The Goddess Copes Global Edition—Part 1

A drawn map of africa and the middle east. Points on the map are connected by a network of lines and dots.



Minerva Strategies works with a group of very talented partners in countries around the world who share our values and excitement about communicating to support positive change. We’ve been thinking of them during this time of COVID-19 when we’re all living different versions of the same stressful reality.


We recently dropped our partners a note to check in and see how they’re doing. As usual, their insights are smart and touching, and we want to share them with you.


Andrea Joseph, Buenos Aires, Argentina


In Argentina, health officers are managing COVID-19 quite well. We have more than 4,000 cases and 200+ deaths in a population of approximately 45 million people.


On 20th March, the government put a quarantine in place. In the first weeks of April, only health workers, food producers, people who work in supermarkets and pharmacies, media workers, and transportation and security forces could circulate. Now, the national government has allowed people in some provinces—and under certain conditions—to go out for a few hours. Many people in the country are very concerned because they are informal workers and do not have income now. Since 2018, Argentina has been in a deep economic crisis and this is making it worse.


Those of us who are lucky to still have work are living in a strange moment. Most Argentines are not used to working or studying remotely. And most families or couples, mostly in big cities, are not used to spending many hours together. I think for kids and adolescents this experience will be good because they have quality time with their parents.


On the other hand, there is a rise in femicides and violence. Staying home is not comfortable for many poor people who live crowded in one room and in really bad conditions. So many women, men, and children here are in a very difficult situation.


I am very lucky. I live with my husband Andrés—he is also a journalist—and my two daughters Fiorella (19) and Alaia (15) and my two crazy cats Olivia and Güemes. I have a team with a designer, and we understand each other very well. We frequently work remotely so we have no trouble these days. I work in the health sector, mostly for the Argentine Pharmacists Confederation, so I have lot to do because we have to maintain pharmacists and health workers informed.



I don’t have much spare time, but I’m really enjoying being with my husband and girls. We talk and laugh a lot. We are watching some Netflix series. I would like to read a little but so far, I have not been able to. I have Cien años de soledad (One hundred years of solitude) from Gabriel García Marquez in front of me. It’s a temptation!!


When we return to “normal,” I would like to see my grandmother who is 97 years old. I love her and my big, big family—my brother, aunt, and cousins. My mother lives in Bariloche (1,600 km south of Buenos Aires), so I talk to her every night but cannot be with her. I also miss being with my friends—we only Zoom now—and going for long walks. I miss that. Even if it’s cold.


Bhavani Giddu, Footprint Global Communications, New Delhi, India


All of us at Footprint started working from home from March 23rd and the lockdown in India is until May 3rd and is expected to continue to contain the infection. Delhi definitely seems to be in the danger zone and I believe the lockdown has to continue.


My team and I work from home, I have developed guidelines for #WorkFromHome including time to log in and response times for client emails and calls. We do a weekly knowledge sharing session on Google Hangouts Video Conference. We all connect on WhatsApp regularly.


Most of our clients are in the education sector such as the Indian Institute of Technology, a set of technical and research institutes that are among the most reputable in the world. All of them are shut for physical classes and have moved to online classes. All the IITs we work with are high-tech institutes and have been doing research on coronavirus. We have been taking all this to the media because they are very interested in how institutes of national significance like IITs are contributing to  COVID research. We are also working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Work has been very busy as everyone is grappling with how to deal with this crisis.


See just one sample of media coverage of IIT here.



I’m sending a picture of the team working from home as well as a pic of a new south Indian dish I tried out using banana flower… the lockdown has made me a Masterchef. ????



Let us hope all of this passes soon and we emerge unscathed! And let us be kind to the planet.


Maria Djordjevic, Meropa Communications, Johannesburg, South Africa


South Africa mobilised its COVID response quite well and quickly because we have such large HIV/tuberculosis co-morbidities. But winter is coming. It’s practically already here—it snowed in Lesotho (about 400km from Johannesburg) over the weekend. And overcrowded living conditions don’t make for easy social distancing or proper ventilation. That’s partly why TB is so hard to control.


Meropa went into hard lockdown on March 24th. Hard being the operative word; we are only allowed out of our homes for “essential” services. And shock-of-shocks, there has been a total ban on the sale of wine and other alcoholic drinks. Note: The Minerva Strategies team finds this appalling.


Most of us Meropians are able to work from home (WFH—who would have thought a year or two ago this would become a well-known acronym!) and because our unit focuses on health and social issues, we’ve been hectic busy. I’ve roped in a couple of people from other teams. Because we’re at home there’s little regard for “working hours.” It takes effort to remain relevant and helpful to clients while paying attention to my lockdown teammates: my husband, two teenage kids, two pets (who are delighted that I’m always here!). And occasionally, I do something for myself, like yoga or I walk the dog.



I find myself coping for several days and then all this becomes too real and seriously disturbing for a few hours, and then I bounce back—it’s the only thing we can do. I’m not taking pictures of myself these days. I don’t know what’s worse, not being able to control the grey hair or wearing a tracksuit to the office LOL. So I’m sending you a picture of my faithful work assistants instead ????.


Take care – stay safe and sane and cheerful.


Amy Barry, di:ga Communications, London, England


Amy only had a few minutes to share insight in between a packed work schedule and caring for a one-year old so her update is brief.


We’re in Herefordshire (200+ km from London) with my mother and feel very lucky to be here. My colleague Oli and his wife are in Devon; Sarah lives in Leeds; and the rest of the di:ga team are still in London.


We’re all ok here—super busy actually. I’ve been really heartened by the team’s commitment, flexibility, sense of humor, and diligence in the face of the challenges of lockdown and all the related uncertainty. I think we are all closer as a team now than we were when we were all in the office together, ironically.


PS – I am most looking forward to a haircut, a swim, and being back in my own kitchen. Oh – and having our nanny back!

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.