Humanitarian missions carried out by the United Nations (UN) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have always operated under difficult conditions. From civil wars, to areas of extreme poverty, these challenges existed pre-COVID. The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the work these organizations carry out, the way that they function, and on the people they help who are in greater need than ever. Climbing unemployment rates worldwide have led to an additional 130 million people at risk for food insecurity. Schools are shut down, keeping 386 million children from getting the meals on which they rely – often their only real source of nutrition each day. Travel restrictions are keeping humanitarian workers from reaching those in need, and the economic slowdown could have an impact on funding moving forward.
But at a time of so much uncertainty, new opportunities are presenting themselves. NGOs may be able to learn from the challenges presented by this pandemic and even set themselves up for greater success in the future. In order to do so, they need to look inward at the impact COVID-19 is having on their operations to determine how they can help more people when the next crisis occurs.
The COVID pandemic is testing the limits of these organizations as they work to reach those in need, while keeping staff and volunteers safe. Here are some of the areas where the biggest impacts are being felt today:
Opportunities in the Next Normal
For NGOs, the impact of this pandemic is shedding light on their vulnerabilities and areas where improvement can be made. As the world moves beyond the coronavirus crisis and into the “next normal,” there are three key categories in which organizations may want to make changes in order to thrive.
Thriving in the Next Normal
While the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly introduce new tools and procedures that the UN and NGOs adopt to remain successful, their overall goal remains the same. This crisis has highlighted the essential need of humanitarian organizations as many governments do not have the ability to cope with such a crisis and donor nations are often focused on the needs of their own people. Vulnerabilities in supply chains have been exposed and the ability to localize is a critical competency. Combined with the ability to show how funding is used and the outcomes it produces, all of these areas will need to be addressed so these groups can thrive in the next normal – which undoubtedly will include other new and unexpected crises.
Jacques is a senior partner at Deloitte with more than 29 years' experience in advising Global clients. Currently he serves as the Global Lead Partner for the United Nations and Managing Partner Risk Advisory with Deloitte in North South Europe. In his global role Jacques is a senior advisor on the strategy, vision, development and execution of transformational client, industry and priority market plans for the Risk Advisory practice. With more than 29 years at Deloitte in Strategy Risk & Reputation, Cyber and Regulatory advisory, Jacques has a wide experience in advisory and assessment roles in the fields of Information & Communication Technology, Financial & Operational Risk Management and the delivery of strategic and operational advice. During his distinguished career in professional services Jacques has advised multinational clients in Public Sector, Financial Services, Technology, Media, Telecom, Industrial Products and Services and Automotive. Next to that Jacques was the Project Advisory to the World Economic Forum on their ‘Risk & Responsibility in a Hyper connected World’ initiative for several years between 2011 and 2015.
Bas works as Deloitte's Global Account Manager for the United Nations, focusing on delivering high quality consultancy services assisting the United Nations in some of its biggest challenges at both headquarter and field operations around the world. Through his large network and strong relations with key executives, he and his sales team drive Deloitte's services across its services lines; consulting, risk advisory, financial advisory, tax, legal, audit and assurance. Bas also serves as an elected member of the Governing Board at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - the youngest in its 150 years existence. He traveled to over 60 countries to advocate for the interests of young people, lead high diplomatic engagements and speaks regularly at conferences around the world. Bas is a honoree on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, recognizing young innovators and disruptions who are driving change and re-inventing their industries. He has a MSc in Business Administration from the University of Amsterdam.