The World Health Organization (WHO) is constantly updating information here as more is learned about this particular virus. Use a trusted source such as WHO to stay up to date on facts related to the virus and disease COVID-19. Make sure that the information that you are accessing is accurate. Consider sharing such accurate, reliable information with people in the community your association serves and with YWCA stakeholders (members, volunteers, staff, and participants).Planning
Take the time to consider and develop a crisis response and contingency plan, with multiple scenarios, for your YWCA. Decide on a plan and associated protocols and share with YWCA stakeholders and the people in the community your association serves. If and when a plan changes, communicate that information quickly.
If your YWCA provides critical services to your community, create a plan and involve other community leaders, partners, and government entities, as appropriate.
Consider if remote work is an option for staff or volunteers and determine what is needed to make remote work an option in response to containment measures taken in your community. You can find more details on how to get your YWCA ready for managing coronavirus here. There are so many articles emerging that focus on tips for positive remote work, such as this one from the young woman led FRIDA Fund.
Timely and steady communication is important in any crisis. Because information and misinformation about the coronavirus can be found in a number of communication channels, including social media, your YWCA can play a key role in distributing accurate information.
Preventing Discrimination and Additional Harm
The COVID-19 outbreak has provoked social stigma and discriminatory behaviours against people of perceived ethnic backgrounds and nationalities, as well as individuals thought to have been in contact with the virus. YWCA can take an important role in preventing, addressing and minimizing such discrimination by raising awareness. Here is a good resource on social stigma associated with COVID-19.
Local, National and Regional Realities
Stay abreast with the latest developments in your country, using the most reliable sources available to you. In the absence of clear and accurate information or guidance from trusted local or national sources, the contingency plan your YWCA develops will be especially useful. Travel advisories should be strictly followed.
Below are several resources from the World Health Organisation that you may find useful:
World Health Organization (WHO)
- Free Learning Resource: an interactive, web-based, knowledge-transfer platform offering online courses to improve the response to health emergencies.
- Advice for the Public regarding COVID-19
- Recommendations for Mass Gatherings: Key planning considerations for organizers of mass gatherings in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to COVID-19: being updated
- Pregnant Women and Children
- Interim Guidance for Homeless Shelters
- Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
- Information for Travel
- Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication
- Facts About COVID-19
Again, we encourage your YWCA to take a proactive approach. Having a pragmatic preliminary plan in place is critical.
While the pandemic is very serious, it should not discourage us. As a movement that has been driving the rights agenda of women, young women and girls around the world for decades, we are practiced at the art of being agile and creative in response to challenges that arise every day. COVID-19 is an example of a unique and new challenge, not forecasted, but requiring effort. The YWCA can play a critical role in communities to minimize the impact.
World YWCA is monitoring the events and responses globally and we stand together as a movement to contribute towards global efforts to solve this public health crisis. Please continue to be in touch to let us know how your YWCA is doing and being impacted.
Also, if you wish to share resources your association has created, we will accept them and place them on the World YWCA intranet for the information of all.
We encourage you each to take the necessary measurements to protect the health and wellbeing of yourself, your loved ones, and those around you, including the women, young women and girls that the YWCA serves.