Without a doubt, the COVID-19 crisis makes achieving the SDGs much harder. However, the crisis gives a real opportunity to map a different course that recognizes the deep fissures in the current direction and integrates solutions to combat parallel environmental, social and economic crises. Even in the early days of the pandemic, it was clear that minorities, indigenous people, and other marginalized communities were at greater risk of infection and death from Covid-19. This was for various reasons, ranging from limited access to health care and a higher prevalence of pre-existing illnesses to poverty and the concentration of many members in jobs and livelihoods that were hazardous or insecure.
Indeed, across the world, many frontline occupations such as delivery services, public transport, and medical work are undertaken by members of these communities, working continuously throughout the first lockdowns when the rest of the population was being urged to stay at home for their safety. Informal employment, which represents 85% of sub-Saharan Africa's total employment, was hit hard during the lockdowns. The lockdown measures significantly affected workers in the informal sector due to a lack of access to social safety nets. They faced a high risk of falling into poverty and experienced greater challenges in regaining their livelihoods during the recovery. Although the number of poor people was already projected to increase in 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic could double the deteriorating rate. It will push an additional 30 million people into extreme poverty in Africa.
Subsequently, however, it has become apparent that the impacts of the crisis have extended far beyond the immediate health outcomes, with everything from employment and education to housing and mental well-being disrupted. In these areas, minorities and indigenous people have frequently borne a disproportionate burden, exacerbated in many countries by poorly implemented or discriminatory government policies. The social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have adversely affected progress towards gender equality. Violence against women and girls has intensified; child marriage is expected to increase, and women have suffered a disproportionate share of job losses and increased care work at home. While the shared crisis of Covid-19 could have created momentum for solidarity and ceasefires, in reality, persecution and conflict often appear to have escalated in the wake of the virus.
More fundamentally, however, much of the inequity and discrimination brought to the surface by the pandemic was present long before the outbreak – and is likely to remain in place without transformative societal change. As countries navigate the uncertain path toward recovery, there must be more than simply a return to normality. This painful global emergency also offers an opportunity to achieve lasting change to the systemic racism and injustice that minority and indigenous communities have contended with for generations. Without meaningful action to address these underlying issues, however, the world will continue to be exposed to the threat of other health crises in the years to come.
To promote the voices and actions of vulnerable people in marginalized communities in times of COVID-19 and the emerging gaps in policy and practice, African Philanthropy Network and TrustAfrica will organize a webinar on the 18th of August, 2022.
This webinar aims to amplify the voices and actions of vulnerable people such as women in rural areas, young people, ex-miners, informal and cross-border traders, domestic workers, small-scale farmers, migrant workers, and refugees.
The discussion will focus on the following specific objectives:
- Present the desk research undertaken by ASDEV Consult on the Covid-19 impacts and local response mechanisms in marginalized communities: The emerging gaps for policy and practice
- To share experiences and actions taken by vulnerable groups to adapt to COVID 19.
- To identify opportunities emerging from the crisis and how they can influence philanthropy support
- To propose concrete strategies and lessons learned for future preparedness and enabling policy environment around the marginalized groups.
3. EXPECTED RESULTS
- Hear the voices of vulnerable groups and understand their adaptation and resilience at times of COVID 19.
- Share strategic ways forward and tools to use in future disaster preparedness.
The expected outcome of the webinar is to create a shared understanding within the continent of how vulnerable people in communities such as women in rural areas, young people, ex-miners, informal and cross-border traders, domestic workers, small-scale farmers, migrant workers, and refugees adapt to COVID – 19 at the same time protect their rights.
The virtual webinar will be conducted using a participatory approach: short presentations, plenary discussions, questions, and answers.
Participants: The webinar expects to draw participants from East, West, North, Central and South Africa.