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REPORT: Voices from the Frontline of Covid-19

CDKN and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), in collaboration with the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), have woven together the ‘Voices from the Frontline’ stories into a colourful synthesis publication highlighting how resilience is forged and strengthened at community level.

Colliding shocks

Communities around the world are facing multiple shocks and stresses. Covid-19 and its economic fallout have frequently collided with the impacts of climate change. The challenges are great, particularly in low-income communities and informal settlements, where development infrastructure and services were already weak before the pandemic hit. The most economically and socially vulnerable have been worst affected.

People have self-organised to help themselves and support the most vulnerable. Such spontaneous community organising is proving to be a crucial element in navigating this exceptional disruption. Women’s and young people’s leadership has been outstanding. Community members have drawn on and strengthened existing social relationships, information networks, group savings, markets and income-generating opportunities– and they have created new ones.

People in low-income communities have articulated clearly how they would like to partner with governments and external actors to improve their situation. They have expressed their needs, and what they have to offer.

Voices from the Frontline project

The ‘Voices from the Frontline of Covid-19’ project by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), in collaboration with the Global Resilience Partnership (GRP), aimed to capture the hopes, fears, everyday coping strategies and longer-term aspirations and actions for resilience and wellbeing of communities across Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The project captured 50 stories and hundreds of contributing voices, which are published in full on both CDKN’s and ICCCAD’s websites. The stories were documented in the period June 2020 – October 2021. Every story captures the experiences of community members in their own voice and in real time. Each one includes further analysis by a local interviewer, who comes from a non-governmental organisation (NGO), labour union, research institute or university.

Flagship report

The CDKN and ICCCAD team has woven together the ‘Voices from the Frontline’ stories into a colourful synthesis publication: Voices from the Frontline of Covid-19: What can we learn about achieving the SDGs at community level?

Browse the special digibook version of the report at voices.cdkn.org

Alternatively, download the full report as a pdf by clicking here or at right, and access the two-page summary version here.

The report highlights how communities’ efforts are securing progress and preventing backsliding on Sustainable Development Goals: extreme poverty (SDG1), food security (SDG2), health and wellbeing (SDG3), gender equality (SDG5), water and sanitation (SDG6), decent work (SDG8), climate action (SDG13) and partnerships (SDG17).

By doing so, CDKN and ICCCAD hope this synthesis report will deepen understanding among a broad range of actors about how resilience is forged and strengthened at community level. The report’s insights are for local and national governments, NGOs, community-based organisations, federations of grassroots organisations, donors and development partners, researchers and academics. It is hoped that the report’s lessons and recommendations may inform and improve collective responses to future shocks.

The Voices from the Frontline project by CDKN and ICCCAD is part of an initiative of the Global Resilience Partnership on ‘Learning from Covid-19 to create a new normal for the resilience of the most vulnerable’.

Key messages for policy-makers

Key messages from the synthesis report are:

  • Work quickly, responsively and flexibly with local civil society organisations and community groups to meet immediate health and hygiene needs in the pandemic context. Recognise the value of these partnerships for resilience-building and timely responses to other types of shocks, such as weather and climate extremes.
  • Listen to local civil society organisations and community groups to understand their needs, aspirations, capabilities and existing resources (physical, social, human and financial).
  • Devolve decision-making to the local level as far as possible and support the local organisations to design and implement their ideas.
  • Support and co-fund existing and innovative micro-finance mechanisms and similar vehicles to expand the reach and scale of relevant needs-driven finance for locally-led projects.
  • Invest in literacy, education and advocacy skills at the community level so that community members may articulate more effectively to policy-makers what they want and need.

Explore the contributing voices from communities around the world, here.

Explore the digibook version of the report here. 

For more information or for help using the one of our toolkits, please contact cdkn@southsouthnorth.org