Our immediate response to the spread of COVID-19 was to adapt our service model so that we could continue to support our partners while prioritising the safety and wellbeing of our team.
Whilst transitioning to remote working was a challenge for our team, we took measures to improve our working environments and maintain effective working relationships during this time of distance. We made sure that all staff members were isolated within close proximity of a supermarket and that they avoided social gatherings at all costs. We created an online office space on Google Hangouts, which all staff members could access, alongside our core online infrastructure.
To keep our prospective and existing volunteers safe, we directly communicated ways in which they could prioritise their health and wellbeing during this time. We referred to the WHO and local government’s advice and guidelines regarding travel and safety for our volunteers.
Indigo obtained additional funding to carry out its vital work during Covid-19, which enabled us to maximise the support we were able to give our partners.
We sought to ensure the wellbeing of our partners and those working in the humanitarian field by facilitating remote support sessions with qualified counsellors, psychotherapists, life coaches and trainers. Between March and May, we facilitated 117 one-to-one psychological support sessions for 66 individuals, 44 group debriefing sessions and 10 professional coaching sessions.
We also gave additional support to our partners and the wider humanitarian network through online training sessions and webinar events on relevant COVID-19 and humanitarian topics. From March to June, we organised 24 webinars, with a total of 876 attendees.
We additionally connected 5 of our partners with educational consultants who worked with them to up skill and overcome challenges:
“It has been such an amazing opportunity for us. When we have sessions with her, we are able to find our challenges that are sometimes suppressed by other things. She does really well guiding through the problems and provides great advice as well as specific techniques to use when facing different challenges” – From our partners Happy Caravan
In order to keep people engaged and connected, Indigo carried out an Instagram live series Let’s Talk Grassroots. Indigo’s Founder and CEO Holly interviewed a wonderful variety of humanitarians in order to facilitate important discussions about grassroots organisations.
As many of our partners had to change their services significantly, and, in many cases, stop operating entirely, we reached out to skilled professionals who would be able to support them with website and marketing development or fundraising strategy, on a remote voluntary basis. After carrying out a needs and risk assessment with our partner Med'EqualiTeam, we decided to open applications for doctors and nurses to meet the urgent demand for medical volunteers on Samos.
With the additional funding we obtained to support our networking during COVID-19, we onboarded a risk assessment specialist to advise how best to begin placing volunteers again. We developed our internal risk management culture as well as relevant protocols and policies to share with our partners. To begin confidently and responsibly accepting volunteers once again, we now require all of our partners to carry out new risk assessments, where they will consider all potential dangers regarding the placement of volunteers. We further supported our partners during the devising and implementing of risk-assessments by creating and sharing templates and offering pertinent training sessions.
“It’s a challenging and scary time for all grassroots organisations, whose priority is to support refugees and migrants on their journey to find a safe home, and whose operations have had to be either significantly altered or stopped altogether. We already work in an unstable environment, and this has added to the uncertainty. Our team hasn’t been exempt from that, but this period has reminded us that close collaboration - both internal and external - is key to carrying out our work. Our team culture of optimism, creativity and dedication has helped with this along the way; and while we’ve felt it thus far, it is once again confirmed beyond doubt that we are part of an amazing network of grassroots actors.” – Holly Penalver, Founder & CEO, Positive Outcomes and Pivoting to face the challenge of Covid-19, Grassroots: The Covid Issue by Action for Education
We continue to assess the situation on the ground, our partners’ needs and the safety of travel, and look forward to being able to open applications to non-medical volunteers in the following weeks. To find out when applications open...