UTC#6: Community Leaders at the Frontline

UTC#6: Community Leaders at the Frontline

14 May 2020
Global - Online


Date/Time:                 Thursday 14 May 2020, 2:30 to 4:00 PM CET (or 3:30-5:00 pm Nairobi Time)
Partners:                    Huairou Commission, World Evangelical Alliance
Location:                    Webinar (by registration at link) on Zoom platform


With more than 1400 cities in 210 countries affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, an urgent response at many levels is required to protect the most vulnerable in our cities and communities.
UN-Habitat has initiated a specific Covid-19 campaign to engage partners to take action in cities and communities to address the challenges of the pandemic in solidarity with the most vulnerable while building resilience. To help the Campaign achieve this goal, a series of Covid-19 Urban Thinkers Campuses under seven urban-related topics will be organized throughout the months of April and May 2020.

Community Leaders at the Front Line

The sixth Covid-19 Urban Thinkers Campus will be on Community leaders at the front line.

In many countries, community leaders of organized community-based and grassroots organisations, have been working at the frontline either in partnership with their respective governments or other entities, and in some cases on their own when government services or support are not reaching those in their communities in time of need. Community leaders have effectively brought the necessary vital information on health related matters, safety, access to resources and essential goods, as well as support order and security. Studies have shown that effective solutions to challenges faced in communities during a crisis can be found within the communities. Community-led responses in urban areas, informal settlements and slum will  fast-tracking recovery and planning for a more resilient urban future.

UN-Habitat Covid-19 Policy and Programme Framework, and its Covid-19 Response Plan specifically highlighted the importance of working with community-based and grassroots organisations in responding to the pandemic and the opportunity to build resilience .

Community leaders play a key role that is essential for city leaders to partner with in its efforts to reach out to people and catalyze actions; they ensure that the voice of communities are  heard , that communities are engaged in preparing and responding to the challenges of managing the outbreak, strategizing to keep their community safe and mobilizing resources to bring the needed support . They are at the frontline with their leadership to ensure actions can reach scale and keep trust of the population. There are UN Secretary General also Call for  the need to take the efforts and making sure of working with women leaders with equal representation and decision-making power – this is highlighted in the United Nations Policy Brief: The Impact of Covid-19 on Women

The UTC on Community leaders at the front line brings together key speakers and stakeholders to discuss the role of community leaders in effective communication or education of solutions to crises at the local level.


Moderator: Mr Chris Elisara, World Evangelical Alliance

14:30-14:35 Welcome and introduction by WUC Chair Ms. Christine Auclair, UN-Habitat

World Urban Campaign Co-chair

14:35-15:20 Urban Thinkers Session

  • David Boan - Director of Humanitarian Advocacy for the World Evangelical Alliance
  • Violet Shivutse – Chair of Huairou Commission Governing Council/Coordinator of  Shibuye Community Health Workers Kenya

15:20-15:55 Roundtable (Interactive moderated debate and Q&A session)

  • Josephine Castillo (Jhocas), National Programme Coordinator DAMPA Philippines - on awareness raising/info dissemination & preparedness
  • Lana Finikin, Sistren Theatre Collective/GROOTS Jamaica - on food security, safety and health
  • Erik Berg, Chair of Habitat Norway/Special Advisor for Urban Development in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 2013 - Call for investment and support from donors & governments to recognise and enhance role of community-leaders and the organised community-based/grassroots groups

Guiding questions:

  • What are the challenges faced by community leaders in catalyzing actions?
  • What are the proposed solutions?
  • What are the recommendations?
  • What are the arising priority actions and commitments?

15:55-16:00 Conclusion by the WUC Chair, Sri H Sofjan (Huairou Commission)

This UTC is hosted by: 

About Urban Thinkers Campuses
The Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) is an initiative of UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign, conceived as an open space for critical exchanges and learnings between urban researchers, professionals, civil society actors, community-based/grassroots organisations, the media and decision-makers who believe that urbanization is an opportunity and can lead to positive urban transformations that benefit all. It was also intended as a platform to build consensus between partners engaged in addressing urbanization challenges and proposing solutions to urban futures in the context of the New Urban Agenda. This process has helped established alliances between partners and deliver key results on the ground. Since 2015, more than 150 UTCs have been organized, engaging about 45,000 participants worldwide.
About the UN-Habitat Covid-19 Campaign
During the immediate response phase to the COVID-19 crisis, the campaign’s goals are to show-case and advocate on key actions, give a voice to actors at the frontline of the pandemic to share their actions and engage partners to address the challenges in cities and communities. By the end of the pandemic and during the recovery phase, the campaign’s goals are to share lessons learned and promote alliances and initiatives that will help strengthen the future resilience of cities and communities through collaborations, partnerships and on the basis of solidarities.
About COVID-19 Urban Thinkers Campuses
In order to take stock of the multiple responses at different levels and scales by the various actors, there is a need to bring together organizations in order to exchange and learn on the different types of actions and their effectiveness. With the diverse actors and the community of partners it represents, WUC will facilitate this conversation through a series of UTCs in order to:
  • Present current actions on the ground in different contexts;
  • Analyze good practices and solutions in the different domains of action to address and response the Covid-19 crisis;
  • Extract lessons from the crisis and make recommendations for building resilience in cities and communities.
The recommendations will be embedded in The City We Need manifesto version (3.0) entitled: The City We Need in the Post-COVID19 World.
For more information about the UN-Habitat Covid-19 Campaign and how to join visit https://unhabitat.org/