Covid-19 has unleashed a multidimensional, one-time crisis. As the virus swept the world, civic organizations played an important role in responding, filling and holding accountable the gaps left by governments and businesses to those most in need.
As several countries are experiencing a second wave of the coronavirus and others are still living under the effects of the first wave and emergency response measures, governments need to learn lessons.
They must recognize the important roles that civil society plays in the provision of essential services and information, in the needs of excluded groups and in the defense of rights. Governments need to work with civil society and further enable it to play its role.
A report released this week by the Johannesburg-based CIVICUS alliance in Johannesburg, entitled “Solidarity in the Time of Covid-19”, highlights the irreplaceable role of activists, civil society organizations (CSOs) and grassroots organizations during the pandemic.
Across Africa, civil society has responded quickly to provide food and vital sanitation to communities that have been accelerated through lock-in measures and helping those whose livelihoods disappear overnight. CSOs took on the crucial role of providing essential services when there were gaps in the provision of health care and psychological support.
Civil society also intervened …