Although we cannot truly compare COVID-19 with HIV, there are similarities worth exploring. As the COVID-19 epidemiological data pours in, we have learned that communities of color are at heightened risk for hospitalization and death. With the reality that the economic fallout affects minority communities more than anyone else, it is clear the odds are against us yet again. We have seen this story play out throughout the course of the HIV epidemic, with LGBTQ, black and Latinx communities enduring the brunt of the disease’s burden. These health disparities are the result of structural inequities that our nation has not yet found the resolve to address. So, just as we did in the early days of HIV, we must arm ourselves with knowledge and a community-driven purpose to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19.
An Interview with
Josh Woodard, Regional ICT and Digital Finance Advisor, Asia Pacific, FHI 360
Digital technology offers promising ways to solve some of the world’s development challenges. At FHI 360, we are applying new and existing technologies to build resilience among the communities where we work.
What is technology for resilience?
Let’s look at what we mean by resilience. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) defines it as “ the ability of people, households, communities, countries and systems to mitigate, adapt to and recover from shocks and stresses in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth.”
Recently, we’ve been using The Rockefeller Foundation’s definition: “Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it.”
We live in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world. The risks to much of the world’s population that stem from climatic, political and economic fluctuations have played out again and again in recent years. While emergency response and humanitarian aid still have an important role to play, the development community is increasingly interested in how to build the resilience of individuals, communities and systems not only to survive these shocks and stresses, but also to adapt to them and better prepare for future occurrences.
There is no single solution for building resilience, as it is highly dependent on the population in question, the risks they face, local infrastructure and resources, and a number of other factors. However, one tool that has the potential to facilitate increased resilience across a range of contexts is digital technology.