About this Report
As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, civil society stepped up to make a difference. Civil society was a source of vital support, advice and information, a guardian of human rights, an enabler and defender of communities, a determined advocate for inclusive and rights-oriented policies, a corrective to state and market failures, a driver of sustained mobilisation, creativity and innovation, a trusted partner and an essential guarantor of accountability over state and private sector decisions.
Drawing from a range of civil society voices, this report outlines some of the many civil society responses to the pandemic, highlights its vital contributions, draws preliminary lessons and makes recommendations for states and other stakeholders to enable and work with civil society, both in pandemic response and recovery and in tackling the underlying issues that the crisis has exposed and deepened.
Our report is from and for civil society, and seeks to share the voices of CIVICUS members and allies. Through a series of in-depth interviews, civil society activists, advocates and practitioners analyse the impacts of the pandemic and emergency measures, particularly on vulnerable and excluded groups, and lay out the bold, creative and innovative actions offered by civil society in response.
CIVICUS members took part in a survey in June 2020 to gauge the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on civil society and civil society responses. The survey contained three blocks of questions – on experiences of solidarity and innovation, civil society resourcing and civic space restrictions – that respondents could choose to focus on, each of them feeding into a research and advocacy stream. We received 298 responses in three languages (English, French and Spanish) from 187 members in 59 countries.
A full analysis of the survey results focused on civil society resourcing is available here.
Resources for Civil Society
CIVICUS, CIVICUS Monitor
ICNL, COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker
Idea International, Global Monitor of COVID-19´s Impact on Democracy and Human Rights
350.org, Digital campaigning
Right2Know, A guide to digital self-defence and empowerment
Rights and Security International, Emergency Powers and Crisis Responses: Human Rights Risks
Coronavirus Tech Handbook
Online meetings, workshops, and events
TechSoup, Understanding the Videoconferencing Tools Available to Your Nonprofit
TechSoup, Managing the Impact of COVID 19 on Nonprofits (video)
Collaboration Superpowers, Virtual team-building activities
Bloomerang, COVID-19 Fundraising & Donor Relations Tactics
QueerIdeas, Free resources for creating a Coronavirus appeal
Nonprofit Finance Fund, Cashflow and Scenario Planning Tools
CIVICUS, Civic freedoms under threat during the COVID-19 pandemic: A snapshot of restrictions and resilience
Digital Peace Now, 2020 International Cyberwarfare Awareness Report
Human Rights Watch, COVID-19: A human rights checklist
IDEA International, Global democracy & COVID-19: Upgrading international support
U4 Anti-corruption Centre, Supporting civil society during the Covid-19 pandemic: The potentials of online collaborations for social accountability
UN Women, COVID-19 and the impact on CSOs working to end violence against women and girls
The Urgent Action Fund COVID-19 Crisis Fund
Elton John AIDS Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund
LGBTQ Funding Resources
National Geographic Covid-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists
Pen America Writers Emergency FundThe International Women’s Media Foundation
The Soze Foundation Artist + Activist Fund
The Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation: Coronavirus Fast Response Fund
Center for Disaster Philanthropy Fund
GrantStation page on Grant Opportunities Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Candid’s pop-up page of funding opportunities for COVID-19
Open Technology Fund
The Open Road Alliance
Legal Defense Fund
Rapid Response Funding: COVID and Women’s Rights