Global poverty, Remote humanitarian work, Remittances, and more

Posted on 26 May 2020

+ 'How to keep the world's most essential work going'

"The 3rd wave of Coronavirus could be the most deadly," writes CEO of World Vision, Grant Bayldon in a new think piece this week.

"It’s the one that’s just now starting to swamp our global neighbours in the poorest parts of the world," he says.

While we may have kept the virus at bay in New Zealand, there's no guarantee it will stay out, unless we do our bit to contain it in some of the poorest countries in the world, including in the Pacific -  our nearest neighbours.

"There can be no solution to this in one part of the world if it is left to keep infecting other parts of the world. Just as we cannot shut ourselves in our homes forever, we cannot close our borders permanently."

New Zealand can take the lead and champion a 'global Marshall Plan' to rebuild those countries decimated by COVID-19 and the lockdowns, he writes.

+ Women key to effective COVID-19 response in Pacific

Experience from past international crises such as the Ebola and Zika outbreaks, as well as previous disasters in the Pacific, have demonstrated the vital importance of incorporating a gender lens.

Women and girls face even higher rates of violence and sexual abuse, undertake more unpaid domestic work, access fewer essential health services, and are more vulnerable to economic hardship.

Understanding how COVID-19 affects women and men differently and recognising women as leaders and decision-makers is fundamental to an effective response for all:

1. Preventative measures such as lockdowns are not safe for everyone
2. Women's unpaid domestic labour is increasing
3. Women are on the frontline protecting the health and well-being of their communities (70% of the health care workforce)
4. Women are not included in decision-making.

The April 2020 OECD report; Women at the core of the fight against COVID-19 crisis, outlines how all policy response to the crisis must embed a gender lens and account for the needs, responsibilities and perspectives of women.


+ COVID 'undoes years of progress on global poverty'

Covid-19 imperils one of the greatest achievements of recent decades—the stunning reduction in global poverty, reports the Economist magazine this week.

"Most countries in the developing world still require their citizens to stay at home, except to duck out for essentials. But few of the world’s poorest can work from home. And without work, many cannot eat."

"From 1990 until last year the number of extremely poor people—those who subsist on less than $1.90 per day—fell from 2bn, or 36% of the world’s population, to around 630m, or just 8%. Now, for the first time since 1998, that number is rising—very fast."

"Many poor countries have copied the kind of lockdowns that have been imposed in rich countries. But the circumstances are utterly different."

Workers in developing countries often can't from home, and there is no tax-payer funded support for those out of work.

"Some kinds of lockdown could cost more lives than they save. A report by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimates that if restrictions prevent vaccinations, in Africa 140 will die for every COVID-19 death prevented."

+ What would the collapse of remittances mean?

Later in the year, another facet of this global crisis will affect people in the Global South: the collapse of workers' remittances, writes Michael Clemens on Center for Global Development.

Remittances are the largest single source of international development finance. But the World Bank projects that remittances to developing countries will slump by 23 per cent this year and it will hit countries that highly rely on remittances, like Haiti and Nepal among others. 

In the Philippines alone, a 20% drop in remittances would throw about 380,000 people into extreme poverty, according to rigorous estimates by Dean Yang and Claudia Martinez. Worldwide, that would almost certainly add up to many millions.

Remittences are often spent on health and education.

In Mexico, for example a 20% cut to remittances in the 2009 economic crisis almost doubled the rate of school dropouts among 12­ to 16-year-olds in remittance-receiving households, economists Daniel Chiquiar and co-authors found

Remittances also function as a sort of insurance for poor households who cannot access to formal insurance schemes.

No-one knows how much remittances will change, for how long, says Clemens. A lot has to do with political will and border restrictions.

"Attacking migrants now means choking off the largest source of international development finance for years to come. Slashing investment in health and education overseas does not bring security to anyone, anywhere".

Remittances will still be much larger than Foreign Direct Investment to developing countries, and still about 2.5 times the value of all foreign aid put together.

+ Remote humanitarian work in the age of COVID-19

This week CID's Humanitarian Advisory Group and CARE Australia have launched the first in their series of guidance notes for humanitarian agencies working through the COVID-19 pandemic - Remote Humanitarian Management and Programming

These are intended as short and practical documents for operational actors, the series includes humanitarian guidance notes on remote management, remote facilitation and remote working. 

Remote management involves increased devolution of responsibility and decision-making to national staff, national partners and organisations, or communities themselves, with some management functions undertaken by head offices. 

Marrying beautifully with the Localisation Agenda, there are a number of practical actions that this guidance note covers;

1. The importance of co-design and ownership of projects with local and national partners
2. Critical identification of immediate context-specific capacities
3. The ongoing remote management and support for safety and well-being
4. The need to identify flexible and adaptable approaches that respond to contextual changes easily and rapidly
5. Support for accountability to affected populations (AAP), transparency, protection and due diligence requirements.


+ Don't lose the lessons learnt during COVID for aid

Confronted with the global pandemic, individual and institutional philanthropy has been responsive, engaged, and nimble, reports Traci Nowskie from McKinsey & Company, who conducted a survey into philanthropy during COVID-19.

"The challenge—and opportunity—for the sector will be to make those features stick. The gravitational pull toward old ways of working will be strong, especially as philanthropies grapple with the impact of an economic downturn on their own endowments."

5 key lessons from COVID-19:

  • Reduce the burden on grantees
  • Accelerate the pace and volume of giving
  • Partner with other donors to go faster, further
  • Invest more in local communities 
  • Support the public sector

+ Oxfam global -  brings change forward, closes offices

Oxfam internationally will have to withdraw offices from 18 countries and has cut 1,450 staff post the COVID-19 lockdowns.

A strategic review of the organization began in late 2018 but is being accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen fundraising events cancelled and Oxfam stores closed, writes Devex this week.

"This is the beginning of our 10-year new strategic vision that will transform Oxfam to become a key actor and ally to fight inequalities, power, and privilege where it grows," writes interim Executive Director of Oxfam International, Chema Vera.

Oxfam NZ, independent from Oxfam International, sees positives in the changes, as the new global plan moves more decision-making power to developing countries’ local leaders and re-orientates teams to work in ways that are more tailored to specific local contexts.

"We have already moved towards more Pacific-led programmes and partnerships and we have together agreed we will reduce the size of Oxfam staff in each Pacific country....The priority remains that we continue to have a real impact on injustice and poverty...," says Oxfam NZ Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier

The full impact of COVID-19 on the aid sector is still unknown. Most aid organisations have held up under lockdown but could be facing big challenges later in the year.

BOND in the UK is predicting that 43% of their member aid organisations could fold within six months unless they receive additional funding from other sources, whether public fundraising, institutional donors or the UK government.

+ Full impact on aid sector unknown

The full impact of COVID-19 on the aid sector is still unknown. Most aid organisations have held up under lockdown but could be facing big challenges later in the year.

BOND in the UK is predicting that 43% of their member aid organisations could fold within six months unless they receive additional funding from other sources, whether public fundraising, institutional donors or the UK government.

CID is conducting a 'Health of the Sector' survey to look at how best to support the sector and build resilience to survive the post COVID environment.

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+ IRD Small Business Loan Scheme 

The government has announced the provision of interest-free loans for a year to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19, to support their immediate cash flow needs and meet fixed costs.

The Minister of Finance and Minister of Revenue say the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to firms employing 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. It is available to those who are sole traders as well as SME employers and other organisations (e.g. charities and not-for-profit entities).

Eligible businesses and organisations are entitled to a one-off loan, with the maximum amount loaned of $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee. Inland Revenue will administer the payments and repayments of this scheme. Applications will be open from 12th May to 12th June 2020. The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within one year.

Further information is available on the IRD website here, with the terms and conditions of these loans are available here.

+ COVID humour in Africa

Humour has been helping people all around the world get through COVID-19.

Here are some gems from African media.

+ Protect the Pacific Ocean

A new report analysing over 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles finds that the impacts of mining deep-sea polymetallic nodules would be extensive, severe, and last for generations, causing essentially irreversible species loss.

The report, Predicting the impacts of mining deep-sea polymetallic nodules in the Pacific Ocean, also notes that there is little to no social licence to mine deep-sea nodules and refutes Canadian company DeepGreen Metals’ claims that there will be economic gains for Pacific island economies.

“DeepGreen promotes deep-sea mining as creating great wealth with minimal or no adverse impacts. The science does not support their claims. In fact, the best available research clearly indicates that the mining of deep-sea nodules will place Pacific island states at great risk.” 

“The stakes are extremely high with Pacific economies, cultures, livelihoods, fisheries, food security, tourism, and iconic marine species all under threat from deep-sea nodule mining", said Dr Helen Rosenbaum.


+ COVID-19 Resources 

+ CID Activities
  • Preparation for fortnightly Fundraising Network 
  • Code compliance self-assessment support for new members
  • Preparation for next Humanitarian Network meeting (9th June)
  • Preparation for next Code of Conduct Committee meeting (16th June)
  • Meeting with NZDF
  • CEOs/MFAT catch up
  • Liaison with Tongan Royal Oceanic Institute (ROI) re recovery
  • Media release on budget day
  • CID board meeting
  • Preparation for online 'Governance' workshop
  • Membership engagement: 1 on 1 calls with CEOs continued
  • CID Member Program and Fundraising Network groups launched
  • Provision of assistance to set up Election Group
  • ACFID/PIANGO/CID meetings and actions
  • Design of research on 'Health of the Sector'