Post COVID-19: Private Sector Responses
Response #1. An Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on NPOs and Alternatives
*NPOpia, **DongHang Activist Co-operative (“DongHang”), CCK, ChildFund Korea, and the Beautiful Foundation analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on non-profit organizations (NPOs) and are currently discussing collective countermeasures. We will present two studies here: a survey of activists conducted by DongHang and a survey of NPOs conducted by NPOpia. *NPOpia: An organization that provides education programs, research projects, and projects that provide spaces to create an environment for NPOs to make practical contributions to the public interest. **DongHang: An activist cooperative that supports the welfare of social activists working in poor environments.

Case 1. DongHang

○ Project Name: Conference on Preparing Measures to Support Public Interest Activists During the COVID-19 Crisis
○ Research Scope: 374 NPO activists
○ Research Area: Nationwide
○ Research Topics

1. Understanding the Situation of NPO Activists Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
2. Identifying the Support System that NPO Activists Need

1. Understanding the Situation of NPO Activists amid the COVID-19 Crisis
Responding activists stated that COVID-19 reduced group activities (81.7%), created challenges due to the contactless work environment (72.5%), and decreased funding (50%). The lower the number of full-time workers, the more challenging it is to cope with reduced activities, while the higher the number of full-time workers, the more challenging it is to deal with COVID-related changes in the working environment.
In terms of the impact on individuals, respondents found it hardest to adapt to features of the contactless work environments, such as the need to work predominantly online, (50.4%), followed by increased stress due to the pandemic (41.5%) and financial difficulties (27.3%). The stress was pointed out most by activists in their 20s while those in their 40s found it harder than other age groups to deal with challenges from the increased burden of taking care of families and children.
2. Identifying the Support System that NPO Activists Need
The responding activists wanted the central and local governments to establish a support system in response to reduced donations to civic groups (51%), provide disaster income for activists (42.1%), and provide emergency payroll subsidies (34.9%) as ways to support civic groups.
As for ways to support individual activists, this involved central and local governments providing livelihood support, such as lower interest rates on loans or rental assistance (51.9%), providing emergency loans for living expenses (35.9%), and providing education on contactless work environments (34.2%). There was stronger demand from those in their 20s for legal support for labor issues, such as remedy for wrongful unpaid leave of absence while from those in their 30s and 40s, the demand for more support for childcare and other care services was more prominent.

Case 2. NPOpia

○ Project Name: Conference on Preparing Measures to Support Public    Interest Activists During the COVID-19 Crisis
○ Research Scope: NPO Leaders
○ Research Area: 117 organizations nationwide
○ Research Topics

1. The Impact of COVID-19 on NPOs and Current Situation
2. The Changes to and Response Expected in a Post-Coronavirus Society
3. Implications

1. The Impact of COVID-19 on NPOs and Current Situation

NPOs have been constricted by the COVID-19 crisis.

- 90.6% of respondents stated that the crisis had reduced their business activities from what had been planned while 6.8% answered otherwise. Most NPOs have seen contraction.

CEOs were at the center of action in response to the crisis.

- CEOs led responses in 56.4% of the organizations, followed by mid-level managers (24.8%), taskforces (8.5%), and boards of directors (5.1%). In other words, the majority of organizations saw their CEOs at the center in responding to this crisis.  New systems were implemented in response to the crisis.

New systems were implemented in response to the crisis.

- Some organizations implemented new working methods, such as remote working and flexible work arrangements. Forty-one percent applied these methods “for the entire period from the beginning,” 25.6% applied “for two weeks or more but not the entire period,” and 14.5% applied “for less than two weeks.” In other words, many organizations adopted the new methods for a relatively long period.

There was little financial support from the central/local governments during the crisis.

- 12.0% of the organizations answered they had received financial support from the central and/or local governments during the crisis while 84.6% said that there had been no special support.
2. The Changes to and Response Expected in a Post-Coronavirus Society

NPOs are aware that they need to be proactive in preparing for a post-crisis situation.

- According to the survey, the most urgent tasks that NPOs saw the need to work on post-COVID-19 are “introduction of new working methods” (53.0%) and “taking steps for financial stability” (46.2%).

The roles of NPOs are expected to broaden in the future, but it seems uncertain whether citizens will be favorable to NPOs.

- 46.2% of respondents said government control or intervention will be “greater” in the future. 34.2% said there will be “not much change” while 7.7% said it will be “weaker." This shows that a little over four of ten respondents are concerned about future control or intervention by the government.
- Regarding whether NPOs will enjoy the public’s trust and support in the future, 32.5% responded that such trust and support will “increase” while 29.9% said there will not be much change. However, another 32.5% answered that it will “decrease,” presenting a mixed outlook for the future.
NPOs feel the need to adjust the direction and content of their projects according to the new environment even after the pandemic ends.
It is expected that the methods of doing business, communicating with others, and working will be more digital-based after the pandemic, and this requires appropriately-trained human resources.
3. Implications
The role of NPOs is likely to increase in the future due to social contraction, but the prospects for the favorable attitude of civil society towards NPOs and for financial support are not so bright. In particular, NPOs need to prepare for less financial support and work on budget reallocation and fundraising efforts to prevent their activities from decreasing.
In the new contactless era, it is inevitable that the methods of doing business, communicating with others, and working will change. At the center of this change lie digital technologies. NPOs should be prepared to invest in manpower and address their changing financial needs accordingly.
Small budget organizations, in particular, are expected to face greater challenges in terms of manpower and funding, making it necessary to consider providing technical support for such organizations.
○ In addition, fundraising was conducted to help single moms and female heads of households whose businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy due to COVID-19 in Daegu
Response #2. Efforts to Protect Human Dignity and Equality during the COVID-19 Crisis
Amidst the crisis, there is a movement to encourage people to listen to the socially disadvantaged and minorities. Human rights organizations have expressed concerns that at the time of mass infection in the psychiatric ward of Cheongdo Daenam Hospital, the issues related to those with mental illness were revealed, while when a shortage of masks appeared, unregistered immigrants and refugees were unable to buy masks, showing that their rights as humans were not protected. In this section, we would like to share the activities of the COVID-19 Human Rights Response Network, formed by 21 human rights groups in Korea.
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Information posters on COVID-19 for migrant workers made by Daegu Sungseo Industrial Complex Labor Union

Daegu Sungseo Industrial Complex Labor Union produced posters and banners in 11 languages and put them up across the complex towards preventing the spread of COVID-19. Pictured are posters in Korean, English and Burmese. They list the rules to follow, such as calling 1345 if feeling sick or feverish and to test for COVID-19 without the need to worry about being deported.
Case 1. COVID-19 Human Rights Response Network
Twenty-one human rights groups in Korea formed the COVID-19 Human Rights Response Network (“the Network”) and urged that the measures taken in relation to COVID-19 should be planned around protection of human rights. For instance, the Network pointed out that when a mass infection occurred and spread around those who visited Itaewon in May, some media outlets highlighted that gay clubs were visited first by the person who tested positive, and then disclosed his address and workplace. The Network argued that the disclosure of personal information to prevent the spread of the virus should be at an absolute minimum. It suggested that the government and media focus on factors that affect the spread of infectious disease rather than the identity of or relationship between those who catch it. The Network also criticized the current method of disclosing chronological movements of people with COVID-19, suggesting that places and times can be made into data and disclosed in a way that prevents the exposure of personal information. It also calls for improvements so that measures for public health and the right of assembly can coexist.
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Briefing session by the Network on social guidelines to ensure human dignity and equality.

Moreover, the Network pointed out that the government’s quarantine measures blocked the voices of those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. It stated that the government failed to consider ways to ensure the measures for public health and the right of assembly coexist, and to guarantee and promote that right of assembly despite COVID-19. It pointed out that demonstrations continue to happen in other parts of the world including in Warsaw and Poznan, Poland, where pro-life protesters held banners while keeping a distance of two meters from each other. It then pointed out that there presently exists no control against the possible abuse of authority over quarantine measures and consequent violations of basic human rights. The Network presented Social Guidelines to Ensure Human Dignity and Equality amidst COVID-19, where it stated that the quarantine process and prevention policies should be established in accordance with three principles: (i) Respect for human rights based on human dignity, (ii) No discrimination or special protection, and (iii) Guarantee social communication and participation, and decision-making.
Case 2. Forum for debate on ways the Emergency Disaster Relief Fund centered around “normal families”
As COVID-19 spread, the government announced that it would provide an Emergency Disaster Relief Fund to “all households.” However, did everyone in fact receive it? The welfare system in Korea has developed on the basis of families created through “married” “heterosexual” and “male-centered” families “related by blood.”
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A Talk about the Welfare Policy for “All Kinds of Families” Amidst the Crisis

Co-hosted by People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, *Slug Union, Korean People's Solidarity Against Poverty,
Korean Women's Associations United, and Solidarity for LGBT Human Rights of Korea
* Slug Union: Established in 2011 to guarantee youth housing rights. It engages in a variety of activities, such as those to improve the system for housing-disadvantaged young people, counseling on housing, and experimenting with “Snail House,” a non-profit housing model.
Response #3. Efforts to Prepare for the Post-Pandemic Period
Amidst the crisis, numerous lectures and discussion forums appeared online, mostly through live streaming. The key subjects discussed by civil society were a “Green New Deal,” basic income and employment insurance. In this section, we will introduce two cases that exhibit the efforts to prepare for a new era: (1) “CAC Global Summit 2020 – Together We Stand”, an online international conference organized by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to overcome the crisis and prepare for the new era; and (2) employment insurance for all, a job security agenda that has emerged as the most urgent issue.
Case 1. CAC Global Summit 2020 – Together We Stand
Seoul Metropolitan Government held an online international conference called “Cities Against COVID-19 Global Summit 2020” (“CAC Global Summit 2020”) from Jun. 1 to 5, 2020 to overcome the pandemic and prepare for a new era of major transformation. About 120 people joined, including the mayors of various cities around the world, world-class scholars, and experts in a variety of fields, to engage in intense discussions. Upon the request of cities around the world, Seoul opened an English online platform to share its disinfection and quarantine policies and experiences entitled the CAC (Cities Against COVID-19, on Apr. 9, 2020. The website surpassed 6 million views in just two months.
CAC Global Summit 2020 Official Website (
COVID-19 Special Fundraising Information related to the Summit
CAC (English online platform sharing Seoul’s disinfection and quarantine policies and experiences)
Seoul’s official YouTube channel (in English)
At the “Discussion on Welfare” session of the Summit, four presentations were given on the welfare sector after the pandemic. As more people suffer from the repercussion of COVID-19, including the decrease in consumption and lack of jobs, (1) Seoul provided “disaster emergency living expenses” for below-median income families in a quick and simple process. As it was found that this payment was spent mainly in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and basic living expenses, the city government’s action was deemed effective. The city also learned that the number of single- and two-person households is on the rise and many of these households are financially vulnerable. Based on this finding, it seems that a paradigm shift in welfare policy is essential to reflect social changes. In addition, (2) in terms of the response and efforts related to COVID-19 by local community welfare facilities, the public and private sectors have joined hands to disinfect religious facilities, roads near major subway stations and parks. Moreover, the city has a special welfare project called “Beautiful Neighborhood Stores,” where small local businesses, such as restaurants, bathhouses, and hairdressers – a sector whose income has decreased since the COVID-19 outbreak – offer a variety of products and services to welfare centers.
(3) Seoul also implemented a pilot project called “Care SOS Center” with five districts to fill the gap in care services. This will be implemented in all 25 districts across the city. Lastly, (4) Lena Dominelli, Professor of Social Work at University of Stirling in Scotland gave a presentation entitled COVID-19: Green Social Work Perspectives on the new roles of social welfare practitioners. In it, Dominelli stated that COVID-19 has confirmed that social welfare is closely connected to the environment, and that she started thinking about the ecological role of social welfare in the 70s and the importance of taking a holistic view with local authorities. As for the role of social workers, she feels it is important for them to be able to provide feedback on how to deal with situations based on scientific understanding, in addition to their existing roles. She concluded by saying that a sense of citizenship in pursuit of the public good is what we need at this time of pandemic, not personal greed.
Case 2. Employment Insurance for All
Disaster income has been introduced during the COVID-19 crisis. However, as the pandemic continues, a new discussion has emerged on employment insurance for all. In fact, civil organizations say this is not a new topic, but something that has been needed for a long time.
As the economy has become sluggish due to the virus, non-regular workers, small business owners, freelancers and platform workers are all suffering. Despite the instability of their position in the labor market, they are excluded from social safety nets. Against this backdrop, civil organizations understand that society needs a significantly different approach and practice to provide an “unemployment safety net” to all workers.
As national health insurance has expanded to cover the entire population, it is only natural that employment insurance should expand to cover all workers. It is all the more necessary in Korea, where over 25% of workers are self-employed. There is also a growing consensus that the national employment insurance program should precede implementation of a basic income program.