COVID-19 ACTION PLAN
The action plan detailed below shares both United Edge’s practical action plan to COVID-19 and our hopes for how transformative change could come from this crisis.
Our Justice Based Action Plan to the COVID-19 Pandemic
One of the five pillars of the Justice Based Approach is Everyday Activism. This principle encourages us all to embody the values we have in every action we take.
Right now, there is understandably a huge amount of uncertainty and anxiety about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We have been monitoring the situation closely in each country where we work and referring to experts and data to guide the decisions and actions we take as an organisation.
Our action plan to the pandemic is based on the following:
Safety United Edge takes the well-being of our staff and clients extremely seriously. This isn’t just something we say, it’s something we strive to put into action in everything we do. Bringing groups of people together in face-to-face meetings can add risk not only to those attending but also to entire communities they come into contact with.
Support We recognize that the elderly and immunocompromised are among those most at risk from fatality from the virus but reject the idea that it is therefore less important for organisations and nations to act. We are one human family, and the elderly and immunocompromised are our grandparents, our parents, our sisters and our brothers. We act for them, for each other, and for ourselves.
Solidarity We believe in looking at data and speaking with those most affected, as well as those on the ground, to understand the actions that would best serve their needs. Although our organisation is significantly affected, we are more committed to not putting people at risk than to protecting income.
With this in mind we are taking the following actions:
RESCHEDULING PLANNED EVENTS
More than ever, we are 100% committed to sharing the Justice Based Approach with humanitarian, development, human rights and environmental justice professionals and enthusiasts in all the countries where we work. (In fact, we’re planning on expanding the countries we work in too!)
Due to uncertainty and increased risk surrounding COVID-19, we decided to reschedule a number of our events that were scheduled in the first half of 2020. Our participants may have needed to wait a little longer, but we owe it to them not to cancel. The new schedule of trainings in Asia will be:
Kathmandu, Nepal: 02 - 04 September 2020
Dhaka, Bangladesh: 08 - 10 September 2020
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: 15 - 17 September 2020
Yangon, Myanmar: 28 - 30 September 2020
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: 06 - 08 October 2020
Vientiane, Laos: 14 - 16 October 2020
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: 04 - 06 November 2020
Hanoi, Vietnam: 01 - 03 December 2020
Colombo, Sri Lanka: 08 - 10 December 2020
If you booked your places at one of the earlier events, do not fear! We will honour your booking, and your place is still reserved at the corresponding training. We know how excited many of you have been about this upcoming series of events, and we are excited to meet you! If you are unable to attend the rescheduled training, please get in touch so that we can make sure you get a full refund, but we certainly hope you will not have to cancel. As a small social enterprise, we hope you will support us to remain operating in these challenging times!
We hope this delay also provides you with the necessary time right now to support the communities you work with. They will not only need your service during the outbreak but also during recovery, as people deal with the longer-term economic and social impacts.
While all events are still going ahead as rescheduled, we will be reevaluating the situation continually and are preparing additional contingency plans. As we are all aware right now, it’s difficult to know what the next few months will bring, so we intend to update our action plan and reflect regularly.
If the global situation or local travel and meeting requirements mean that we cannot run our scheduled events face-to-face, we will move to online facilitation. The training style and timing will be altered to account for the medium and will include all the same material content and high-quality facilitation. The same terms and conditions for cancellations apply as normal if you need to cancel your place for a training that was moved online.
All of our team members already work remotely, and we encourage our clients and partners to promote this within their teams, too. We ask that our team and networks commit to the following guidelines to help minimise the spread of the virus:
Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
Avoid public gatherings and meetings
Practice social distancing, particularly if you have any symptoms
Check with local medical authorities on what to do if you have any symptoms
Take care to look after your physical and mental health because a pandemic can have a significant effect on people struggling with anxiety, depression or other conditions
Do not panic because it will have a negative impact on you and on others
Avoid panic-buying items as it can leave vulnerable groups without essentials
Support people in your community who may be more vulnerable
Support local businesses wherever possible
United Edge depends heavily on our training events for our income. They pay our team’s salaries and raise funds that allow local organisations or individuals who cannot usually afford to attend such events to be part of the movement for a justice based approach to social change.
The current pandemic has reminded us that expanding our offer to be less reliant on face-to-face events would allow us to share the intricacies of JBA with more people in more places. This would also increase the environmental sustainability of our work. While we see face-to-face events as an integral part of United Edge, we plan to expand our offer so that in times like these, everyone is able to benefit from our work.
ADVOCATING AND LEARNING TOGETHER
As communities and nations come together in action for the good of us all, let’s use this crisis as an opportunity to display everything that is incredible about humanity. Let’s use this as an opportunity to grow and to change.
When you are feeling like people are judging you and guessing that you might be sick, remember how people of colour often feel on a daily basis as they go about their lives. The feelings you have are an opportunity to get a tiny taste of what it means to experience prejudice.
When your freedom of movement is restricted and there’s nowhere for you to go, remember how internally displaced people and refugees feel.
As we all hope for more resources in our hospitals, let’s not forget the urgency of fully-funded, high-quality health systems for all people on the planet, not only for countries where people are some of the richest in the world and predominantly white.
As supermarkets start to run out of certain foods or goods, let’s remember that we have to move towards more sustainable agriculture and food security and that relying on large companies for everything is dangerous.
Let’s use the fast reduction in flights and consumption of fossil fuels as an example of how we can act, together and across borders, for the good of humanity.
Even more so, let’s decide to act now for a future that doesn’t rely on such high consumption. Let’s create alternative economies with respect for the planet and its people at the very heart. Our economic model is broken. Perhaps we now have an opportunity to fix it.
The reality of having a global response that is by-and-large only led by aging world leaders is another reason we need more young leaders to represent a broader part of society so that when something like this happens in the future, we will have a response that represents all of us.
The COVID-19 crisis is a reminder of the duty the state has to its citizens. If citizens are under quarantine for the greater good, they risk losing their business or livelihood. States must ensure their citizens are able to survive, stay safe and keep afloat.
Let’s use this as an opportunity to put radical alternatives into place. An emergency universal basic income, for example, would support citizens affected by this crisis. Another example is extending healthcare in countries like the United States, where healthcare is still not seen as a right.
Let’s learn from this situation and build real emergency preparedness across the world so that when something like this happens again, we know exactly what to do and how to protect the most vulnerable.
Let’s look at how epidemics have been caused in the past and learn from our mistakes. So many of our health risks come from the animal industry: perhaps this is the time to transition to a plant-based global agricultural system.
Whatever happens next, let’s not just forget about the situation we find ourselves in now. This is not the first and will not be the last time that we face a threat across gender, racial, economic or national divides. This is a test run because the climate emergency that scientists say is already upon us is going to be even harder. So let’s work together -- people to people -- to build something better from this situation than we had before it.
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