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How You Can Support the COVID-19 Response Right Now

By Matt Haikin on March 27, 2020

covid response volunters

As I’ve gone from from worried to crazy worried about the novel coronavirus impact on all of us, I keep asking myself the question:

“What can I do to help with COVID Response?”

I have the time,energy, and most importantly, good health to do something meaningful that can help in COVID-19 Response. Doing something will also get my mind off non-stop worrying and give me back some control over an uncontrollable situation.

Volunteer Locally Right Now

There are many opportunities for me to help vulnerable people in my community – and you in yours. The UK has an umbrella COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK site to help people support their local community, with over 2,100 local groups.  The USA has a similar list and I’m sure there are many in every community.

If not, you can start a volunteer group in your local community. For example, form an errand group to shop for those too high-risk to visit the grocery store or pharmacy. Or help out frontline health workers by using your spare time to make medical masks.

Create Digital Solutions

For decades, digital development practitioners have responded to epidemics. We’ve rapidly prototyped new products and processes, and have been researching ways technology can be used in humanitarian crises. Crisis Mappers and the Ebola response to name just two of many.

Please share what you are doing, or your ideas on what we should do, in the comments below.

Let’s crowdsource impactful ideas! Share a short description of your idea and the help you need to get it launched or help it scale. No idea is too small or random. Not all ideas will work, but they could spark someone else’s thinking and lead to something truly transformational.

Volunteer for Digital Solutions

Maybe you’re like me, and you want to help, but you don’t know the best way to invest your time.  Let’s create a pool of digital-development volunteers ready to help.

Please register here – raise your hand to say “I am here, how can I help?”

We’ll do our best to connect you with good ideas that match your interest so you (and I) can do something positive and make a difference during a global pandemic of unprecedented scale.

Digital Response Resources

Great guidance is already beginning to appear. Please review these links, post more resources in the comments below, and keep up the great work everyone!

While you are thinking…  Why not join thousands of others in helping the World Health Organization fight against coronavirus by donating to the #COVID19Fund?

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Written by
Matt Haikin is an ICT4D practitioner, researcher, evaluator and consultant specialising in participatory approaches to technology. He has managed software development for NGOs and governments in the global South, conducted primary research into the role of technology in participatory budgeting in Brazil, and the impact of digital technologies on the role of international NGOs in Africa.
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9 Comments to “How You Can Support the COVID-19 Response Right Now”

  1. Declan says:

    We, at Ushahidi, are supporting communities who are using the platform to self-organize and support each other – from ensuring a steady supply of commodities for the most vulnerable to documenting testing to hold governments accountable.

    The team is quite small and, frankly, stretched at the moment. We need the help of digital volunteers. We have outlined ways that you can help on this page dedicated to the crisis https://www.ushahidi.com/covid

    Any kind of help, both big and small, would go a long way!

  2. Yves Freddy ABEME BOUOTO says:

    I am brainstorming on a digital solution that could be helpful for accurate detection and rapid response. For example by improving individual hygiene, developing low-cost rapid diagnostics, and so on.

  3. Thanks for this information! As it becomes harder to conduct fieldwork, we here are at Dobility, the makers of SurveyCTO, are developing resources to aid in the shift from in-person data collection to alternative methods, such as computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). We’ve created a CATI starter kit, and we’re also hosting a virtual office hours session with our founder and CEO on Wednesday, April 1 for anyone with questions about making this shift. J-PAL and Busara have also put together great crowdsourced resources on alternatives to in-person fieldwork.

    For organizations in need of funding to join the fight against COVID-19, we’ve put together a list of funding opportunities and requests that we’ll update on an ongoing basis.  Check out http://www.surveycto.com to explore these resources.

  4. Thanks for this information! As it becomes harder to conduct fieldwork, we here are at Dobility, the makers of SurveyCTO, are developing resources to aid in the shift from in-person data collection to alternative methods, such as computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). We’ve created a CATI starter kit, and we’re also hosting a virtual office hours session with our founder and CEO on Wednesday, April 1 for anyone with questions about making this shift. J-PAL and Busara have also put together great crowdsourced resources on alternatives to in-person fieldwork.

    For organizations in need of funding to join the fight against COVID-19, we’ve compiled a list of funding opportunities and requests that we’ll update on an ongoing basis.  Check out http://www.surveycto.com to explore these resources.

  5. We, at Nyumbani Creative Limited in TANZANIA, have developed AUTOMATIC HAND WASHERS to support our communities who are using the local means of opening taps to wash their hands. This local means is vulnerable to our health as long as an infected person touches the tap, the viruses will survive for 72 hours baaed on the research, and anyone touching the tap will be in great risk to be infected. Our goal is to improve individual hygiene in this moment so that we can reduce the spread speed of the #Coronavirus.

    Any kind of help, both big and small, would go a long way!

  6. The EdTech Center @ World Education has put together a ton of resources and guidance for programs looking to rapidly transition to distance learning, Check out the site here: https://edtech.worlded.org/tips-for-distance-learning/ and join our weekly distance learning strategy sessions here https://edtech.worlded.org/tips-for-distance-learning/calendar/

  7. Mkata Nyoni says:

    We are TanzMED, among mostly visited Swahili health platform on planet.Our users are coming from both Tanzania, kenga, rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Congo DRC and the rest of the World. In order to help fighting against COVID-19, we have developed new Website and added new feature on our existing health App TanzMED), main purposed is to promote dissemination of reliable information about COVID-19, and reduce misinformation, rumors and myths about COVID-19.
    Main features are:
    -Knowledge about COVID-19 , symptoms, preventions, myths and etc in Swahili language
    -Daily reports of COVID-19, cases in East Africa countries and entire world
    -Self COVID-19 risk assessment
    -Professional medical advice on COVID-19 from health professionals
    -Peer discussions on COVID-19
    -map of health facilities where user can get medical support
    -FAQ on COVID-19
    -Direct notifications, announcements from Minitry of Health

    Our entire App is in Swahili language which is key when it come to Health issues because users get direct messages. Also, TanzMED has very good number of user base with daily traffic on both Web and App approaching 3000 visitors / day.

  8. Mkata Nyoni says:

    We are TanzMED, among mostly visited Swahili health platform on planet.Our users are coming from both Tanzania, kenga, rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Congo DRC and the rest of the World. In order to help fighting against COVID-19, we have developed new Website and added new feature on our existing health App TanzMED), main purposed is to promote dissemination of reliable information about COVID-19, and reduce misinformation, rumors and myths about COVID-19.
    Main features are:
    -Knowledge about COVID-19 , symptoms, preventions, myths and etc in Swahili language
    -Daily reports of COVID-19, cases in East Africa countries and entire world
    -Self COVID-19 risk assessment
    -Professional medical advice on COVID-19 from health professionals
    -Peer discussions on COVID-19
    -map of health facilities where user can get medical support
    -FAQ on COVID-19
    -Direct notifications, announcements from Minitry of Health

    Our entire App is in Swahili language which is key when it come to Health issues because users get direct messages. Also, TanzMED has very good number of user base with daily traffic on both Web and App approaching 3000 visitors / day.

    Website: https://coronavirus.tanzmed.co.tz
    App Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dudumizi.tanzmedtz

  9. Arnold Leon Mugagga says:

    oursafrica.com is a registration platform for Ugandans to come together and take part in the SmarterThanCorona challenge. A 3 day design thinking sprint to find solutions to various problems caused by the pandemic for poor categories of society. From income generation for informal businesses, to fair food distribution to health access fpr pregnant women and HIV positive people, to mental health help coping with lockdown and fear of covid-19. We developed material to remotely guide Ugandans through a 3 day process of problem appreciation, confirmation, to idea development.
    We are currently developing a 3week plan how best to roll out 18 of the best solutions developed from the 50 teams (151 participants and 37 mentors) we managed throught this new process. This is organised by StartHub Africa, Zetu Africa and Social Innovation Academy – SINA