COVID-19 The Other Front Line

“The COVID-19 pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems, which are amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.”
UN Policy Briefing. The Impact of COVID-19 on Women, April 9th 2020 page 2 United Nations.

The COVID-19 Other Front Line alliance (COFL) focuses on millions of people around the world who bore the brunt of poverty and inequality before COVID-19. Since the pandemic emerged, they have experienced the worst health, social and economic consequences and stand to benefit the least from policies and other actions that aim to address its impacts. Yet they are rarely heard from or listened to. There is a need for their knowledge and experience to be centre stage and for them to tell their stories in their own way. COFL, launched in September 2020, is gathering these untold stories and using this knowledge to shape policies and action for greater social justice.

The stories. COFL journalists are documenting how the pandemic is changing the lives of people and communities on the COVID-19 Other Front Line. These stories of risk, solidarity and resistance include written letters/blogs; images (videos, vlogs); audio reports and photographs or artwork with commentary.

The story tellers are uniquely placed to tell these stories. COFL journalists/bloggers are drawn from the groups and communities already hardest hit by social and health inequalities. They are working with a co-journalist from organisations in the COFL network. To ensure confidentiality they do not use their own names. They own the copyright of their stories through a Creative Commons Licence, which permits non-commercial reuse on certain agreed upon terms.  

The website. An International Editorial Group reviews the COFL journalists’ stories to ensure that they are easy to understand. The stories are posted in their original form on the Other Front Line website where they are freely and openly accessible to the public. Written stories are all available in English and are translated into additional language as resources allow. The stories will also be shared with policy makers, the media and others positioned to influence actions. Grounded in the ongoing experience of inequality, the wide circulation of these stories can generate empathy reciprocity, forge common interests and contribute to equitable social change locally, nationally and globally.

Governance. The initiative is overseen and supported by the COFL International Editorial Group. This comprises representatives from a network of individuals and organisations that work with groups and communities on the COVID Other Front Line. The COFL network members, coordinated by a team of activist-scholars at Lancaster University, in the North West of England, are recruiting and supporting COFL journalists and bloggers from the groups they work with. 

LOCAL CONTACT:  Jennie Popay