From the Desk of the Director
The year 2020 surprised all of us. We expected to implement our programmes as had been done previously. A few weeks into the year with COVID-19 infections rapidly increasing in China, it became very clear that our lives would look different this year. By the 6th of March, when the first COVID-19 case was reported in South Africa, reality struck and we all started thinking about the implications all this would have on our organisations and our personal lives. Very soon, life somewhat halted, as restrictive measures were put in place. This forced most institutions (our Centre included) into adopting different ways of working.
At the Centre, we did not stop our work but quickly pivoted to online and virtual ways of working. We began holding meetings virtually and made sure that our core business continued. In hindsight, we should all have anticipated a moment like this, given the many advances in technology and the increased natural and man-made disasters that have confronted us in the recent past. We were bound to confront this moment at some point. COVID-19 is just a placeholder for anything that could have triggered us to rethink the world and our relationship with each other and with nature.
For the most part, many of us were caught napping. COVID-19 has forced us to adjust our lives and work modes. At the Centre, we took this crisis as an opportunity to reconfigure ourselves and ‘build back better’, in ways that will make our systems and processes more robust. The pandemic has demonstrated the centrality of communities in resolving societal challenges. It has further revealed the several inequities that exist among us. The pandemic has also given rise to several social innovations. For this reason, we have forged ahead with our research projects to collect as much data as possible across Africa. One key project in this respect is the impact of COVID-19 on corporates, philanthropies, and the non-profit sector. We are also beginning in September to roll out our short courses, most of which deal with how to lead in times of crises and uncertainty; the role of communities in development; resource mobilisation and philanthropy during crisis moments.
This newsletter captures most of what we have been able to do under lockdown measures. As we begin building back, we want to invite as many people and institutions as possible to walk with us as we look to conduct more research, offer academic programmes and bridge the gap between practice and theory. You can join us by becoming a research associate, a sessional lecturer for our short courses, a guest speaker or by taking part in some of our ongoing webinars, among others. I invite you to reach out and engage with us, should you wish to participate.
We look forward to the journey of “the new normal”.
Dr Bhekinkosi Moyo