Covid-19 Banner

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.

Stories of Solidarity and Innovation

Resources for Civil Society