From ‘Immediate Response’ to ‘Rebuilding Better’: Public Webinar and Online Discussion

By Annabel Beales, Challenge Researcher, Business Fights Poverty

In recent weeks, it has become clear that COVID-19 will sadly continue to have devastating impacts on the lives, livelihoods and learning of millions of people for the foreseeable future, and will exacerbate existing inequalities. As we come to terms with this new reality, what can we learn from the immediate response to the pandemic, and how can we use this knowledge to help us to recover and rebuild better?

On 7 May 2020, Business Fights Poverty held a public webinar  which brought together the experts behind our Business and COVID-19 Response Framework and Action Toolkits, designed to guide companies’ immediate response to COVID-19 and efforts to rebuild, with a focus on protecting the most vulnerable.  The interactive webinar provided an overview of the Business & COVID-19 Response Centre and provided insight into how businesses can address key issues impacting their employees and operations, including tackling gender-based violence; supporting NGOs, MSMEs and vulnerable workers; and forming partnerships for rapid innovation. 


During the webinar, Jane Nelson, Director, Harvard Kennedy School, Corporate Responsibility Initiative, highlighted three challenges and opportunities for the business community to rebuild better in the wake of COVID-19: reinvigorating commitment to responsible business practice and human rights; developing flexible and agile innovations to tackle global problems with limited resources; and engaging with governments and other sectors to bring about transformational systems change.  


“This is, in many ways, the greatest opportunity in our generation to do a reset, in terms of addressing some of the existing inequalities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Jane Nelson, Director, Harvard Kennedy School, Corporate Responsibility Initiative


A recording of the webinar can be accessed on the COVID-19 Response Centre 


The Business Fights Poverty community is made up of individuals and organizations who share the belief in the power of business to make a positive difference in the world through partnership. That we act on this belief is now more crucial than ever, because our actions now will have long-lasting effects on people’s wellbeing and resilience in the long-term.


With this in mind, we are continuing the important conversation, begun in last week’s workshop, and invite you to join an online discussion on Thursday 14 May 2020 at  3pm BST / 10am, to explore how business can build purposeful collaborations to support the resilience and recovery of those most vulnerable to COVID-19 learn from others, and gain practical guidance to help you shape your organization’s efforts to rebuild better.


If you are not already a member of the Business Fights Poverty online community, and want to share your own experiences during the live discussion sign up here


“This pandemic has really highlighted lots of existing inequalities and fragilities in our system and I’m lifted by the fact that I see, within this community, a determination to rebuild better.”

Zahid Torres-Rahman, CEO, Business Fights Poverty 

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