Surviving Covid-19 on the Margins: Call for Papers

call for papers



On January 30, 2020, the Philippines recorded its first case of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). In March of the same year, local COVID-19 transmission has been officially reported in the country. Since then, the cases have ballooned into over a million and deaths at over 22,000 as of June 2021.


The country with a total population of 110 million, has implemented one of the world’s longest and strictest pandemic lockdowns and quarantine measures to prevent the rapid spread of the Coronavirus. Like other countries, the Philippine economy has been hit hard by the pandemic and aggravated by the routine and localized lockdowns that triggered the country’s economic recession since the second quarter of 2020. It left over 7 million Filipinos unemployed in April last year. The ongoing recession is the country’s longest since the foreign debt crisis in the 1980s.


The poor and marginalized sectors are commonly the groups who suffer most from the devastating impacts of a crisis. In the Philippines, the poverty incidence is projected to average up to 17.5% in 2021, from 16.7% in 2018. Among the basic sectors identified by the Philippine government, farmers, fisherfolks, individuals residing in rural areas, and children who belong to low-income families, have the highest poverty incidence. This makes them more vulnerable in times of crisis.


In addition to those living below the poverty line, there are other groups confronted with socio-political challenges such as conflict, disasters, climate change impacts, injustice, inequality and discrimination, disabilities and illnesses, and the lack of access to services, among others. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed these populations to heightened risks and vulnerabilities, even with limited pandemic aid provided by the government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). As the vulnerabilities of marginalized populations increase, so to does the need for appropriate response. However, resources and information on the sector’s experiences during the pandemic remain scarce.




The Program on Resilient Communities at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) has been learning from communities in the Philippines since 2017 with a focus on disaster preparedness and climate change. Communities that are marginalized and/or live in fragile spaces (environmental and social fragility) are at greater risk of the impacts of climate change and disaster. This vulnerability has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This knowledge challenges us to continue to expand our area of expertise and find partners who can help us engage with these marginalized communities and represent their specific needs.


Researchers and authors are invited to submit papers on the experience of any marginalized or vulnerable communities in the Philippines during the pandemic. Authors will get a chance to present their papers at a virtual symposium hosted by the HHI in October 2021.




All entries must be written in English and meet the following criteria:


Author status: Must be any of the following: 

  • Current graduate students at the masters or PhD level, preferably affiliated with universities in the Philippines
  • Scholars with a doctorate / PhD degree
  • University / college faculty doing research on these subjects, with a special preference for junior faculty

Preference is given to authors who are of Filipino descent or are affiliated with Philippine universities. Papers written by more than one author are permitted.


Focus: Each paper must focus on the COVID-19 pandemic experience of any marginalized or vulnerable communities in the Philippines. These communities include, but are not limited to:

  • The Lumad or other indigenous communities
  • Coastal and remote communities
  • The elderly
  • Persons with disabilities (PWDs)
  • LGBTQ+ populations
  • Communities living in poverty

Originality: Each paper must be an original analysis and must be the author’s own work. Papers previously published are not eligible.


Length and Formatting:

  • The paper should be between 5 and 10 pages in length. Page limits do not include all charts/graphs, references, or appendices.
  • Papers must be submitted in MSWord (DOC or DOCX)
  • Font should be Times New Roman, font size 12, single spacing
  • Data, publications, and all other documentation must be cited appropriately.
  • The title page must include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and email address.
  • Include an abstract of no more than 200 words and brief author bios (not included in page limit)
  • Include page numbers and the paper’s title in the header or footer

Deadline: All papers and corresponding entry forms must be received by September 20th (PHT-Philippine time)


Presentation: HHI will select the best papers among the submitted entries. The authors of the chosen papers will be invited to present at a symposium hosted by the HHI in October 2021. This activity does not involve a cash prize, and the papers would remain solely the property of the authors. Selected papers may be published in the author’s name by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.




Submit an entry here.


For inquiries, please contact Mark Toldo at