10 Takeaways from 'Promoting Best State Practice during Pandemics'

August 2022
| Aug 12, 2022

In May 2022, Under the Mask held a virtual event on 'Promoting Best State Practice during Pandemics.' We were joined by participants across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. A huge thank you to all who joined and contributed to such insightful discussions.

Here is a summary of two discussions, and action points to share and take forward. These action points refer to our 10 Best Practices for governments before, during, and after pandemics.

Here are 5 ways you can raise public and civil society awareness of our 10 best practices:

  1. Target community elected leaders and influential local leaders. These respected leaders will be listened to by the community and are a key conduit to accessing communities and civil society.
  2. Use online platforms and digital spaces. Digital spaces and online platforms can be an accessible way to read and share information with just a smart phone (though not everyone can access online spaces). During a pandemic, virtual civic spaces are often the safest option to protect all. Many social media platforms have automatic translation features, which helps to engage different groups.
  3. Engage communities in workshops on their rights. Workshops provide the time and space for communities to ask questions and learn about emerging issues as a group. This can also encourage stronger unification within a community. It is important to assess risks and take necessary health-related precautions, such as social distancing and wearing masks when organizing in person during a pandemic.
  4. Sensitize public health information to communities’ needs. Governments and state bodies produce and circulate a lot of jargon that is not accessible to many. Think about what is relevant and useful for communities, and how this can be best accessed across groups.
  5. Empower and promote youth participation. Youth groups are active members of civil society and can help catalyse change and raise awareness. 

Here are 5 ways you can engage governments on our 10 Best Practices:

  1. Publish and share opinion pieces to media outlets. This catches the attention of governments and relevant bodies to engage and respond.
  2. Write private letters to government representatives. Reaching out to individuals in government can be a useful tactic to engage representatives directly and demand a response.
  3. Conduct power analyses to identify influential individuals for leverage opportunities. Who has leverage over whom? Who cares about what issues? Ask these questions to create a power map to identify individuals to engage with.
  4. Prepare yourself to respond to difficult language and politics. States and bodies use difficult language and political jargon that can be purposefully used as a power tool. By equipping yourself with background knowledge and taking the time to understand rhetoric, you can prepare for this challenge.
  5. Develop a network of allies with a common goal to advocate with one voice. Collaborating with allies who share a common goal is a more powerful way to advocate and engage with governments and relevant bodies.

Any comments or questions? Get in touch at UndertheMask@afsc.org

10 takeaways