Live Session 4: Inequalities during the COVID-19 crisis

The current crisis is thus an opportunity to reaffirm the fundamental role civil society organisations, at all levels, must play as a key partner in emergency contexts and in addressing public issues. NGOs, as frontline responders, are crucial in responding to the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in fragile contexts.

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Key Outcome

Vulnerable groups including people with disabilities, women, the elderly, and others are worse affected by COVID-19: these are the same groups that are most negatively affected by poor access to safe roads and transport and it is a matter of equal human rights: the value of a life. 

Key opportunity for NGOs

This is an opportunity to close the gap and ensure equality for all. However, this doesn’t seem to be happening. It is time to change the collective narrative and help people to see .

Key points
  1. Never let a good crisis go to waste: use the COVID-19 crisis to highlight the inequalities between the ways that people are treated
  2. We are all equal but with different needs. We must understand and adjust for those different needs: Among people with disabilities, COVID-19 messages must be adapted for example to ensure that people using sign language dont’ touch their faces, or that people using wheelchairs apply hand hygiene to their wheelchair wheels and handles. We need to apply the same thought processes to road and transport design.
  3. The crisis is highlighting the resilience and kindness of individuals and the willingness to help one another.
  4. It is also highlighting that the regime of lockdown is limiting people’s rights. People have not been consulted.
  5. Politicians make better decisions if they know that they are being watched: NGOs must hold them accountable.

Strategies for NGOs

  • Need to make road safety an electoral issue: hold politicians accountable for their decisions and policies.
  • Don’t worry about being polite to those who are trampling on your human right to safety.
  • Find a great hashtag and get trending. Tag those who can make a difference.
  • Learn from others. Useful resources for building your organization’s capacity and ideas below.
  • Take advantage of being a small organization to access funding: some funders prefer local on-the-ground NGOs as they are good value for money. Access the private sector.

Mentioned resources

About the Panel

Sara Múnera Orozco, Founder, Whee Educación para la inclusión
Elisa Visconti, Head of Programmes, ActionAid Italy
Phillipa Tucker, Director of Research Development and Resourcing, Accountability International

Facilitated by Valentina Pomatto, Inclusive Development Advocacy Officer, Humanity and Inclusion

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