2. Be accountable
In our work, we are accountable to many groups of people, and this plays a role in our decision-making. Donors, both institutional and individual, and the children and communities we work with, deserve to know that every penny is spent where it should be. They deserve and are entitled to transparency around that expenditure. Donors we work with rightly demand high accountability from us. If some of these government vaccine rollouts were an organisation I was funding, I would reduce it.
3. No plan should take months to come together
A crisis, by definition, is when something unexpected happens and we have no plan. Countries that experience regular humanitarian crises, and organisations like ours which respond, are well-practised in putting large-scale plans together quickly.
The African Union had an impressive, early COVID-19 response strategy in March last year. I was in a meeting where they presented to us the data they were using to track the disease and plan their response. I was very impressed with their plans – the only gap was in the funding. In contrast, countries where funding is not the issue, seem to be struggling to publish a comprehensive response strategy.
Not for the first time, I wonder why we do not try and learn from the countries we traditionally write off as corrupt, helpless, poor, powerless. COVID-19 caught many countries by surprise, but we have now had more than one year to plan. It would be unacceptable for an organisation like World Vision to have no plan, one year into a disaster. Indeed, we had ours ready to go the day the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Early plans aren’t perfect, and you revisit and reshape them, but getting them in place and acting on them quickly is so important.