Coordinator: Jennie Popay (University of Lancaster).
Duration: Ongoing project.
Abstract: Untold stories from disadvantaged groups affected by COVID-19 are being collected and publicised in an international initiative to highlight the devastating impact of the pandemic and advocate for social justice to be at the fore front of the recovery.
Before COVID-19 emerged, around 25% of the world’s population were living in poverty according to the World Bank, including 10% in extreme poverty (living on less than $1.90 a day). Half were children, a majority were women, and many were working for poverty wages.
The COVID-19 Other Front Line Global Alliance (OFL) aims to give voice to these millions of people bearing the brunt of inequalities being exacerbated by the pandemic.
Members of the Alliance: an international network of organisations working with and advocating for these groups – are recruiting and supporting OFL local journalists and bloggers to tell stories from their own communities. These are stories of risks and harm, but also of strength, solidarity and resistance.
The initiative is coordinated by a team led by Professor Jennie Popay from Lancaster University in the UK, who is working with organisations from Brazil to Bulgaria.
Professor Popay said: “The Other Front Line (OFL) will bring into the public sphere the stories of people deeply harmed by the social injustices that, for decades, have scarred most societies. For anyone willing to see it, the devastating brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic and limited mainstream policy responses to it have exacerbated these pre-existing social, economic and health inequalities.”
Professor Popay said these original stories will be used to advocate for policies designed to improve people’s lives following the pandemic.
“Through this website we will share these stores, identify common interests and advocate for policies designed to promote social justice during and after the pandemic. The voices of these groups have been long ignored in local, national and international decision making.”
The OFL journalists/bloggers are uniquely placed to shed light on how the pandemic is affecting those already hardest hit by systemic inequalities and limited governmental responses to Covid-19. Currently drawn from groups and communities in Brazil, the USA and across Europe the Alliance will be expanding to other countries and groups.
The stories: written letters/blogs, videos, audio reports, photographs and artwork – will be freely available for non-commericial use on the Other Front Line website.