The China Development Brief (CDB) Forum 2020 was held in Beijing on December 9, 2020 and focused on “Challenges and Responses for Cross-Border Philanthropy under COVID-19.” Leaders from NGOS and experts in relevant fields discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected organisations’ survival and development, grassroots-level struggles faced by communities, and the pursuit of social wellbeing. Below is an excerpt from an abridged compilation of statements shared by guests participating in Roundtable Discussion 1.
This excerpt concentrates on Chief Representative of Oxfam (Hong Kong) Beijing Office Liu Hung To’s perspective. Liu was not able to join us in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, he sent us a video and explained his opinions on challenges confronted by Oxfam during the pandemic and how Oxfam staff have responded. While COVID-19 has indeed brought Oxfam obstacles in many areas, such as fundraising, Liu expressed that people in the nonprofit sector have to brace up and actively search for solutions to combat the pandemic through mutual efforts.
Howard Liu Hung To: Good morning, everyone! I am the Chief Representative of Oxfam (Hong Kong) Beijing Office. In this special year of 2020, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has had a major impact on the world and brought many new challenges and difficulties for international NGOs, Chinese NGOs and society as a whole.
For example, Oxfam’s fundraising efforts have been seriously affected by the pandemic, as most of our charity shops were closed and fundraising campaigns were hampered. Because of the epidemic situation in Hong Kong, events had to be postponed. Not only fundraising campaigns, but also regular international exchanges and business trips to the mainland had to be suspended, and we could only communicate online.
In such a dilemma, on the one hand, we have to adapt to the “new normal” and explore new resources due to their reduction. On the other hand, we try to make our limited resources available to the more affected groups who need them the most. And we carried out focused, prioritised projects rather than developing a wide variety of projects as before.
In this year, there are difficulties and challenges, and we must rise to the occasion and find possible solutions. We hope that at this workshop, through mutual exchange and discussion, we can jointly identify effective solutions and experiences, so as to play a role in social development, poverty alleviation and sustainable development in the context of the new normal of the pandemic in 2020.