New Normal and Civil Society

Mustafa Tutkun
Deputy Director General, Turkish Red Crescent

The COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties around it have become the agenda of the world for the last two years, which increases the burden on NGOs and makes things harder for them. NGOs had to learn their lessons to minimize the unfavorable impacts of the pandemic.   

The health sector and health institutions had to develop new methods and tools by adopting a much more agile approach and setting aside what they have known until now. While trying to prevent the spread of the virus, attempts to develop vaccines and medicines were the case, and brand-new methods were employed to help the infected survive. States had to develop more flexible and faster methods to avoid disrupting essential services while trying to manage all these issues. Countries in panic started confiscating each other’s goods, and most of them became in need of help.  

In this period of uncertainty and challenges, people had to change the way they work, adopt a new and convenient model, and try to cope with uncertainties.

This period caused supply chain disruptions and paradigm shifts in the world’s economy and left many people unemployed. People needed social support more than ever. The burden on NGOs was heavier, but donations and funding opportunities were not enough. Previous plans, programs, and budgets went for nothing, and many institutions have had a hard time adjusting to the situation since the new reality necessitated a new approach. Institutions that made a difference in the field were the ones that make their decision processes agile with the help of integrated digital solutions and improve their skills in coping with multiple problems simultaneously.

Exceptional circumstances like COVID-19 require bravery, honesty, and modesty. What makes it difficult to make the right decision is neither uncertainty nor ambiguity, but rather overconfidence, procrastination, and missing or partial data. If we concentrate on the right scenario, we can reduce hesitation or completely eliminate it. We can avoid the pitfalls of overconfidence, and eliminate the risk of missing or partial data with the help of future technological systems by combining our predictions with qualitative data.  

Civil leaders have recognized the importance of drastically reforming civil agendas, and many institutions have begun setting new economic, political and international agendas. So, where do we think we are in the grand scheme of things while all this is happening?

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