COVID-19 Global Pandemic Response Coordination

CORE Group is convening members and partners to discuss their institutional positions vis a vis COVID-19 (novel coronavirus 2019) in an effort to coordinate and support the global pandemic response.

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CORE Group Home-Based Care Task Force Co-chairs Barbara Muffoletto of Curamericas Global and Nicole Grable of Mercy Corps in conversation with Anne Ngunjiri of LVCT Health Kenya and Florence Amadi of Food for the Hungry.
Includes case studies from Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care and Medic Mobile.

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In this week’s webinar, CORE Group facilitated a Virtual RoundTable in conversation with Patricia McIlreavy, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Michael Shipler, Vice President of Strategy for Search for Common Ground with an introduction by the CORE Group Humanitarian-Development Task Force Co-Chairs, Cammi Blackburn of World Vision and Sarah Kellogg IMA World Health.

In today’s world, poverty is one of the main obstacles to effectively addressing humanitarian issues, while humanitarian issues are the main challenge of long-term development. Peace-building was presented as an integral element of connecting humanitarian and development, especially in the many conflict zones worldwide. A key takeaway was the importance of incorporating an Adaptive Management approach to improve long-term outcomes.

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In this call, the Digital Health and Innovations Working group of the Child Health Task Force will share with and learn from participants in two key areas: Quality of Care and Service Disruption during COVID-19 waves and inter-wave periods. Special Note: This call is being conducted in collaboration by CORE Group and the Child Health Task Force/Digital Health and Innovations Subgroup.

Speakers this week will include:

  • Darlene Irby, Director of Digital Health and Health Information at Jhpiego
  • Jeanne Koepsell, Community Case Management Advisor, Save the Children.
  • Steve Ollis, Senior Digital Health Advisor, John Snow, Inc.
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SlidesAs the COVID-19 pandemic continues to circle the globe, organizations currently working in emergency response in conflict areas are being faced with mounting challenges and pressures.  As many of these pressures existed prior to the advent of the pandemic, efforts to support communities are further being eroded by the pandemic.  Of particular concern is access to limited and diminishing resources, especially for women, children and the most vulnerable in these areas.  Yet, the pandemic also provides an opportunity to advance peace efforts in some areas.  This call will highlight the specific challenges in conflict zones during the initial phases of the pandemic and how groups are creatively coping with these challenges.  At the same time, the panel of presenters will accentuate how coordinated responses by youth groups and women’s organizations can proactively contribute to the promotion of peace.

Presenters for this week’s call will include:

  • Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network
  • Relief International
  • FHI360

Join us this Friday for an opportunity to learn, collaborate, and discuss response in conflict affected areas!

Speakers bios

Alia M. Whole of Syria HR Manager, Relief International

Alia M is the Whole of Syria HR Manager. she has worked with RI providing technical support to the HR teams in different countries working with the same response. Managing day to day operation related to HR main functions and making sure to implement best practices in relation to employee relations, staff engagement, wellbeing and duty of care within in remote management context. Before RI, Alia have over 16 years of experience overseeing human resources management , supply chain, logistics and operations to support program delivery at country and field levels.

Dr. Kassam Ballout, Whole of Syria Health Specialist, Relief International

Kassem is the Whole of Syria Health Specialist . He has worked with RI providing technical support through regular remote/in person support to the health team in the hubs through coaching, trainings, and regular check-in as well as supporting in pharma management and proposal development. He worked with RI Global Support Office to set COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in the RI supported health facilities in 15 countries. Before his work with RI, Kassem worked with Syrian American Medical Society, MSF and MDM responding to the health emergency needs northwest and south Syria where he managed two   campaigns   of   polio   vaccination   in   Southern   Syria   including   planning,   training, coordinating implementation, and monitoring the fieldwork. Kassem holds bachelor degree in medicine form Damascus university – Syria – and 4 years in high studies in internal medicine and Rheumatology.

Mike O’Brien, Health Advisor, Crisis Response Team, FHI 360

Mike joined FHI 360 in early 2020 to help oversee the health sector humanitarian programming and ensure technical quality and learning among the projects. He creates and enforces technical guidelines and tools with a focus on integration of long-term program activities and vice versa advising on adapting long-term programming presence to respond to the humanitarian context.

Achaleke Christian Leke, Africa Coordinator Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassador’s Network

Achaleke is a Youth Development, civil society activist, university lecturer and a youth expert on peace building and counter violent extremism with 11 years of experience. He was born in 1990, in Fiango Kumba, Cameroon, a town renown for youth involvement in violence and violent extremist activities like; jungle justice, kidnapping, gangs, socio-cultural and religious conflicts, armed robbery, street fighting, just to name a few. Even though he was a victim of this violence, he succeeded in transforming himself from an agent of violence to an Ambassador of peace and change. His past experience has widened his scope and approach in identifying and developing possible solutions to the challenges of youth development and causes of violence, violent extremism and conflict in Cameroon and across the world. He is currently working on a project which is transforming young violent and violent extremist offenders in prisons in Cameroon into entrepreneurs, peace builders and job creators, in an attempt to provide them with an alternative to violence, prevent radicalisation and recidivism.

Judy Kimamo, Swahili Coast Director Search for Common Ground | End Violent Conflict

Judy directs Search for Common Ground programming in the Horn of Africa Region.  Across the communities most affected by al-Shabab perpetrated terror attacks, she regularly leads delicate negotiations between Kenyan security forces (police and military) and local communities, in order to strengthen security while protecting citizens’ rights and livelihoods.  The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new flashpoints in the already-tense relationship between local communities eager to make a living and security forces enforcing curfews.



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La Llamada de Coordinación #11 se centrará en los problemas especiales en la respuesta a la pandemia en el contexto de América Latina. El Dr. Alfonso Rosales, Asesor Senior de World Vision – US enmarcará la problemática de la región, y moderará un panel de presentadores que hablarán sobre soluciones para abordar estos desafíos, así como una discusión basada en preguntas de la audiencia. Al final se compartirán recursos e información relevante al tema de la semana.

Los presentadores para la llamada de esta semana incluyen:

  • Diálogo Diverso – Ecuador
  • Organización Panamericana de la Salud – Costa Rica
  • Plan Internacional – Honduras
Adicionalmente tendremos una presentación especial por parte de la Dra. Karla Berdichevsky, Directora General del Centro Nacional de Equidad de Género y Salud Reproductiva del Ministerio de Salud de México. 

¡Únete a nosotros este viernes para tener la oportunidad de aprender, colaborar y discutir las necesidades de la región en la respuesta al COVID-19!

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CORE Group is convening members and partners to discuss their institutional positions vis-a-vis COVID-19 (novel coronavirus 2019) in an effort to coordinate and support the global pandemic response.

Coordination Call #10 will focus on Emergency Preparedness & Response in a Rapidly Changing Global Landscape Dr. Julie Dargis, Senior Advisor, Global COVID-19 Response, CORE Group will frame top-line issues emergency preparedness and response, and moderate a panel of presenters who speak about solutions in addressing these challenges as well as a discussion based on questions from the audience.

Presenters for this week’s call will include:

  • Save the Children READY Initiative
  • Project Hope
  • Field Ready
  • IFRC

Join us this Friday for an opportunity to learn, collaborate, and discuss emergency preparedness in the COVID-19 response!

Speaker Bios

Tom Cotter, Director of Emergency Response & Preparedness, Project HOPE

As the Director of Emergency Response and Preparedness, Tom is currently working from our headquarters near Washington, DC to manage the day-to-day operations of Project HOPE’s coronavirus response efforts domestically and internationally. Tom has nearly a decade of experience in international disaster response and health emergencies, having responded to disasters including major earthquakes in Haiti and Papua New Guinea, Hurricane Matthew, Cyclone Idai, the 2015 Avian Flu outbreak in the US, cyclones in the Philippines and a polio outbreak in Nigeria among serval others.


Claire Louise Travers, Global Impact Lead, Field Ready

Claire Louise Travers has over eight years of experience in assessing and ensuring the monitoring, evaluation, and accountability of emergency relief and response in over 20 countries worldwide, employing both community-based participatory approaches and ethical systems overview. As an educator, researcher and technical lead Claire has worked at multiple levels of disaster response management, from policy to implementation, evaluation, GIS mapping, supply chain systems review, capacity building and project evaluation.

In her role at Field Ready, Claire oversees all MEAL across more than 12 countries and leading on trailing a range of practical solutions for the monitoring and evaluation of makerspaces, methods of quality assurance for localized manufacturing and assessments of local capacity and market systems.

She holds an MA in International Humanitarian Action from the NOHA network in Uppsala Universität Sweden, a Postgraduate Specialization Humanitarian Analysis and Intervention Design from Rijkuniversitet Groningen, a visiting scholarship to Columbia University, New York, and a BA in Philosophy and History of Ideas from Cardiff University.

Eric James, Executive Director, Field Ready

Eric has nearly two decades of experience leading disaster relief and development projects for a number of NGOs worldwide. The positions he’s held include Operations Manager, Emergency Coordinator, Country Director and Director of Emergency Response.

With a PhD in International Development, he is a frequent lecturer on various issues related to humanitarianism and author of several books on the subject. He also serves on the board of RedR and is an Affiliated Expert of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Carla Sanchez, Senior Specialist Behavior Change and Community Health, Save the Children

Carla is the Senior Specialist for Behavior Change and Community Health at Save the Children in Washington DC, where she has worked close to four years across several thematic areas to develop the community engagement and SBC components for programs including health system development, maternal child health, malaria, and Zika. She is currently working on the Save the Children READY initiative and with Breakthrough ACTION for the Covid 19 response. Before her work at Save the Children, Carla worked with UNICEF C4D in Mauritania, and in Mali to support the latter’s Ebola work. Carla has a Master’s degree in Global Public Health from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology from John’s Hopkins University.


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Coordination Call #9 will focus on the shifting priorities in Nutrition and Immunization Programming during COVID-19 Response. Dr. Sarah Paige, Senior Advisor, Global Health Security Agenda, CORE Group will frame top-line issues in nutrition and immunization programming and moderate a panel of presenters who will identify emerging issues as well as possible solutions to address these challenges.

Following the discussion, Dr. Julie Dargis, Senior Advisor, CORE Group Global COVID-19 Response will share specific nutrition and immunization resources with call participants.

This call will begin with a presentation from our featured speaker, Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO of GAVI, followed by a Q&A.

Presenters for this week’s call will include:

  • CORE Group Partners Project Nigeria
  • John Snow, Inc.
  • Smile Train

Join us this Friday for an opportunity to learn, collaborate, and discuss emerging nutrition and immunization issues and recommendations in the COVID-19 response!

Speaker Bios

Anuradha Gupta, Deputy CEO, Gavi

Anuradha Gupta is Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since joining Gavi in 2015, Anuradha has led efforts to put equity and gender at the centre of Gavi’s programmatic planning and to tailor support to countries within Gavi’s strategy. She has also driven efforts to create a new model of country-level Alliance support, through the establishment of the partners’ engagement framework (PEF). At the same time, Anuradha has helped to improve country ownership and leadership of Gavi-supported programmes while enhancing accountability for results. In 2019, Gavi received the prestigious Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award for providing sustained access to childhood vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, saving millions of lives and highlighting the power of immunisation to prevent diseases.

Dr Samuel Usman, Secretariat Director, CORE Group Partners Project Nigeria

Dr Samuel Usman is a Medical Doctor trained in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria; one of the premier universities in Nigeria. He has Post-graduate Public Health degrees from the University of Stellenbosch; Cape Town, South Africa and Benue State University, Nigeria. From January 2014 to date, he has been the Secretariat Director, Chief of Party and Country Manager of CORE Group Partners Project (CGPP) a USAID- funded, Twenty-Two-Million-Dollar project that is at the forefront of Nigeria’s Polio eradication effort through working with a coalition of NGOs and CSOs. He has worked for several international organizations like University of Maryland School of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology (UMSOM-IHV) and Family Health International (FHI) amongst others. He was the National Service Integration Advisor for the DFID-funded Partnership for Transforming Health Systems Phase 2 (PATHS2); reputed to be the largest ever Health Systems Strengthening project in Sub-Saharan Africa. He has over 15 years’ experience working with various international NGOs in Maternal, New-Born and Child Health (MNCH) with special focus on Health Systems Strengthening, Immunization, HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He is also a Harvard and WHO-trained HIV Physician. He has consulted for several organizations including the Nigerian Legislature (the Senate and House of Representatives). He has written several journal articles amongst which is articles for the prestigious American Journal of Tropic Medicine and Hygiene. He has also authored several abstracts and other publications presented at International Conferences and other scientific fora.

Rebecca Fields, Senior Technical Advisor for Immunization, International, JSI

Rebecca Fields has supported global immunization for 35 years, serving in technical capacities on USAID global technical leadership projects since 1990 and on projects funded by WHO, Unicef, Gavi, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for over a decade. Her work has included technical backstopping to country immunization programs in Africa, Asia, and the Americas; co-authoring Immunization Essentials: A Practical Field Guide and USAID’s e-learning course on immunization; and writing guides and monographs for the World Health Organization on second-year-of-life vaccination and periodic intensification of routine immunization. She serves on Gavi’s measles-rubella technical working group, the steering committee of the community of practice for nutrition/family planning/immunization integration, and the advisory group of the Teach to Reach summits for immunization. Her work has extended to behavior change and communication, medical injection safety, and technology development and transfer. She has a BA in biological sciences from Smith College and an MPH from Yale University.

Rosana Oliveira Macedo, Nutritionist and Nutrition Coordinator of APAC – Smile Train Partner Cleft Team

Specialist in Maternal and Child Nutrition

Specialist in Clinic Nutrition

Specialist in Family Health Management

Head of Nutrition at the Federal Hospital “Hospital Federal dos Servidores do Estado” at Rio de Janeiro


Camila Beni Ferreira, Program Manager at Smile Train Brazil

Program Manager at Smile Train Brazil since 2017

MA in Human Rights (with Honors)

BA In International Relations




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Presentation Slides

For Coordination Call #8,  the theme was Issues and Special Challenges for Children and Youth in the COVID-19 Response

Coordination Call #8 focused on the role of children and youth and how organizations can prepare to address rapidly changing program needs to support them during the COVID-19 Response. David Imbago Jácome, Knowledge Management and Communications Advisor, CORE Group framed top-line youth issues and moderated a panel of presenters who identified emerging issues as well as possible solutions to address these challenges, including how young people can meaningfully engage in the response. Following the discussion, Julie Dargis, Senior Advisor, CORE Group Global COVID-19 Response shared specific children and youth resources with call participants.

Presenters for this week’s call included:

  • International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
  • Copper Rose Zambia
  • Organization of African Youth Kenya


Speaker Bios

Dr. Natasha Salifyanji Kaoma, CEO, Copper Rose Zambia

Dr. Natasha Salifyanji Kaoma is a Global reproductive health champion, medical doctor and Epidemiologist. She is passionate about the empowerment of youth and women which prompted her to start Copper Rose Zambia, a youth-led organization that works with adolescents and women by providing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) awareness, menstrual health management and economic empowerment programs. Natasha has over 8 years’ experience in advocacy for youth friendly services and SRHR awareness. She has global leadership expertise such as the Family Planning 2020 Reference group and the UN every woman every child (UN-EWEC) high level steering group where she supports the inclusion of young people in policy making with regards to reproductive health. She is also involved in adolescent health research through her engagement as a commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.


Shiraz Chakera, Education Specialist, Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office

Shiraz Chakera is the Education Specialist focused on quality education and learning in the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO).

Shiraz has sixteen years of experience working to improve education systems working in the UK, his home country, India, Botswana (with UNICEF) and now working across the Eastern and Southern Africa region focusing on improving learning outcomes.

Over his career, he has led change in the areas of pedagogy and assessment, teacher development, promoting equity in learning outcomes, curriculum development, inclusive education systems and harnessing technology to improve teaching and learning.

Shiraz holds a Master’s degree in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education, University of London. Shiraz is married with two pre-school aged children.


Hawi Bedasa, T4D Business Analyst, Western and Central Africa Regional Office

Hawi Bedasa is the regional T4D Business Analyst at UNICEF regional office for West and Central Africa (WCAR). He provides support to 24 countries in the application of technology solutions to accelerate key results for children in WCAR.




Victoria Watson, Executive Director, International Youth Alliance for Family Planning

Victoria Watson, MSc. is Executive Director of the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, an international non-governmental organization changing the way young people access sexual and reproductive health services, information, and advocate for their needs. A network of 80 country chapters, IYAFP serves as a coordinating mechanism for community-based agenda setting and project development.

Before joining IYAFP, Victoria worked as a SRHR Research Analyst at the Centre for Health and Gender Equity in Washington, D.C. and currently serves on the governing council for NCD Child, a global advocacy coalition championing young people’s rights to chronic disease prevention and treatment. She is currently enjoying self-isolation in her sunny home in Toronto, Canada.


Michael Asudi, Country Coordinator, Organization of Africa Youth, Kenya

Michael Asudi is an innovative youth leader with over six years of experience working with youth in Kenya, Africa and Global levels. He is the Country Coordinator and Secretary of International Affairs at the Organization of Africa Youth.

Mr Asudi has an MBA in Finance and a Diploma in Youth Development Work/Commonwealth Youth Program from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

He is passionate about youth empowerment and community centered development. He has interest in Health and Wellbeing (Advocacy, Finance and Universal Health Coverage), Youth Work Practice, SDGs and Entrepreneurship. In response to corona pandemic, he leads OAY’s #Solidarity4Humanity Campaign, a youth centric action aimed  at mitigating the spread  of the virus, building evidence on impact and developing policy proposals for short  and long term interventions.

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Presentation Slides

For Coordination Call #7,  the theme will be Emerging Issues and Possible Solutions Affecting Gender in the Global COVID-19 Response

Coordination Call #7 will focus on the role of women and how organizations can prepare to address rapidly changing program needs to support communities and families during the COVID-19 Response. Carolina Mejia, Senior Technical Advisor, IntraHealth will frame top-line gender issues and moderate a panel of presenters who will identify emerging issues and possible solutions to address these challenges, including how men can support the many shifts ahead. Following the discussion, Julie Dargis, Senior Advisor, Global COVID-19 Response, CORE Group will share specific gender resources with participants.

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Presentation Slides

For Coordination Call #6, Lisa Hilmi CORE Group’s Executive Director, will provide updates on risk communication and community engagement and Magnus Conteh, Executive Director, Community Health Academy, Last Mile Health will facilitate presentations and discussion on current digital technologies being used for COVID-19 response.

This week’s call will consist of several rapid fire demos and presentations. Presenters include:

  • UNICEF – “Internet of Good Things”, RCCE digital engagement and more!
  • Viamo – Mobile based preparedness, digital strategy advice, behavior change communication, data collection & feedback mechanisms
  • Ministries of Health – Several countries will share current initiatives and lessons learned from Ebola
  • AMFREF – Leap mHealth platform for training health care workers
  • International Organization of Migration (IOM) – IOM e-PHR platform that assists Member States and related stakeholders in performing adequate health assessments for migrants which are fostering access and continuity of care.

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Click here for presentation slides

For Coordination Call #5, Lisa Hilmi CORE Group’s Executive Director, provided updates on risk communication and community engagement and Magnus Conteh, Executive Director, Community Health Academy, Last Mile Health facilitated presentations and discussion on current digital technologies being used for COVID-19 response.

Presenters included:

  • BBC Media Action
  • CORE Group Polio Project Kenya
  • Dimagi
  • Medic Mobile
  • Sri Lanka Ministry of Health
  • Zenysis Technologies

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CORE Group convened members of civil society organizations to discuss their country-level and global needs for community-based response to COVID-19. We would like to better understand the types of resources, tools, guidance, and other materials CSOs may find helpful for their organization’s COVID-19 response activities and discuss opportunities for future collaboration in the development of these resources.

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Lisa Hilmi, CORE Group’s Executive Director, and Dr. Alfonso Rosales, MCH Senior Advisor, World Vision, provided updates and facilitate discussion on preparedness and response coordination among members and partners. Melinda Frost, Technical Officer for Risk Communication, World Health Organization provided information on risk communication and WHO’s approach in managing infodemics. Donda Hansen, interim Health Communications Director for CDC’s Center for Global Health, spoke towards CDC’s COVID-19 response in relation to risk communication and community engagement.

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Dr. Sarah Paige, CORE Group’s Global Health Security Agenda Senior Advisor, and Dr. Alfonso Rosales, MCH Senior Advisor at World Vision, provided updates and facilitated discussion on formalizing CORE Group’s role in preparedness and response coordination. The call also welcomed members of WHO’s GOARN RCCE who provided updates. Additionally, representatives from the Social Science and Community Engagement for Preparedness and Response platform were present to share the role of social science in supporting community engagement efforts.

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View IRC’s Presentation

Dr. Alfonso Rosales, MCH Senior Advisor, World Vision, led discussion and action points on implementation and coordination at country and regional levels. Mesfin Teklu Tessema, Senior Director of the Health Unit, Marydale Oppert, Health Advisor, and Stacey Mearns, Deputy Director – Ebola Response, all at International Rescue Committee (IRC), shared IRC’s risk categorization and risk response. Adrienne Todela, CORE Group’s Knowledge Management and Communications Manager, shared updates from the recent Risk Communication and Community Engagement call by WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network (GOARN).

Lisa Hilmi, CORE Group’s Executive Director, led the call on CORE Group’s collaborative response. Dr. Sarah Paige, CORE Group’s Global Health Security Agenda Senior Advisor, shared updates from the recent Risk Communication and Community Engagement Call by WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network (GOARN). Dr. Eric Starbuck, Save the Children’s Child Health and Pandemic Preparedness Advisor, spoke towards key epidemiological questions that affect response planning for the nCov19 outbreak.

For access to the COVID-19 Resource Library, please CLICK HERE