The Asia Foundation Covid-19 Response
San Francisco, March 11, 2020 —
Dear Members of The Asia Foundation Community,
The health and safety of our community, partners, grantees, and employees is our top priority. As the Covid-19 health emergency unfolds, we are working hard to continue the Foundation’s important programs focused on improving lives and expanding opportunities on the ground in Asia.
Each day we are learning more about Covid-19, its transmission, clinical course, and populations at increased risk. We are closely monitoring guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the appropriate public health departments and agencies in the countries where we live and work to ensure the well-being of everyone in the Foundation community. The Foundation is proactively implementing protocols and policies consistent with the best available information from public health experts and the relevant authorities. To ensure timely and coordinated response to new developments, the Foundation has activated its Crisis Management Team, which is meeting regularly to assess and update our ongoing response and course of action for Asia Foundation staff, programs and other stakeholders as the situation unfolds.
Our offices in the United States and Asia are monitoring changes in local laws and regulations to ensure full compliance, especially regarding employment practice and public safety. In the US and many Asian countries we have initiated a voluntary work-from-home policy. Where possible we maintain a revolving, reduced staff in the office while also enabling employees to telecommute through the Foundation’s Global Information Resources, which are accessible remotely through secure cloud applications and browsers.
We have deferred all international travel except for mission-critical or emergency purposes; and international trips by Foundation staff are required to be approved at the Vice President level. International meetings and conferences organized by the Foundation have been postponed, and we are restricting staff attendance at other large gatherings. In addition, many offices are suspending the hosting of meetings with outside stakeholders until further notice.
We are working closely with our offices across Asia to identify steps the Foundation can take to assist vulnerable communities responding to Covid-19, as well as opportunities to expand the Foundation’s current disaster-preparedness programming. In China, for example, the Foundation has been invited to serve on an expert team to help develop training for the Ministry of Emergency Management to prepare a disaster management guide for community foundations. We also are pursuing opportunities to support Chinese NGOs in managing and mitigating the current outbreak, as well as future emergencies.
This is a fluid event and we are revising our policies and practices accordingly to ensure we give highest priority to the safety and well-being of our Foundation community. Thank you for your support of the Foundation’s important work throughout Asia. In our interconnected world, it is more vital than ever.
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