COVID-19: The IBCR sets up exceptional provisions

EDIT – article revised March 27th | We are currently facing an unprecedented situation that is putting all organisations to the test. The global pandemic linked to the Coronavirus or COVID-19 requires all the more mobilisation on the part of the International Bureau for Children’s Rights, given its presence in 4 countries and on two continents, where our organisation has satellite offices, and therefore permanent teams. While we are obviously thinking about the continuation of our projects, we are also giving priority to the health, safety and well-being of our teams.

From the outset of this crisis, the Bureau took measures to ensure the safety of its staff and limit the spread of the virus, while ensuring business continuity to the extent possible. These measures are reviewed regularly to adapt them to local contexts and to decisions taken at the national level to curb the epidemic. In order to ensure the greatest possible responsiveness and flexibility in its decisions, an internal unit has been created to monitor the international pandemic situation and to take appropriate measures for each team in real time.

Here are the measures taken by the IBCR to limit the spread of COVID-19 as of March 13:

  • All business travel by members of our team is suspended until further notice.
  • Staff members on mission abroad have been repatriated and are undergoing isolation procedures recommended by the health authorities.
  • The staff of the Montreal Office continues to telework, for those whose position allows it. The Tegucigalpa office has been closed since Monday, March 16th, until March 29th, in accordance with the decrees issued by the country’s authorities. The team on site continues to telework whenever possible. Our teams in Ouagadougou and Kinshasa are also working from home to continue advancing our projects.

These measures and the health situation in our countries of intervention also lead us to review our calendar of activities for the coming weeks:

  • Public events are cancelled or postponed to later dates. As a result, our participation in the Scotiabank Challenge originally scheduled for April 25-26, 2020, has been postponed by one year to the spring of 2021. All participants in the race have been informed of this change by email. If you have any questions, please contact Patricia Hajjali (p.hajjali@ibcr.org).
  • We were also forced to cancel our closing event of the voluntary cooperation programme, scheduled for 19 March.
  • Recruitment of the summer cohort of interns is ongoing, but interviews scheduled for the next few weeks have been postponed indefinitely for the time being. The starting date for the internship announced in the offers (4 May) is also no longer in effect for the moment. It will be redefined in light of developments in Quebec. The Bureau will keep candidates informed. If you have any questions on this subject, you can contact Cassandre Brouard (c.brouard@ibcr.org).

We continue to mobilise and act for the protection of children’s rights and the strengthening of national protection systems, and our projects continue in all our countries of intervention wherever possible. We must, however, ensure the health and safety of our teams around the world in this unprecedented situation, and therefore adapt our ways of doing things for the coming weeks.

In these complicated times, the IBCR wishes to recall the importance of solidarity, a founding principle of any non-profit organization, but also essential in our society. Mutual aid within our communities is more necessary than ever, especially for the most vulnerable people (especially people aged 65 and over, immunodeficient people and children).

To find out how you can take action to preserve children from COVID-19 and help them understand this unprecedented period, please refer to the UNICEF website.

We also advise you to follow recognised hygiene measures to prevent the transmission of viruses and bacteria.

For information on the measures taken by Quebec health authorities, we invite you to visit the provincial government website. To learn more about developments in Canada, visit the federal government site.