Why we need a global approach to solve crises like the Coronavirus and what role do fears, expectations, and hopes play in different countries and communities.


By Rudradeb Mitra 


This crisis shows both the interdependence among countries in the world as well as how countries and communities are impacted on a different scale.

A call for solidarity

After we started a global Coronavirus Policy AI Challenge on our innovation platform at Omdena with more than 70 AI and domain experts, we asked our global community of nearly 1000 collaborators to share their dreams, fears, expectations, and hopes while going through the current crisis.

We have collected 28 stories from 25 countries. This article is part 1 and covers 14 inspiring and thought-provoking stories raising important questions:

What happens to people in the informal economy?

How do experiences differ between developed and developing countries?

How to create awareness for a global approach to solving the crisis?


14 countries, 14 perspectives

Matteo Bustreo, Italy



I am lucky: I can stay in my apartment with my family and I have a job I can do from remote. I went out only twice in the last 10 days, for trashing my bins. My hope is that the hard experience lived by the Italian population can help other governments in taking the most suitable decisions for saving as many lives as possible.


Zaheeda Tshankie, South Africa


I recently got married again after being widowed for 5 years. Our honeymoon is in Quarantine. A huge disparity in my country is the contrast between the poor and those who are middle-class and above. most poor communities are more concerned about their next meal, not a virus.


Anna Lopez, Colombia



In my city is a resource fund to give food to people that have informal jobs and can’t work now. The mayor picked up all homeless people and created a “refuge camp” where they have food, a ceiling and a clean place to stay for these days. It helps us to feel positive, and that this situation opens our hearts.

Tefy Lucky Rakotomahefa, Madagascar



I am, in lockdown, at home, for 15 days leveling up my skills. My fear? Are we experienced and disciplined enough to fight this pandemic?


Space for optimism



Serhiy Shekhovtsov, Ukraine

I can see a lot of reasons to stay optimistic here. The whole world is fighting this together. I think one of the best ways to deal with stress and anxiety is to get yourself involved in the fight. I am building a free AI assistant for medical imaging. Hopefully, it will help many doctors someday.


Albert Lai, Canada


Canada has responded pretty quickly with some sweeping social distancing policies and our government is providing monetary support for those who are unable to support themselves at this time. School’s closed for at least 3 weeks (looks like it’s going to be longer) and we’re looking to start online lessons next week. I’ve been learning about web development in this time and I have to say, it’s time well spent.

Sara EL-ATEIF, Morocco



People who worked as street vendors or unstable jobs have no income now and are struggling to make ends meet (other people and the government is helping but sadly a lot of people still suffer because we don’t have anything that lists these people as people in need somewhere to make the process quick and efficient).


Covid19 in Africa


Eric Nzivo, Kenya


My fears aren’t actually on how we will handle the situation since I know we have been in close to worse issues and we still pulled through. My fears are on when the world gets corona in control and only Africa is still affected. What will happen then?


Colton Magnant, USA


There are many who are hoarding resources and completely disappearing from society. At the opposite extreme, there is a disturbing number of people who are confident that it will not affect them and they insist on going about their normal lives regardless. These different groups may coexist except that there seems to be a general lack of compassion and understanding for the opposite group to the point where tensions are high between them.


Experiencing a pregnancy


Anju Mercian, USA

I am 22 weeks pregnant and it is a very scary time for me right now. I have currently quarantined myself in my home and I haven’t met anyone for almost a month. Usually, my husband comes with me to calm my nervous and hear the baby’s heartbeat but now he isn’t allowed. If the virus doesn’t subside by July I may have to give birth alone which I really do not want to do.


Joseph Itopa Abubakar, Nigeria


I fear Coronavirus will give birth to a new form of corruption in Nigeria as donations will not be accounted for. My experience so far is that activities are slow, people who came out to purchase food items are chased to go back home whereas, no measures to supply them with food items in their various homes. The price of face masks and sanitizers have increased by 10 fold.


Hoa Nguyen, Vietnam


I am living in a busy area in HCM with lots of restaurants, and coffee shops. Due to the lockdown law, all of them closed. The street has never been as empty as right now. Some waiters/waitress and employees of theses shops will work as shipper for delivery services. But some I don’t know might be unemployed because they have no other choice.


Yashika Sharma, India


My fear is, even when the Covid19 will vanish and the world will be corona free, things are not the same. Everyone will be suspecious and look at others fearfully. Public relations would be affected by doubts like ‘What if this person is infected’.

It will take a long time for conditions to become normal again.


Leo and Karen, Brazil


We are in São Paulo, Brazil. I’m really concerned about all the poor people living on slums — who will take care of them? But most of all I fear we don’t learn anything from this pandemic. Our values must change, this virus is showing us that we are all on the same boat, doesn’t matter how much money you have or which country you live you can be affected. We have to embrace ourselves as humans and treat the environment more respectfully.

We are thanking all Omdena collaborators for the openness to share experiences.


How Omdena is combating the Coronavirus

A good start to learn more about Omdena’s innovation platform is to read about our Coronavirus Policy AI Challenge, where more than 70 AI and domain experts are collaborating to build AI models that reveal the direct and indirect impact of pandemic policies on the economic health of marginalized communities.

Our aim is to support policymakers in identifying the most effective ways to minimize the economic suffering of those most vulnerable.


About Omdena

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