READY posts updates here—news, announcements, and other updates on the initiative.

Josephine, 9 years old, walking with her mother Celina in Lodwar, Kenya. (Image credit: Allan Gichigi / Save the Children)

Introducing Guidance for Alternative Care Provision during COVID-19

Jan. 27, Jan. 28, and Feb. 2, 2021: READY and Child Protection Advisors Lauren Murray and Rebecca Smith hosted two child protection webinars, introducing health practitioners and policy makers to the newly developed Guidance for Alternative Care Provision during COVID-19, coordinated by the Better Care Network, Save the Children, The Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, and UNICEF.

The first webinar, hosted on January 27th*, is aimed at health practitioners with the goal of introducing the guidance and helping practitioners understand their role in preventing family separation and supporting unaccompanied and separated children. (*To support attendance across timezones, we will offer an alternative date for the Practitioner’s Session on February 2. Register for the February 2 session.)

First session: For Health Practitioners


The second webinar, hosted on January 28th, is aimed at policy makers and will explain their role in developing policies and guidance to prevent family separation during an outbreak.

Second session: For Policy Makers

Both webinars include a practical component: Participants walked through a scenario and answered a series of questions balancing public health guidance and the best interest of the child.


Lauren Murray, Senior Humanitarian Child Protection Specialist, Save the Children: Lori is a senior specialist with Save the Children, specializing in humanitarian child protection. Following her MSW from Columbia University, Lori began her career in the child protection sector working as a social worker for resettled refugee youth in New York City. Since then Lori has deployed to 10+ humanitarian responses in a child protection capacity, working closely with health colleagues. Over the past nine years, Lori has worked on the development of both global initiatives and alternative care guidance, and provided direct support to alternative care programming in countries including Bangladesh, Iraq, Mozambique, and Syria. Lori has been collaborating with health colleagues throughout her career to promote shared understanding and to joint advocacy for children’s rights.

Rebecca Smith, Senior Child Protection Advisor, Save the Children: Rebecca is an experienced social worker with over 15 years working in children protection in humanitarian and development contexts. She has provided direct support as a technical advisor to governments and civil societies in Albania, Bosnia, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka. She has also supported the UN Resolution on the Rights of the Child on alternative care, publishing guidance to support policy makers and practitioners. Prior to working with Save the Children, Rebecca lived and worked in DRC, Chad, and Mongolia, and has been deployed to humanitarian disasters all over the world. She holds an MSW and an MPH, both from Columbia University.

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COVID-19 Global Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy

December 2020 – May 2021 | Global strategy reflecting the latest changes in context and knowledge

From the RCCE Collective Service: “The first COVID-19 global risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) strategy was published in March 2020. Since then, our knowledge about the disease has greatly increased, as has our understanding of how people are affected by and are responding to it. This new RCCE strategy reflects these changes in context and knowledge. The strategy reflects the experiences and views of a range of partners working on RCCE.  It builds on but replaces the first RCCE global strategy, and is supported by existing RCCE guidance materials.”

Read more: On the WHO website | On the UNICEF website

Download | COVID-19 Global Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy (48 pages | 1.2MB .pdf)

Distributing kits to hospitals as part of the Coronavirus pandemic response in DRC. May, 7, 2020. (Christian Mutombo / Save the Children)

How have COVID-19 and commitments to decolonize aid accelerated power shifts within the humanitarian sector (or not)?

Speakers: Laura Cardinal, READY; Dr. Jemilah binti Mahmood, Mercy Malaysia / IFRC; Corinne Delphine N’Daw, Oxfam; Su’ad Jarbawi, IRC; Sonia Walia, USAID/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance

Over the past year, COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and social justice movements around the globe have forced the humanitarian sector to reckon with how it delivers aid. Progress toward the localization agenda—and a commitment to fundamentally decolonizing aid—are crucial for organizations and communities to respond effectively to outbreaks such as COVID-19. While the sector has taken steps towards this goal, are these changes here to stay? Join READY’s Chief of Party Laura Cardinal and a select group of distinguished panelists to explore this important and timely topic, in the final webinar of this series.

MODERATOR: Laura J. Cardinal, Chief-of-Party, READY, Save the Children | Laura is a senior humanitarian with 13 years of experience at Save the Children, which includes extensive experience working with country and regional offices on program management, operational capacity building, systems improvement, and implementation and operations monitoring.  She currently leads the READY initiative, a BHA-funded, Save the Children-led consortium of operational and academic partners building capacity of NGOs globally to respond to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks. Laura has prior experience delivering large, multi-sectoral health, nutrition, and WASH programs in South Sudan, the Philippines, and Cambodia. Laura holds a Masters in Public Health and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University.


  • Dr. Jemilah binti Mahmood, Founder of Mercy Malaysia; Under Secretary General for Partnerships, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): Before joining IFRC, Dr. Mahmood was Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat at the United Nations. She is well known as the founder of MERCY Malaysia, which she led from 1999-2009, and her previous appointments include Chief of the Humanitarian Response Branch at UNFPA; Senior Fellow at Khazanah Nasional Berhad in Malaysia’s Khazanah Research and Investment Strategy Division, and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Humanitarian Futures Programme at Kings College in London. In 2006, she was one of 16 members appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Advisory Group of the Central Emergency Response Fund. Jemilah Mahmood is also a special advisor to the Hon. Prime Minister of Malaysia. She is a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the National University of Malaysia, has a Masters in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from the same university, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists United Kingdom.
  • Corinne Delphine N’Daw, Country Director, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Oxfam: Corinne joined Oxfam DRC in April 2019 as Country Director. Corinne has more than twenty years of experience in senior country management positions with leading development institutions (World Bank, United Nations, European Union), governments, and NGOs in complex development and humanitarian contexts. Before this assignment, she was the Senior Resilience Advisor with the UNDP sub-regional platform in Dakar, and also served as the UN Women Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa. Corinne is from Cote d’Ivoire, and holds Masters degrees in Public Administration (Harvard University) and International Economics and Finance (Brandeis University).
  • Su’ad Jarbawi, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Northern Africa, International Rescue Committee
    Su’ad has been serving as the regional vice president for the MENA region with IRC since July 2020. Prior to this role, she served as regional director for the Middle East with Mercy Corps, overseeing critical programming and operations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine (West Bank/Gaza), Syria and Yemen. Her former roles with Mercy Corps include program manager in Sudan, head of office in Haiti, and global emergencies team leader in Yemen, Mali, Syria and the Central African Republic. Su’ad holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Earlham College in Indiana and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Originally from Palestine, Su’ad is passionate about global affairs and speaks English, Arabic, and French.
  • Sonia Walia, Acting Health Team Lead and Health Advisor, USAID/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)
    Sonia has worked in humanitarian health and nutrition assistance for over 15 years, and her experience includes responses to natural disasters, complex emergencies, and outbreaks. Prior to joining USAID, she was the Regional Coordinator for Asia with the International Medical Corps. Sonia holds a Biology degree from the University of Georgia, a Respiratory Therapy degree from the Medical College of Georgia, and Master of Public Health degree from The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

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