HOW MaSP IS RESPONDING
The Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to Malawi and Scotland, and consequently for the MaSP. Below is our response plan for COVID-19:
Immediate actions taken in March 2020:
Between end of March and the start of April, the MaSP took important, urgent steps to prepare for this crisis, including:
1. Developing a ten point plan response strategy and sharing it to the general public
2. Using our bulletin, website and social media handles to disseminate Covid-19 news and updates to members, including information from the Government of Malawi
3. Asking members what support they needed and keeping in regular contact with our key stakeholders.
4. Engaging and sharing with other networks in Malawi and our sister network the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) in Scotland.
5. Conducting a brainstorming event digitally to find out from members the impact of the COVID-19 on their general programming and what plans they have put in place in this regard
6. Moving to home-working and operating in shifts to reduce the numbers of staff at the office and exposure, adopting the necessary technology and systems for remote access to information, emails and other systems.
7. Consulting all staff on the support they need to work in a safe, sustainable and comfortable way from home.
8. Postponing the Youth Climate Leaders End of Year event
9. Moving all meetings and forums to digital platforms.
10. Revising the risk register
11. Commissioned 2019/2020 Audit
Our ten point rapid response plan for COVID-19
- MASP shall ensure that All staff, project beneficiaries, stakeholders and volunteers are informed of coronavirus prevention measures
- MASP has effected a NO-HANDSHAKE policy with immediate effect at its national and regional offices, field activities, meetings, workshops, conferences etc.
- Coronavirus prevention IEC materials shall be displayed in all offices including CRCs and places of meetings
- MASP shall place hand washing facilities in all offices for staff and visitors. Everyone (including staff and visitors) must ensure that they wash their hands before entering MASP office premises
- In the event of any suspected case of Coronavirus, staff will be sent back home for a reasonable number of days until such a time when the hospital has confirmed them coronavirus free.
- MASP has with immediate effect banned all staff from travelling to high risk countries as per Malawi Government and WHO listed countries
- MASP has also with immediate effect banned all indoor activities for staff and beneficiaries until further notice.
- MASP staff must ensure that coronavirus prevention information and messages have been mainstreamed in all program activities.
- MASP shall also work closely with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders in monitoring the situation and get updates on further actions to prevent the spread of the virus within Malawi.
- In the event that the situation goes out of hand, MASP management shall advise all staff and volunteers to operate from homes until such a time when fresh communication shall be sent to all staff to return to their offices and duty stations.
1) Hosting regular Zoom meetings bringing members, key stakeholders and experts together to share information about Covid-19 in Malawi. Each of these meetings brings together 30-50 members across Malawi and, in Scotland, key stakeholders including the heads of the Scottish Government funded projects in Malawi, Scottish Government Officials, the Scotland Malawi Partnership, Medical/Health Officials,key civic society individuals, organisations in different regions of Malawi and other experts across Malawi. Following the below links you can access full recordings of these meetings and associated notes and resources. The next meeting is taking place on the 13th May.
– Digital Brainstroming Meeting : A discussion on the Effects of Coronavirus(COVID-19) on programming and contingency and Business Continuity plans: Zoom Meeting 1: 30th April
2) Disseminating news on the Covid-19 situation in Malawi, sharing associated resources (posters, videos, documents in Chichewa and Chitumbuka, etc) and signposting to direct support on offer for our members CLICK HERE for dedicated new webpage
3) Promoting fundraising appeals and responses flagged by our members, both for organisations responding to, and those affected by, Covid-19. CLICK HERE for dedicated new webpage
5) Develop a MaSP Multi-sectoral and integrated response with a highlight of all responses by Members segregated by strands and share these with Government of Malawi, the SG and other stakeholders as a way of showcasing local COVID-19 solutions as well as raising awareness on the work of the members
6) In liaison with the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP), lobby the Scottish Government to continue Malawi funding and making a positive case that:
(a) Funded projects which have to be suspended due to the impact of Covid-19 in Malawi, but can likely be re-started in the future, should have funding paused rather than cancelled.
(b) Funded projects should be supported to re-purpose, where possible and appropriate, funds in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to best achieve the original outcomes.
(c) Seek to ensure government is supportive, understanding and flexible, with clear communications to grant-holders.
7) Consulting members on the impact of Covid-19 on their work, and developing services in response to member needs and priorities. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your input.
MaSP Covid-19 Strategy and Risk Register
The Covid-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge to Scotland and Malawi, and consequently for the MaSP. We have moved quickly since end of March to disseminate news and information to Members and to prepare ourselves for a period of home-working and working in shifts. So far, our systems are working well, with all staff supported to work from home and face-to-face meetings reduced to a minimum and all member engagements moved to digital platforms: we have already started convening digital forums for Covid-19 information sharing and learning.
MaSP was geared to start the implementation of its new strategic plan from 1st of April 2020; however, the coming in of the COVID-19 pandemic makes it necessary for us to change our strategy as we are not able to conduct our core business in the conventional way. While we have endeavored to conduct our meetings virtually, we realize that we need more than that to stay on course as far as achieving our targets within our mandate is concerned. We must think strategically about how we as a national network respond. We are thus thinking afresh regarding what support, services and advice we should most usefully be offering our members in this challenging new reality.
We are operating on the assumption that travel and social distancing restrictions will continue for the foreseeable future, and that most organizations including Government departments and entities will continue to encourage their staff to work from home as Malawi continues to register new cases of COVID-19. This means that the modus operandi that has been adopted by the MaSP so far will continue for a few months, and all engagements will need to remain digital. We hope that key major events in between July and November, including the AGM, Strand meetings, regional engagements and Youth Forums will be able to go ahead as planned – but these assumptions will be kept under review.
Our Covid-19 Response Strategy outlines four key strategic priorities which will underpin our work through the coming year:
CONTINUITY: We will adapt and evolve our current work and plans to ensure business continuity, wherever this is desirable, appropriate and possible.
SUPPORT: We will deliver additional, tailored support to those affected by the crisis, including: members, those in Malawi and or Scotland and other relevant partners as well as our staff.
INNOVATION: We recognize that there are many challenges but also opportunities, including developing innovative new digital modes of support, learning and sharing. We will specifically look to develop innovative new services and support for schools and youth groups who have had to cancel their scheduled plans for the year as well as those young people from Scotland and some Malawian schools and organizations who failed to travel to Scotland (from Malawi) and to Malawi (from Scotland)
INSPIRATION: We will look to inspire our members, the public and the media with stories of Scotland-Malawi collaboration, to keep members’ spirits up and ensure we remain an outward-looking country, investing in the future of our 160-year old friendship with Scotland.
Rather than update the existing organizational risk register, the situation is so exceptional and far reaching, that the Partnership has developed a new supplementary Covid-19 Risk Register which, like this Strategy, will be made available to the public via our website and all our social media handles. It is important to understand that this is a live document and will thus be updated as and when it becomes necessary.
The Register examines risk across three categories: (1) Risk within the MaSP, where the MaSP has direct risk exposure. This is broken down into: (1a) internal risks, (1b) operational risks, and (1c) financial risks; (2) Risk with Members, where the MaSP has indirect risk exposure and needs to offer support, and; (3) Risk with Scotland, again, where the MaSP has indirect risk exposure. For each, the Register quantifies risk, gives commentary, and identifies mitigating and adaptive actions.
The Risk Register shows that the MaSP has acted quickly and effectively to date to mitigate the worst risk as far as it can be ascertained. It is now well positioned to continue to deliver core services, adapted to this new reality and to coordinate, represent and support Malawi’s links with Scotland.