Our foremost priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our staff and their families, our clients and beneficiaries, and we are committed to playing our part to minimise transmission of the virus. Recognising that the scale and pace of COVID-19 varies across countries, our strategy is to refrain as far as possible from ‘one size fits all’ central directives, adopting instead a decentralised approach based upon the specific risk factors and requirements of each of the countries in which we work.
This adaptive approach is serving us well and our business continuity plans have allowed us to ensure that we can continue to operate to the best of our ability. We are conscious that we work in contexts where external assistance addresses critical capacity gaps, and governments and people in these places may be rendered even more vulnerable if such assistance (in the forms of funds and expertise) is taken away. Where conditions allow, our projects are operating at full capacity, with a combination of on-site and remote working arrangements, made possible by our excellent IT, cyber security and communications systems, and our duty of care support. In many of our projects, we have rapidly responded to the outbreak COVID-19 by pivoting our work plans to support our clients and counterpart governments in responding to, and preparing for, the pandemic and the challenges it poses for economies and livelihoods. We are heartened by the pragmatism and flexibility our major clients are showing, and the spirit of partnership that has been established in tackling COVID-19 together.
With many of our staff working remotely, we are mindful of the challenges this can create, especially in regard to mental and physical health. A lack of formal business cohesion can result in loneliness, and we are committed to supporting our staff in order to avoid this. We have a culture of openness in which conversations about mental health are the norm and we provide our staff with high quality mental health support services whenever they are required. We are also conscious that the huge quantity of information, available through both official and unofficial channels, can create, and exacerbate, anxiety. For this reason, we provide our employees and project staff with regular updates and access to clear, factual information, from trusted sources, in order to help filter out the ‘noise’.
ASI’s mission is to transform lives. As an employee-owned, B Corp certified company, our commitment to society is now more important than ever. We stand ready to play our part in supporting vulnerable communities and their governments, the world over, in responding to the impacts of COVID-19 and in recovering from its devastating effects.
As a company, we are continuously thinking about the challenges this crisis poses to the countries we work in. We are working collaboratively to formulate immediate and medium-term responses to this crisis and over the coming days and weeks will be providing more information on how ASI, through its projects, will assist governments, private sector partners and vulnerable communities to tackle COVID-19.
CEO, Adam Smith International