-case basis.

The changes come as development events worldwide continue to be canceled or transitioned to a virtual format, and multiple governments — from the NZ to Uganda — issue new travel restrictions.

Catholic Relief Services is also thinking through its “call to home” scenarios for international staffers, so they can return to their countries of residence if government travel restrictions escalate.

“The reason why we are going ‘mission-critical’ is not necessarily because of the virus. … It is because of travel restrictions governments put in place. If staffers are quarantined, they cannot work with communities where we need them most,” van Weerden said.

+ CID's training and events - moving on line

We will in be in touch shortly with our plan to keep up your training and workshop needs during this unsettled time, and even host CID talks - all online.

We want to make sure that if you're working from home and looking for ways to stay connected as a sector, options are available.

If you have any thoughts, let us know. 

Podcast  - 'Good Will Hunters'

Whether you're working from home or still in the office, this is a fantastic podcast series, hosted by Rachel Mason Nunn.

Good Will Hunters is an Australian podcast series about aid and development, covering everything from 'good intentions and bad outcomes', philanthropy, the Pacific, M&E and much more.

Rachel is a rising star in Australian aid circles, gaining great popularity for her insights and topics.

Well worth a listen. There's something for everybody!

+ DevNet 2020: Call for Session Proposals

The DevNet team are delighted to invite you to propose sessions for the 2020 DevNet conference, to be hosted at Massey University from 2nd - 4th December in Palmerston North.

A session is a 75-90 minute segment of the conference that has a unified theme of 'Development Matters'. We are seeking creative, inspirational formats in addition to conventional paper presentation sessions. Session proposals could include debates, workshops, reflections on policy, round tables, talanoa/kōrero outside on mats, slam poetry and so forth. 

Please make note of the following dates:

  • 24th April - to submit your session proposal. Please download and complete the template and email it to
  • 15th May - following a review of the session proposals, a Call for Papers will be open on 15th May. This is this time when individuals can submit abstracts which either relate to a specific named session, or which align more broadly with the conference themes.

+ Nominations for Code Committee 

CID is looking for two new Member Representative for the Code of Conduct Committee, for a period of two (2) years (renewable) from April 2020 – March 2022. 

The aim of the Code of Conduct Committee is to provide assurance to CID members, donors, the public and partners that the CID Code is being implemented effectively. It monitors adherence to the Code and compliance self-assessment and ensures that complaints in relation to the Code are examined promptly and fairly. The next 12 months will also be an exciting time as we continue with the implementation of recommendations from the Code Review.

The Member Representative will be nominated and elected by CID member organisations. The elected Member Representative can be:

  • current staff or board members of CID organisations
  • ex-staff and ex-board members of CID organisations
  • fully elected CID board members but not the Chair of the CID board.

Please contact Aaron Davy if you require further information, including a copy of the Code of Conduct Committee ToR and nomination form. 

The closing date for CID to receive nominations for the Member Representative role is Tuesday 24 March.

JB Were: The New Zealand Support Report

JB Were in collaboration with Philanthropy New Zealand released their 'The New Zealand Support Report' this week. This reports is a continuation of the sector analysis initially seen in 'The New Zealand Cause Report' which examined overall social sector trends (or 'for-purpose sector as it is defined in the report)..

The New Zealand Support Report focuses on just the income derived from philanthropy and grant-making, and on the cost savings provided from the significant support offered through volunteering. While only providing around 15% of the social sector total income the funds coming from donations, grants and bequests from individuals, private and statutory trusts and foundations and business have far more significance on the plans, strategic directions and new opportunities for impact within the sector.

The reports includes the following observations:

  • Total philanthropy and grant making is estimated at $3.8billion for 2018. This is a significant increase from earlier studies.
  • At current rates, the financial value of volunteering to the sector is 1.6 times that of all donations, grants and bequests but very few organisations put more effort into volunteering compared to seeking donations.
  • The causes individuals support changes with their income levels.
  • The corporate sector is a strong supporter of the social sector but the methods used are not as well understood by recipients.
  • A national 'Generosity Campaign' to stem the slide in both volunteering and broad mass market participation in giving is worth strong consideration

+ Notes from the Field -  

CID members have contributed to Massey University's feedback on NZDF's 'Advancing Pacific Partnerships'.

You can read contributions from:

  • World Vision's Mark Mitchell
  • Oxfam's Dr Darren Brunk
  • CID's Josie Pagani
  • Dr Johanna Brown, CID supporter 
  • Caritas's Julianne Hickey
And many others. Lots of interesting analysis.

In the words of editor, Gerard Prinson, the aid was to broaden the "views on Pacific security issues" by asking, "a range of experts and commentators – balancing representatives from academia with representatives from NGOs" - to comment on the new NZDF paper.



Have your say - State of the sector survey 

Have your say: ComVoices State of the Sector survey 2020.

This survey is worthwhile doing – it takes about 12 mins to complete. ComVoices strongly encourages every organisation in the Community and Voluntary sector to complete it, as the more data we have the stronger we can make election messages.

The results are being analysed and written up by an experienced social services researcher so it will be good quality work. 

Closes 31 March.  And … please pass it on to others in your networks.

+ Manaaki applications closing soon

As the end of March draws nearer, MFAT wanted to remind you that applications for Manaaki round two, their streamlined contestable fund for New Zealand NGOs, are due 5pm Monday 30 March 2020.

If you are keen to apply, but issues relating to COVID-19 are delaying your progress, please do let them know. 

Below is a list of documents, for your reference:

If you’ve any questions, please reach out to MFAT at or see their website.

+ 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.

+ The danger of stories in global health

Have you heard the story about Fidel Castro and the Ugandan army?

And the stories of women avoiding clinics to deliver their babies because they know someone who went to the clinic and did not come out alive?

Stories may contradict scientific evidence, but they are derived from everyday perception. If the 2014–16 outbreak of Ebola taught us anything, it is if you want to understand how a disease spreads, look to the stories of the communities it affects, writes Sophie Harman on The Lancet.

As efforts to contain COVID-19 show, one part of responding to outbreaks is to control the stories and misinformation that spread. Stories that spread fake news and false information are dangerous but, Harman adds, they are dangerous when we impose single narratives, and they are dangerous when we think them irrelevant to the work of science, medicine, and global health.

Dangerous stories, that gain greater traction in times of economic and political instability, 'cannot simply be rebuffed by science because at their core is a fiction and construction of a narrative that people can understand and, for some reason, trust, want to believe, or are encouraged to believe (by politicians, family members, or neighbours, among others) more than science and evidence. Appreciating the context in which such dangerous stories arise can help challenge them.'

Stories in global health have the potential to provide comfort, making sense of our health and place in the world, challenging our preconceptions, and defeating fear through stories of common humanity.

+ A tool to measure and overcome poverty

Marina Apgar, in this IDS Blog, talks about Poverty Stoplights, a tool developed by Fundación Paraguaya with the aim of making people the protagonists of their own process of overcoming poverty through ‘measuring what they value’.

Poverty Stoplight breaks down the overwhelming concept of poverty into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through simple interventions, making the "invisible" manifestations of poverty visible in the shape of simple, understandable indicators. It defines what it means "not to be poor" across 6 dimensions: Income & Employment, Health & Environment, Housing & Infrastructure, Education & Culture, Organization & Participation, Interiority & Motivation.

Martin Burt, founder and director of Fundación Paraguaya, share his insights on the tool and the creative journey they had to go through  in the book Who Owns Poverty.

The combination of a focus on process, empowerment and hard measurement is behind the accolades that the methodology is receiving.

According to Apgar, the Poverty Stoplight responds to complexity through participatory simplicity and embraces the importance of experiential learning by doing in context. and she concludes "All good participatory practice is the result of practitioners who are open to exploring themselves within the journey."

+ CID Events

Updates to follow, however we are looking to make events available online.

+ Other Events Coming Up
+ CID Activities
  • CID Director spoke at the annual New Zealand Initiative Retreat
  • Preparation for DRR Community of Practice
  • Incorporation of feedback into drafting of NZDRP submission
  • CID Board meeting
  • Meetings with potential CID Members
  • Scoping CID Talks events
  • Advocacy research started
  • CID Safeguarding Tool concept note drafted
  • Design of process for CID Strategy development and review of CID membership criteria 
  • Storytelling workshop design started
  • Business contingency plan & briefing in response to Covid-19 created