Weeknotes for April 24th, 2020

“The world needs to speak with one voice”

This from Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (IFRC) Societies in response to a question about lessons learned from this pandemic. I ended last week being part of the support team for a virtual press briefing on IFRC’s response to COVID-19. Working with the President’s Comms Team was an honour.

But his response has been playing in my head ever since – my heart says ‘yes’ and if full of hope but my brain says ‘oh shit’. The response to the 2008 financial crash bailed out those at the top of our economic food chain and asked those at the bottom to carry the burden. This led to the pre-COVID-19 world dominated by world leaders that were exploiting those most impacted by austerity by fanning the flames of division. This is just my humble opinion by the way.

Interesting reading last week showed the places that have had the most promising responses to COVID-19 have been governments led by women that took early and decisive action to protect their nations health. It’s also evident that minority commmunities are disproportionately being impacted by the disease. We know we need to keep pressure on governments to make sure a vaccine is distributed equally.

So we know that the world will be we facing is the worst economic crisis we’ve ever seen – and I know the IFRC president is right, but we’ve got a long way to go. That’s my big ‘aha’ of the week.

Digital Volunteers

Along with the press briefing, work continues with IFRC’s Solferino Academy via the rock solid team of Shaun HazeldineHeather Leson and Laurent Fernandez. On Wednesday we held another virtual workshop that brought 140 digital volunteers from around the globe together to compare notes on how the COVID-19 response is driving innovation. This time we ran language interpretation for English and French.

New Projects

I began work with the European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law, designing a two-day virtual meeting to raise awareness on Artificial Intelligence in civil society organisations and then supporting them to impact European Union AI policy. I began interviews with civil society actors to inform the agenda design and discovering that when it comes to AI, there are more unknowns than knowns.

Last month I worked with the Center for Economic and Social Rights on a virtual final strategy implementation workshop, and am now starting another phase of work to support them in planning a roadmap for the Strategy. Part of the roadmap will be integrating a self-reflective framework so that they can capture learnings and adjust the roadmap as they move forward in the strategy.


Last week I welcomed back partner-in-crime Mor Rubinstein back from her maternity leave with 360Giving. This week we convened our co-hort of Data Champions working in UK Grantmaking Institutions to discuss challenges and successes in their COVID-19 responses. Mor started us off with a brilliant exercise called ‘rant for a better future’, where pairs rant at each other about their challenges and then brainstorm solutions – asking them to capture their solutions in a google doc.

The (Virtual) Session Design Lab

Thursday was a gift to me, running The (Virtual) Session Design Lab for a second iteration. This time we went an hour longer, taking the opportunity to do small group breakouts on participant engagement for before, during and after sessions. This seemed to be a good accompaniment to the small group breakouts on peer reviewing sessions. Looking forward to running it again next month, but breaking it up into two half-day sessions and offering it at a time optimal for the Americas.

And finally

How is it that we aren’t all blasting this Aretha Franklin?