Table 1

Typology of Adaptive Responses with selected examples

DomainExample of intervention
Mitigating hardship
Livelihoods in the informal economyBurkina Faso announced support for informal sector workers, as did Egypt and Tunisia. In Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe one-off or temporary cash grants have been provided to vulnerable people. Coverage depends on the strength of social protection systems and on access to mobile phones (for cash transfers), ID cards or inclusion in state databases.
Food insecurityCommunity Action Networks investigate the most appropriate ways to provide food relief for the hungry in Cape Town, South Africa.
Food marketsUrban municipal government in Bo, Sierra Leone, works with local researchers to identify hygiene and physical distancing measures in a busy open market to enable it to stay open safely.
Care of the ill
Home care for COVID-19Amref has partnered with governments to provide training on the safe provision and support of homecare for COVID-19 to community health workers via the Leap app, which works on simple mobile phones.
Protecting the medically vulnerable
Shielding the clinically vulnerableShielding is informally underway in Ethiopia, where community society groups and non-governmental organisations provide food, infection prevention and basic economic support to the shielded.
Maintaining essential healthcareThe International Community of Women Living with HIV West Africa has partnered with healthcare facilities to recruit a cadre of ‘community pharmacists’ to home deliver treatments for HIV and other conditions in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.
Preventing transmission
Local informationAn existing network of residents has organised monitoring and ‘situation tracking’ of COVID-19 in informal settlements in Nairobi in order to liaise with the city government about service provision and the local situation, with assistance of community health volunteers.
Dialogue and trustIn Kivu, DRC, members of the Amani Institute, a sociocultural movement, have worked with youth volunteers who visit public spaces and homes of internally displaced persons to share information about COVID-19 prevention.
BurialsTraditional leaders in South Africa’s Eastern Cape have reintroduced ukuqhusheka or ‘secret burials’, a historic funerary practice with cultural significance that limits the number of people who attend bodies and burials.
Isolation of those who are positiveSlum and Shack Dwellers International Kenya has provided input to the Department of Health’s guidelines for Isolation Centres, taking account of conditions in informal settlements.
Screening, testing and contact tracingIn South Africa, cadres of community healthcare workers were deployed early for community-level screening and referral for testing, using skills gained in combating HIV and tuberculosis.
Hygiene provisionHandwashing stations have been installed in places with limited water infrastructure, for example, informal settlements in Kenya and Rwanda. In Sudan, community committees made and distributed their own sanitisers.