We are in  the midst of a global health emergency. As of writing, over 73 million people worldwide have contracted COVID-19, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,630,000 men, women, boys and girls and people of all genders and identities. Each day countries adopt increasingly restrictive measures, such as social distancing, stay-at home and quarantine, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. While such measures are necessary to save lives in the short-term, they will undoubtedly contribute to devastating social, cultural, political and economic consequences in the longer-term.

We at SDDirect are deeply concerned about the immediate and longer term impacts of COVID-19 in low- income countries. Many low-income countries will struggle to contain the spread of the virus, as a result of high-population density, communal lifestyles and traditions, and poor water, sanitation and hygiene provision. Fragile and weak health systems will struggle to cope, resulting in unnecessary loss of a life on an unprecedented scale. We are also concerned about the longer-term implications for support for development assistance for low-income countries, as the financial devastation caused by COVID-19 takes its toll on even the most advanced economies at a time when low income countries will need that support as they struggle to deal with the medium and longer term fall out on their economies and populations.

SDDirect, drawing on its expertise in gender, social inclusion and safeguarding, is launching a COVID-19 Blog series. This is with the principal aim of inspiring and supporting the international community to identify, prioritise and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable individuals and nations as part of both the immediate humanitarian response and long-term recovery planning. Crises bring with them opportunities to reflect on lessons learned and build stronger, more resilient and more equal and equitable societies. The COVID19 pandemic has taught us that our collective wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of every single citizen and indeed every single nation. 

These blogs should be considered “living” documents which may be adapted given the evolving nature of the pandemic and as and when evidence on its impact emerges. 

We welcome constructive feedback on this blog series and are keen to collaborate with organisations that share our values and our commitment to ensuring no one is left behind as part of the COVID-19 response.