The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as governments try to slow the spread with varying degrees of success.

The current restrictions on movement are largely accepted as necessary, despite the significant blow to the region’s economies. Much less understood, however, is how the pandemic will affect the region’s most vulnerable communities and civil society organisations that cater for them.

A recent survey of 26 organizations from across the region reveals severe distress among refugees, low-income families and other vulnerable individuals who are struggling to survive with the cut on their daily wages due to the lockdown which has stretched over the past weeks.

This had led many of them to turn for cash assistance and vouchers for prescription drugs and food. Without additional support, civil society organizations in MENA are at risk of buckling, just when they are needed the most… more