March 2020 // Johannesburg
WDBIH Communiqué on Corona Virus (COVID-19)
The COVID -19 pandemic has become an era defining outbreak. We have been tracking the Worldwide [World Health Organization (WHO)] and National (South African Government) developments in order to respond appropriately. Following the President’s declaration of the National Disaster we have implemented measures to minimize the risk for our staff, partners and stakeholders. We have postponed the Women on South African Boards Publication Launch Event and have sent out a cancellation statement in this regard. We are ensuring that our work environment is adequately sanitized and our staff is well informed about the virus in order for them to protect themselves and the people around them.
We urge everyone to comply with the WHO and South African Government protocols and measures in the efforts of mitigating the spread of the virus.
Even though it is in the nature of crisis to make people self–preserved, the Corona Virus amplifies this. We have heard about stock piling, profiteering, misinformation etc. This can make it difficult to remain positive in such an environment that veers towards selfishness. We can easily allow ourselves to be fearful, despondent, discouraged and distraught.
However, we would like to remind you that while every crisis brings challenges, it also brings opportunities. But for us to identify and realize these opportunities, we must try to overcome our fears and anxieties, we must take time to first appreciate what we have, we must care more about others and take time to understand what they are going through (feel their pain) and offer a helping hand. Times of crisis may also be a good time to reflect and perhaps re-connect with oneself and family. Anxiety just like composure, feeds on energy. Let us redirect our energies not to be anxious, but to being productive. We as humans are resilient. Getting out of ourselves and reaching out to others is not going to be easy, but these are the exact actions that will ease our fears and open our eyes to opportunities. The Government is calling for unity because it is only through unity that we can overcome challenges and come up with constructive solutions that benefit us all.
WDBIH is an organization made up of diverse stakeholders; big, small and intermediate. We now have an opportunity to use this diversity to show compassion and understanding. We can re-energize ourselves and each other. Whilst it is not easy to share physical contact, which would have been limited in anyway, we are given a limitless opportunity to responsibly share our ideas via the broad spectrum of media.
New food for thought topics are presenting themselves: Only this morning, two of our stakeholders sparked our thinking on whether crisis situations would level the field for women or whether post corona the call for diversity may be weakened against economic survival imperatives?
Let us share pertinent strategies on dealing with crisis situations, how small businesses can adapt, coping mechanisms during uncertain times and many more that would help us navigate these unprecedented times. Despite nationality, religion, creed or race, we face this obstacle together. We are the only ones with the power to shape what our tomorrow will look like.
It is in the bad times that humanity has the opportunity to shine the brightest.