COVID-19: Resources and guidance

This section of our website provides resources and links that we believe will be helpful to GEC projects, and others, who are working to support the education of marginalised girls during the COVID-19 outbreak. We will work to continually update and expand this section so that you can access the most up-to-date and valuable resources. 

An effective crisis response: Lessons from the COVID-19
In March 2022, we captured two years of lessons from the COVID-19 experience. This report summarises these lessons, outlines the ‘principles’ which have guided action planning at every level and provides a timeline (including phases of response management) for effective action. It also offers recommendations for future planning and implementation – both immediately and over the longer term – when disaster strikes, with the aim of ensuring projects are resilient to shocks and prepared to respond to crises. 

For more on the GEC's response to COVID-19, please see our June 2022 newsletter on early lessons from the pandemic.

We also welcome suggestions of useful resources you have created or come across. Please email:

General guidance

UNICEF – Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools
Guidance from UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for safe operations through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in schools and other educational facilities.

INEE (Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies) – Coronavirus Resource Collection
Resources to support the provision of education in places affected by COVID-19, including distance learning, child-friendly resources and psychosocial support.

INEE – Technical Note: Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Practitioner-oriented publication that will be updated in response to changes in the learning and wellbeing needs of children, adolescents, youth, teachers, caregivers and other education personnel affected by COVID-19.

IASC – COVID-19 Response
Key guidance documents to support a COVID-19 response from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, covering Gender, Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), Addressing Mental Health, and more.

Humanitarian Response – COVID-19 Resource Material
UN OCHA’s resource hub including key guidance (e.g. the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan), cluster-specific resources and country-specific resources. 

Core Humanitarian Standard
The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) sets out Nine Commitments that organisations and individuals involved in humanitarian response should use to improve the quality and effectiveness of the assistance they provide.



GEC guidance and tools

GEC – Guidance Note on Safeguarding and COVID-19 
Information on the gendered impact of COVID-19 and potential mitigating actions for GEC projects.

GEC – Keeping in contact with girls: COVID-19 Communication and Safeguarding Guidance
This guidance outlines ways that GEC projects should keep in contact with girls from a safeguarding perspective, focusing primarily on interactive methods of communication. An example template for developing standard operating procedures (SOP) for communication is also available.

GEC – Safeguarding and distributions during COVID-19 template
Template with guiding questions to encourage partners consider how to safely deliver distribution activities, such as hygiene/dignity kits, food/nutrition or cash/bursaries.

GEC – Communication for Change Guidance
Guidance, including a checklist, on communication materials which address protection and safeguarding.

Safeguarding & Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA)

BOND – Safeguarding Resources
Overview of what safeguarding is and how it applies to the sector, as well as the guidance, resources, and tools to help improve your safeguarding policies and practices.

CHS Alliance – PSEA Implementation Quick Reference Handbook
Provides a complete quick reference guide to implementing measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) in an organisation or project.

IASC – Interim Technical Note: PSEA During COVID-19 Response
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s recommended actions to integrate PSEA prevention and response into coordinated humanitarian action.

Child protection

The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action – Guidance on the Protection of Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Guidance and resources to support child protection practitioners to better respond to the child protection risks during this pandemic.

Global Child Protection Area of Responsibility – Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action
Outlines key principles, approaches and standards to child protection in emergencies. 

Global Protection Cluster – Protection and COVID-19
GPC’s page to share protection-related information and resources on COVID-19, including examples of operational tools produced by field clusters, which will be updated as they become available.

Gender-based violence (GBV)

GBV Area of Responsibility – Covid-19 Tools and Resources
An expanding repository of resources (e.g. guidance on GBV case management and service provision) and schedule of webinars regarding GBV responses to COVID-19. 

Inter-Agency Standing Committee – Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action
Guidelines to assist humanitarian actors to coordinate, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate essential actions for the prevention and mitigation of GBV across all sectors of humanitarian response. See here for COVID-19 specific resources to address gender-based violence risks.

VAWG Helpdesk – Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Violence Against Women and Girls
Overview of how the coronavirus pandemic might impact on violence against women and girls and lessons from similar epidemics (e.g. Ebola).


Gender and social inclusion

Gender and education in emergencies

INEE – Guidance Note on Gender
Provides practical guidance on delivering education in a gender-responsive manner as part of an emergency preparedness, response or recovery situation. 

Center for Global Development – A New Survey on the Risks of School Closures for Girls
Article sharing lessons from previous crises for how we can insulate girls from risks heightened by the pandemic along with a survey to gather context-specific data from organisations on the frontline of education service delivery during COVID-19.

Gender and humanitarian action

CARE – Rapid Gender Analysis in Emergencies
Toolkit including tools, templates and guidelines on how to do every step of a Rapid Gender Analysis. 

CARE + IRC – Global Rapid Gender Analysis for COVID-19
This report seeks to deepen the current gender analysis available by encompassing learning from global gender data available for the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Inter-Agency Standing Committee – Gender Handbook for Humanitarian Action
IASC’s handbook and online platform contains practical information, case studies and sector-by-sector guidance on mainstreaming and integrating gender aspects across all stages of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle. 

Gender & Development – Overcoming the “tyranny of the urgent”: integrating gender into disease outbreak preparedness and response
Article examining the gender dimensions of disease outbreaks and preparedness policies and responses, by providing a multi-level analysis of gender-related gaps. The potential of equity-based approaches is illustrated through a case study of a Sierra Leone-based NGO during the Ebola outbreak.

Gender and social inclusion

Regional Risk Communication and Community Engagement Working Group – Guidance on COVID-19: How to include marginalised and vulnerable people in risk communication and community engagement
Key actions to ensure an inclusive response for marginalised groups such as children, persons with disabilities, women and girls, pregnant women, GBV survivors, refugees and migrants. 

CIVICUS - Gender and Social Inclusion Toolkit
Practical resource including a comprehensive guide to undertake a gender and social inclusion analysis; can also be used as a quick reference guide with key definitions and concepts, as well as a range of resources for working with marginalised groups.

GEC – Inclusive approaches to drop out and retention in low-resource settings
Capturing learning on drop out and retention from across the GEC both before and during the pandemic, this guidance note gives examples of best practice and sets out a five-step system.

Disability inclusion

GEC – Disability and Covid-19 Partner Guidance
Information and recommendations for GEC projects to implement a disability-inclusive response to the pandemic. 

International Disability Alliance – COVID -19 and the disability movement
Key recommendations and guidance – including resources by region/country and by disability constituency – to support a disability-inclusive response to the crisis.

International Disability and Development Consortium – Repository of resources on disability inclusion and COVID-19
Repository of resources focusing on Covid-19, disability, mental health, chronic health conditions and related topics, including key health messages in accessible formats.

Disability Inclusion Helpdesk – The impacts of COVID-19 on people with disabilities: a rapid review
Outlines primary and secondary impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on people with disabilities and pre-existing health conditions, drawing on lessons from previous pandemics. A summary version is available as a blog in text and audio formats.

UN Human Rights (OHCHR) – COVID-19 and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Guidance outlining examples of promising practice and key actions that can minimise negative impacts of COVID-19 on people with disabilities, including on the right to education. 

Inclusive Development Partners – Inclusive from the Start: Building Inclusivity into Education Programming During COVID-19 School Closures—and Beyond
Practical suggestions on how governments, donors, and civil society organisations can support inclusive alternative education during COVID-19.

Gender and life skills

GEC, GAGE and Brookings – Life skills for adolescent girls in the COVID-19 pandemic
This briefing offers guidance on how to align the design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of essential life skills programming for girls. It provides a life skills framework for implementers to consider how best to adapt their programming interventions under the unique conditions created by COVID-19.

K4D Helpdesk – The links between girls’ life skills intervention in emergencies and their return to education post-crisis and prevention of unwanted pregnancies and early marriage

K4D Helpdesk – Girl-focused life skills interventions at a distance
Two helpdesk reports DFID commissioned to synthesise the evidence and learn from promising approaches on delivering life skills in emergencies and at a distance.

Commentary on gender and COVID-19

The Lancet – COVID-19: the Gendered Impacts of the Outbreak, March 2020
Article examining the range of problems stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic that disproportionately impact women and girls. In response, the Centre for Global Development proposes long-term solutions to address these issues in Playing the long game: how a gender lens can mitigate harm caused by pandemics.

Centre for Global Development – The Risks Posed by Covid-19 Are Gendered. Our Response Should Be as Well
Discussion on gendered dimension of the Covid crisis 

ALIGN – How gender norms play out in the Covid- 19 response
Blog sharing lessons learnt from other pandemics. 

GPE – How to protect vulnerable children, especially girls, during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Containing transmission through pandemics brings challenges for keeping children safe and learning but the experience from Ebola shows these are not insurmountable. 



Global Education Cluster – COVID-19 Resources
Resource hub with collected global, regional and country-level education resources for COVID-19, including core documents adapted for response planning, e.g. Response Framework Template and Response Framework Diagram. Refer to the menu for an overview of available resources.

USAID – Education Resources in Response to COVID-19
Resources to help education practitioners through the crisis, including a literature review on delivering distance learning in emergencies.

Education Cannot Wait – COVID-19 and Education in Emergencies
Outlines ECW’s priorities and principles for responding to the pandemic.

Brookings Institution – COVID-19 and school closures: What can countries learn from past emergencies?
Critical lessons and good practice applicable where education is disrupted for a protracted period. 

Distance learning

UNESCO – Distance Learning Solutions 
Educational applications and platforms to help parents, teachers, schools and school systems facilitate student learning and provide social caring and interaction during periods of school closure.

UNESCO – National Learning Platforms and Tools
A selection of national distance education platforms offering country-specific resources and content.

UNHCR – Considerations & Options for Connected Education: COVID-19 Response
Guidance on various distance education options depending on the level of available technology: “low tech” (radio and TV), digital technology or no tech.

Education Development Centre – Interactive Audio Instruction (IAI)
Information and resources on IAI, an evolving technology which can reach teachers and learners who are isolated by distance and poor infrastructure.

Humanity & Inclusion – Inclusive Distance Education
A series of guidance to support a disability inclusive approach to distance education during the crisis. The guidance notes include #1- Inclusive Digital learning , #2 - Teacher resources and #3 Home support.

Resources for levelled readers

BookSmart gives parents and caregivers access to a library from their mobile phones so they can support their children’s learning while physical schools are out of session. 

African Storybook
Open access to picture storybooks available in 190 African languages. 

Global Digital Library
GDL collects existing high quality open educational reading resources, and makes them available on web, mobile and for print. Currently offers resources in 43 languages

Kolibri makes high quality education technology available in low-resource communities.

Accessible digital library, including story time videos with Kenyan sign language, currently being broadcast on Kenyan television.

Preparation for return to school

Global Education Cluster – Safe Back to School: A Practitioner’s Guide
Practical guide to help coordination and programme teams plan an integrated, participatory process for safe school reopening.

Teacher Task Force – Supporting teachers in back-to-school efforts: A toolkit for school leaders
Toolkit for school leaders to support and protect teachers and education support staff in the return to school following COVID-19 related closures. It contains background information, guiding questions, practical tips and suggestions about practical, operational and pedagogical questions about school reopening, as well as links to protocols and other online resources.

Teacher Task Force – Supporting teachers in back-to-school efforts: Guidance for policy-makers
Guidance to policy-makers on measures to support teachers and education staff when schools reopen, during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

UNESCO – Keeping girls in the picture
UNESCO’s #LearningNeverStops campaign website includes a Community Radio Toolkit and Youth Advocacy Toolkit to support messaging on the importance of getting girls back to school. You will also find a Girls Back to School Guide which aims to ensure that planning for school reopening addresses the key bottlenecks and barriers to girls' education. 


Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning

Humanitarian Data Solutions – 8 Ways to Adapt your M&E During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Practical ideas to adapt M&E while mobility is restricted, including a checklist to help prepare for doing phone call interviews in place of in-person interviews. 

Blue Marble Evaluation – Evaluation Implications of the Coronavirus Global Health Pandemic Emergency
A blog summarising some of the implications of COVID-19 on evaluations and what to think about when planning and conducting evaluations.

World Bank – Bowling in the dark: Monitoring and evaluation during COVID-19 
World Bank – Impact Evaluations in a time of COVID-19
World Bank – Hold’em or fold’em: When a crisis hits, what should I do with my ongoing field research project?
World Bank blogs with practitioners reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on monitoring & evaluation and sharing lessons from past experience that can help creatively and responsibly adapt practices.

FAO Guidance to conducting an Evaluation under a Pandemic (COVID-19)
The FAO Office of Evaluation (OED) guidance in view of the exceptional international situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions set in place by many countries. 

SAVE Toolkit – Technologies for Monitoring in Insecure Environments
This toolkit focuses on six technologies: outlining the benefits, practical and ethical challenges as well as mitigation measures and concrete steps for implementation, and provides insights from applications. 



The Girls’ Education Challenge is a project funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (“FCDO”), formerly the Department for International Development (“DFID”), and is led and administered by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Mott MacDonald (trading as Cambridge Education), working with organisations including Nathan Associates London Ltd. and Social Development Direct Ltd.

Please note that this collection of resources has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only and does not constitute professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and, to the extent permitted by law, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the other entities managing the Girls’ Education Challenge (as listed above) do not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.