Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)



A South African woman is briefed before taking a COVID-19 test at the Ndlovu clinic in Groblersdal, 200 kms north-east of Johannesburg, Thursday Feb. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Featured PublicationS

The role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the COVID-19 response across the Global South: A multinational, qualitative study

Despite receiving less attention than high-income countries, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) experienced more than 85% of global excess deaths during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the unprecedented speed and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, which placed large demands on government capacity, many LMICs relied on civil society organizations (CSOs) to assist in implementing COVID-19 response programs. Yet few studies have examined the critical role CSOs played in mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in low resource settings. This study explored the CSO response to COVID-19 in five of the most heavily impacted LMICs in the Global South. Interviews were conducted from May to August 2021 with a purposive sample of CSO key informants within each of the five countries. A total of 52 CSOs were selected from which 53 key informants were interviewed either via Zoom or by phone. Interviews were coded and analyzed using NVivo or MAXQDA2020. Out of the 52 CSOs selected, 24 were national organizations, 8 were regional, and 20 were local. CSOs fell into six categories: community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, unions/professional organizations, campaigns/social movements, research organizations/think tanks, and networks/coalitions. CSOs across all five countries adapted their missions, stretched their resources, and performed a wide range of activities that fit into five programmatic areas: food security and livelihood support, public health and medical care, cash transfer programs, risk communication and community education, and needs assessment. This qualitative analysis demonstrates the critical role CSOs played in supplementing government emergency aid response by delivering necessary resources and supporting highly vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the primary challenges they faced in doing so. Given the generally weak state of public capacity in the LMICs studied, this role was vital to responding to the pandemic.


Civilian-Military Coordination During the U.S. National Response to COVID-19

May 2023 | Authors: Alexandria J. Nylen, Ahad Bashir, Kethural Manokaran, David Polatty, and Adam Levine

Deadly Deja Vu: Russia Revisits Syria War Tactics in Ukraine

April 2023 | Authors: Tayseer Alkarim

‘Then, We Lost Everything:’ Afghan Evacuee Experiences of Operation Allies Refuge and Operation Allies Welcome
April 2023 | Authors: Alexandria J. Nylen, Omar Bah, Jonathan Bott, Giovanna Deluca, Adam C. Levine, and Subhan Mohebi

She Pays the Highest Price: The Toll of Conflict on Reproductive Health in Northwest Syria

March 2023 | Authors: Houssam Alnahhas, Adrienne Fricke, Leonie Tax, Amany Qaddour, Diana Rayes, Ihlas Altinci, Jennifer Higgins, Abdulselam Daif, Okba Doghim, Ahmad Albik, Mohamed Hamze

Collaborating the Relief and Recovery Efforts in Post Disaster Situations in Pakistan: Need Assessment and Conceptual Coordination Framework

November 2022 | CHRHS Seed Grant | Authors: Aisha Azhar and Muhammad Nasir Malik

Reviewing Guidance and Perspectives on Humanitarian Notification Systems for Deconfliction
October 2022 | CHRHS and USNWC Report | Authors: Carmen Bebbington, Sierra Fang-Horvath, Georgia Harrington, David Polatty, Jonathan Robinson

Public Action and the Pandemic: The Role of Civil Society in Shaping State Responses
June 2022 | CHRHS Report | Authors: Anindita Adhikari, Maria Carrines P. Alejandria, Benjamin Bradlow, Patrick Heller, Adam C. Levine, Maria F. Lopez-Portillo, Salma Mutwafy, Seth Stulen, Ieva Zumbyte

Humanitarian-Military Relations in Complex Emergencies: Evidence, Insights, and Recommendations

May 2022 | CHRHS Report | Maria Carinnes P. Alejandria, Samuel T. Boland, Hank Brightman, Rob Grace, Adam C. Levine, Alexandria J. Nylen, David Polatty, Zein Tayyeb

Humanitarian-Military Relations in Complex Emergencies: Practical Guidance for Policymakers and Humanitarian Planners

May 2022 | CHRHS Policy Guidance 

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Journal Articles

A comparison of the NIRUDAK models and WHO algorithm for dehydration assessment in older children and adults with acute diarrhoea: a prospective, observational study

September 2023 | The Lancet Global Health | Authors: Adam C Levine, Monique Gainey, Kexin Qu, Sabiha Nasrin, Mohsena Bint-E Sharif, Syada S Noor, Meagan A Barry, Stephanie C Garbern, Christopher H Schmid, Rochelle K Rosen, Eric J Nelson, Nur H Alam

The role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the COVID-19 response across the Global South: A mulitnational, qualitative study

September 2023 | Public Library of Science (PLOS) Global Public Health | Authors: Adam C. Levine, Anna Park, Anindita Adhikari, Maria Carinnes P. Alejandria, Benjamin H. Bradlow, Maria F. Lopez-Portillo, Salma Mutwafy, Ieva Zumbyte, Patrick Heller

Civil-Military Engagement During Public Health Emergencies: A Comparative Analysis of Domestic Responses to COVID-19

August 2023 | Stability: International Journal of Security & Development | Authors: Samuel Boland, Rob Grace, and Josiah Kaplan

The Rich Have Peers, the Poor Have Patrons: Engaging the State in a South Indian City

July 2023 | American Journal of Sociology | Authors: Patrick Heller, Siddharth Swaminathan, Ashutosh Varshney

Measuring and mitigating voting access disparities: a study of race and polling locations in Florida and North Carolina

June 2023 | American Journal of Sociology | Authors: Mohsen Abbasi, Calvin Barrett, Kristian Lum, Sorelle Friedler, Suresh Venkatasubramanian

Parties, Civil Society and Democratic Deepening: Comparing India, Brazil and South Africa

June 2023 | Studies in Indian Politics | Author: Patrick Heller

Staying Power: Strategies for Weathering Criminal Violence in Marginal Neighborhoods of Medellín and Monterrey

April 2023 | Latin American Research Review | Authors: Rebecca Bell-Martin and Jerome F. Marston Jr. 

Post COVID-19 Test Score Recovery: Initial Evidence from State Testing Data

April 2023 | National Bureau of Economic Research | Authors: Clare Halloran, Claire E Hug, Rebecca Jack, Emily Oster

Health Care in US Correctional Facilities - A Limited and Threatened Constitutional Right

March 2023 | New England Journal of Medicine | Authors: Marcella Alsan, Crystal S Yang, James R Jolin, Lucy Tu, Josiah D Rich

Utopias Latino-Americanas: Polıtica, Sociedade, Cultura

March 2023 | Hispanic American Historical Review | Authors: James N Green

Attitudes of US Emergency Medicine Program Directors Towards the Integration of Climate Change and Sustainability in Emergency Medicine Residency Curricula

February 2023 | The Journal of Climate Change and Health | Authors: Katelyn Moretti, Caitlin Rublee, Lauren Robison, Adam Aluisio, Benjamin Gallo Marin, Timothy McMurry, Amita Sudhir

Moving Humanitarian‑Military Relations Forward: A New Typology

February 2023 | Journal of International Humanitarian Action | Authors: Rob Grace, Maria Carrines Alejandria, Madison Bates, Samuel T. Boland, Alexandria J. Nylen, Zein Tayyeb, and Adam Levine

COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Outpatient Therapy to Prevent Outpatient Hospitalization: A Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Data From Five Randomized Trials

February 2023 | Clinical Infectious Diseases | Authors: Adam C Levine, Yuriko Fukuta, Moises A Huaman, Jiangda Ou, Barry R Meisenberg, Bela Patel, James H Paxton, Daniel F Hanley, Bart JA Rijnders, Arvind Gharbharan, Casper Rokx, Jaap Jan Zwaginga, Andrea Alemany, Oriol Mitjà, Dan Ouchi, Pere Millat-Martinez, Valerie Durkalski‑Mauldin, Frederick K Korley, Larry J Dumont, Clifton W Callaway, Romina Libster, Gonzalo Perez Marc, Diego Wappner, Ignacio Esteban, Fernando Polack, David J Sullivan

Emergency unit assessment of seven tertiary hospitals in Nepal using the WHO tool: a cross-sectional study

February 2023 | International Journal of Emergency Medicine | Authors: Ramu Kharel, Ghan B. Thapa, Tamara Voor, Samriddha R. Pant, Samir K. Adhikari, Bimal S. Bist, Pryanka Relan, Timmy Lin, Derek Lubetkin, Giovanna Deluca, Olita Shilpakar, Sanu K. Shrestha, Yagya R. Pokharel, Santosh Paudel, Ajay S. Thapa, Yogendra M. Shakya, Achyut R. Karki, Nishant Dhakal, & Adam R. Aluisio  

Introduction: Brazil under Bolsonaro

February 2023 | Latin American Perspectives | Tulio Ferreira and James N. Green

Physician-Delegated Unobserved Induction with Buprenorphine in Pharmacies

January 2023 | The New England Journal of Medicine | Traci C. Green, Rachel Serafinski, Seth A. Clark, Josiah D. Rich, and Jeffrey Bratberg

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Local communities know best how to cope with gang violence. Aid sector should take note.

June 2023 | The New Humanitarian | Jerome Marston and Rebeca Bell-Martin

How California and other states are tackling AI legislation

March 2023 | Brookings | Sorelle Friedler, Suresh Venkatasubramanian and Alex Engler

Building a Collective Purpose to Provide Medical Care as a Syrian in Exile

February 2023 | Milwaukee Independent | Abdullah Chahin

The Bomb in the Background: What the War in Ukraine Has Revealed About Nuclear Weapons
February 2023 | Foreign Affairs | Nina Tannenwald

Let pharmacists prescribe addiction medicine

January 2023 | Boston Globe | Traci Green, Jeffrey Bratberg, and Josiah Rich

I Once Ran Human Rights Watch. Harvard Blocked My Fellowship Over Israel

January 2023 | The Guardian | Kenneth Roth (CHRHS Advisory Board Member) 

Exploring Russia's Views on Humanitarian Aid in Syria

January 2023 | Fikra Forum | Jonathan Robinson (CHRHS Global Fellow)

My Uncle Died in Qatar

December 2022 | Nepali Times | Ramu Kharel

The world population hit 8 billion - but with a peak in sight. What lessons does that have for climate change?

November 2022 | LA Times | Elizabeth Fussell and Margaret E. Greene

An electoral pivot that restores Brazil's democracy

November 2022 | The Hindu | Patrick Heller

Ukraine Points Up the Threat to Education During War

June 14, 2022 | IPS News Opinion | Jerome Marston (CHRHS Global Fellow)

How the Invasion of Ukraine Sounds to Syrians

June 3, 2022 | Newsweek Opinion | Tayseer Alkarim (CHRHS Global Fellow)

Here's a Vice headline for you: 'We took millions to improve the image of a murderous dictator' 

March 18, 2022 | Washington Post Opinion | John Hursh (CHRHS Visiting Scholar)

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