Matt Andrews and the Kennedy School’s Building State Capability program are helping public leaders in the developing world prepare as best they can to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. But how to do you order a shelter-in-place when 40 percent of your population is homeless?
Featuring Matt Andrews
April 1, 2020
35 minutes and 5 seconds
Even during normal times, government officials in developing countries often feel overwhelmed by the problems they’re asked to solve. Now they are staring down the coronavirus pandemic, which has already driven nations with sophisticated public health systems to the brink.
To make matters worse, Harvard Kennedy School Senior Lecturer Matt Andrews, faculty director of the Building State Capability (BSC) program at the Center for International Development, says poorer developing countries are now basically having to go it alone fighting the pandemic. The outside aid workers and experts who usually fly in to help in a crisis like an earthquake or the Ebola virus have been grounded by travel restrictions.
Yet even though government leaders in poor countries may lack vital resources, Andrews says there’s still a lot they can do to empower, mobilize, and inspire their public sectors — and save as many lives as possible. Andrews and the BSC staff have created what they call “problem driven iterative adaptation” (PDIA) methodology, which is an intensive process of bringing teams of officials and stakeholders to identify complex problems and then break those problems down into smaller component problems. Instead of coming up with one grand plan, the group tackles those smaller problems, which are easier to grasp and less overwhelming. For the past 5 years, he’s been offering the class remotely via the internet, and now 1,500 graduates of the program are working in national, regional, and local governments and NGOs worldwide.
To respond to the current crisis, Andrews says he is hoping to use those graduates to build a network of trainers who can help officials develop better responses — despite the overwhelming odds.
Andrews has also created a “Public Leadership Through Crisis” blog, which distills down the lessons BSC has learned over the years about effective leadership in times of crisis in places where resources are scarce.
“Even if you don't have all those resources, there's an incredible amount that you can do by better authorizing people, by mobilizing and inspiring people,” Andrews tells PolicyCast host Thoko Moyo.
This episode is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.
Thoko Moyo: Hello and welcome to the Harvard Kennedy School PolicyCast. I'm your host, Thoko Moyo, and I'm really glad you're joining us for our first Social Distancing Episode. We've now switched to recording all of our guests remotely rather than in our studio, and I do hope that everyone who's listening is taking the same steps to stay safe and healthy.
Now, even during normal times, government officials in developing countries often feel overwhelmed by the problems they're asked to solve. Now, they're staring down the coronavirus pandemic, which has already driven nations with sophisticated public health systems to the brink. We're joined by Harvard Kennedy School senior lecturer, Matt Andrews. Matt is the faculty director of the Building State Capability program at the Center for International Development. Matt says that even though government leaders in poorer countries have unique challenges and often lack vital resources, there's still a lot they can do to empower, mobilize, and inspire their public sectors and save as many lives as possible. Welcome to PolicyCast. So Matt, thanks for joining us. So, my first question to you is how will this crisis affect developing or poor countries differently?
Matt Andrews: Thank you very much for having me, Thoko. I think the first thing that I would say is that many developing countries have fewer resources than wealthier countries. They have fewer doctors, they have fewer nurses, they have less health equipment. They also have generally lower levels of financial reserves and things like that that they can prop their countries up with. In many of these countries also, the way that they've dealt with crises in the past has often been to look to external experts to come in and help them. And I'm not saying that they haven't done any of the work themselves, but the role of the external expert coming in and helping has been a very traditional thing that people have looked to. Right now, you don't have those people on airplanes, you don't have those people flying in, you don't have those resources coming in. So, I think that these countries for the first time in some cases, are going to have to deal with this completely on their own in many respects until people come, because the wealthier countries are dealing with it themselves.
Thoko Moyo: And that's an interesting point, Matt, because the wealthy countries themselves are struggling and they haven't done necessarily a stellar job themselves. So, even the idea of experts flying in from elsewhere, it doesn't seem to be a viable option right now.
Matt Andrews: No, it's not a viable option, and what we advocate is not what you want to do. Because you're right, a lot of countries are fumbling this, they doing a really bad job with it. What you need to be amazed with is they have all the resources and they're not using them. We were just on a zoom call with the people in about 30 different countries and they were saying, "Where are the best practices? Where are the best practices?" Everyone wants that, and it's like we don't know where they are yet. We know that a lot of people are not doing well. We don't know who's going to get through this on the other side. But, you need to find your practices now. That's the key. You need to get as many good ideas as you can, but you need to treat those ideas, not solutions. And you need to weigh them up and you need to develop your own mechanisms so that you can build on what it is that you have in your countries.
We believe that even if you don't have all the resources, there's a lot that you can do because we think that capability is not just about resources. It's not just about ability, it's about how you authorize your ability, and it's about how you mobilize and motivate your ability. So, even if you don't have all those resources, there's an incredible amount that you can do by better authorizing people, by mobilizing and inspiring people. I think that that is the challenge that you have in every country, and it is really what we are trying to help with in developing countries, where I think that those two mechanisms of authorizing and mobilizing are going to be absolutely crucial right now.
Thoko Moyo: So, just on this question of best practices, a number of people have said in the press that there's something that the world could learn from African countries and the way that they dealt with the Ebola crisis. Is that a full view or is that only partially true?
Matt Andrews: Yeah, whenever you have a best practice you need to be asking questions. And the Ebola, Ebola was amazing. There was a lot of success with Ebola, and we are looking closely at Ebola on my team — we have somebody who was the communications expert working in Ebola — so we pay a lot of attention to that. Best practices are often seen as a solution that you can take pre-packaged and just apply it.
What you need to be looking at in best practices, what are the lessons that we can take from that practice for where we are now? So, you have to essentially break that practice down and say, "Where was it? What is relevant to us? What can we try from that place?" And then, you need to try that, and you need to monitor it, and you need to see how it worked in your place. A best practice is what happened in a place, at a time, with a set of people who conceived of it and who made it work. It doesn't mean that it's going to fit your time, your place, and it doesn't mean that you have the people. But, you can draw ideas and you can draw lessons, but you then need to try those lessons out. And I think it's very much in keeping with the Ebola epidemic, the Ebola pandemic. And if you hear even the WHO people who were involved in the Ebola pandemic, they say exactly the same thing. They say, let's look at it, let's take the lessons, but let's be careful not to overstate how they fit in a place. That's what I think people need to be thinking of.
Thoko Moyo: So, where are we right now? When you talk to some of the public officials and governments that you're supporting and and working with right now, what is the situation? What are the main issues that they're grappling with, and how are you talking to them about that?
Matt Andrews: In a lot of the countries that we are dealing with, and these are developing countries where they are only now starting to, or in the last week really starting to, count the numbers of people who are sick with a COVID-19. They're starting to get numbers, they're starting to try and trace wherever they can where those people are, and they are mostly focused on suppression. I think they're looking around the world and they're seeing what you really need to do is get people to stay at home. So, we see that there are a variety of efforts to do that in these countries.
People aren't thinking about where are people going to get their food from, how are people going to get housing. If we're telling people to stay home and we are in a country with 30 to 40% of homeless people, which is the reality in many of these countries, what does home mean? If people are living hand to mouth, how do we tell them that they can't go to work? These are very, very big issues and I think that the countries are trying to make some of the responses up as they go along. So, I would say that in many of the countries you're in early days. Now, that does not necessarily mean that you're in the early days with the virus itself, it seems to me that when the countries are starting to test, they find that they're already in the hundreds and we know that when you get into the hundreds you are very soon going to be in the thousands. So, I think that, to me, a lot of the countries are behind the clock right now and the question for them is how do they very, very quickly get the basics of managing and leading this crisis in place, so that they can do the best job that they possibly can at this stage.
Thoko Moyo: And you're saying that it's not just about the technical dimensions, the logistics, et cetera. It's also just about being a public leader and that's critically important. What are some of the things that you're seeing that are really, really important?
Matt Andrews: I think that there are a number of dimensions to dealing with this crisis, and one of them is going to be logistical, right? Having a suppression order, a stay at home order, and making sure that people adhere to it, that there is a certain amount of logistics. There are supply chain issues with getting medicines. This is very heavily logistical in the beginning of a crisis and that's a traditional crisis. There is a behavioral side of this that is as important, if not more important. That behavioral side is, if you want people to stay at home, how are you communicating that to them? What does that message look like? We have quite a lot on our blog series about how leaders should be talking to their people from how they should be appearing and how calm they should be, to the type of language that they should put in place. The importance of honesty right now, the importance of giving people hope but not false hope, but the importance of being very, very clear and succinct with the people that you are dealing with. This is absolutely crucial and that's a lot about logistics, that's about leadership. There is something also about strategy, so logistic, then leadership and communication, and then strategy. And the strategy is going to be, how do we identify the full map of what this process looks like.
You can't just suppress people, you can't just deal with the fact that there's a virus, there are economic consequences, there are social consequences, they are education consequences and all of these things are going to create fear in the people that you are working with because they're going to be saying, "If I stay at home, what about this? What about this? What about this? What about this?" The number one thing that leadership must be about in this is helping your people get through the fear associated with the crisis. That is what we are saying to people. You need to understand their fear and you need to allay the fears with both words and actions. This is something that I think a lot of people don't pay enough attention to when they are in this place. We are saying to a lot of leaders, it may even be the time that you calm down, that you mobilize a lot of people around you, that you trust them to do all of the busy work, and that you spend your time crafting those messages that you put out to people and making the decisions and keeping yourself away from all of the action. But, more in that that space of decision making, calm communication, et cetera, because you are going to be crucial in this battle around behavior and around strategy.
Thoko Moyo: Because the temptation can be sometimes if you're leading a team through a crisis is to get involved in the details because you're really appropriately concerned that things are happening as they should and that things are being executed. What I'm hearing you say, is that leaders should resist that temptation and step back and really focus on the big picture, and allow others to focus on execution. Have I understood that right?
Matt Andrews: Yeah. I think that that's completely right. There's actually a big pile of literature on this that says that the people who are in a supervision role, which would be what we would talk about these leaders right now, that they often feel that they need to be in the middle of the action and that they very regularly burn out, they treat people poorly around them, they make mistakes, and what they also don't do is they don't early enough bring enough people into the leadership solution. This is not going to just be an immediate sprint. This is going to be a marathon and so you cannot run it by yourself, you have to run it with a team.
So, you need to say, my role right now is to be the one who makes decisions. I need to therefore be creating a team around me that helps to identify what are the areas in which we are going to have to make decisions and then they need to create sub teams around them for those different areas to say, "Bring in the right information. Scour the globe for the best ideas and bring them to me and then I will make those decisions." That's the structure that you need for those people who are in those supervisory roles, whether you are a school district commissioner dealing with the crisis in relation to the school district or whether you are head of state. You need to be keeping yourself in that place. It does mean that people need to have a level of trust that often you don't see in a lot of governments. Governments are structured as hierarchies with people at the top, and they're about control, and delegation is about control. This is not about control, this is about sending people out, and it's about building trust with those people and saying, go and do the best job then you have ever done in your life and we need leadership that does that. Then, the leader needs to be the one who is bringing, coming, receiving the information, receiving the people and helping to make the decisions and communicating the decisions outwards so that they are legitimate and that they get the behavioral change you need from the people who you are trying to lead through this crisis.
Thoko Moyo: I'm really trying to resist the temptation to examine the leadership vacuum and failures we've seen in the US and we've seen in Europe and other places, and really keep this focused on the regions that you are working with right now and where your efforts right now are targeted. So, I'm going to put that aside because when you talked about succinct honesty, I feel like that has been something that has led to a lot of confusion, chaos and mistrust in government because you're seeing that playing out in the media in various ways where we are right now.
Matt Andrews: So Thoko, if I can actually just say, let's talk about that because we don't... We were talking earlier about learning from best practices, let's also learn from mistakes. And I'll tell you in every single book that you will have in any single training program, they will tell you that leaders need to be calm, they need to be succinct, they need to be honest, they need to be clear with their people, they need to be available to their people, there needs to be one message. And we have seen that that has been a problem in countries that are ahead in this crisis and we can see that has exacerbated the crisis. If you can't provide the resources as the leader, tell your people that you can't provide those resources and therefore we need to try something else, be clear, be honest about it. So, we need to learn those lessons. It is very, very important.
Thoko Moyo: Don't say that everyone will get tested who wants to be tested.
Matt Andrews: Absolutely. Absolutely. Right up front, say, "This is what our capability is, this is what we can do." Say, "this is what we are trying to do so that we are in a better place with capability in a few days time, in a week's time." Clarity is very, very important. It's almost like, people say you need to live within your means as a person, and I say, when you are communicating, when you are engaging and as a leader in a crisis situation, you need to communicate within your means too. It is very, very important because your people have to trust you. They also have to know what is coming and they have to know what their responsibility is going to be down the line. That is the best thing that you could do right now. This is no space for spin. Spin has no place in this at all. Your responsibility is to give your people the best information that they can have to get through this crisis, because they have to get through this crisis as well with their families, with their organizations, et cetera. And you need to give them honesty because you are the one who has that leadership position over them right now.
Thoko Moyo: And this includes being able to be honest based on the advice of experts or scientific evidence, which we haven't necessarily seen play out in places that are more democratic than some of the countries that we're talking about. So that raises a concern for me. If you have a country that may be more authoritarian, where people are used to telling leaders what they want to hear because that's just the way it is, how does it work in a time of crisis when when leaders actually need to be hearing honest, unfiltered truth from the people that they're working with?
Matt Andrews: It's really, really tricky. I think that it's not only with the message from the leader, the other thing that is important in these situations is to get information. When you're talking about this now, COVID-19 cannot be fought if you want to use that word, without information about who's infected, how many infections you have, where those people are, et cetera. You need to get that information. And it's one of the lessons that came from Ebola is the Liberian government very, very quickly put a data gathering unit together and that data gathering unit employed multiple ways of getting multiple types of data so that they had accurate data. Because it's not just that people don't tell their leaders always the honest truth, it's sometimes the information that has been connected has been so distorted over time that they don't have the truth to tell them.
So, what I would say to any leader who is actually in a very hierarchical system, in an authoritarian system, you need to ask yourself what biases are built into my system about firstly how I think about this. In one of our blog posts, we actually say leaders need to be smarter than their brains because you're going to have your own biases that are going to lend you to look at this in certain ways that are not going to be right, and you need to be careful. An example of that is in this country, you had very early on people saying, well, it's just the flu. It's just like the flu. What that means then is that you put something in people's heads where they remember what the flu is like and they say, the flu isn't a big deal, so therefore you get a bias in your head that you interpret all of the information that you're seeing now as, this is just the flu.
Even in some countries where you had SARS or you had MERS beforehand, people heard of saws and MERS, but it wasn't this, right? So then, people said, well, this is like SARS 2. Then they're like, well, SARS wasn't so bad, we'll get through it. So, you need to make sure that those biases aren't there. A lot of leaders also have a bias towards thinking that the solution that they have is going to play out better than they think. And so they'll say, "We've got a cure. It's on its way. It's going to work." Instead of saying, "We have an idea, it is not yet a cure because we haven't found it to be a cure. So, we're trying it out, but we try and 10 other things as well because we don't want to waste our time on this."
But, they have that bias towards thinking in that way. But in their system, their system can be biased because their system can be biased towards only bringing positive news towards the person at the top. Their system can be biased towards only communicating what we would call solutions instead of ideas or even instead of problems. So, what it could mean is you as the leader have people around you who are scared of telling you where things are going wrong, and right now, you do not want to find out in three days time that you have a hotspot. You want to find that out now. So, what you need to do as a leader, if you are all concerned that you're in these kind of environments, is you need to create multiple mechanisms that allow you to get better information than you've ever had before. You need to bring people into your inner circle who tell you things that you don't like and you need to give them the explicit role of being the person that tells you what you don't want to hear. You need to do what some people call red team the issue and actually get put people on your team and saying to them, "Your job is to tell me why I'm wrong." Another thing that you could do and this is bringing outside experts in is you could think about finding an external coach, someone who is not in the weeds, someone who is not in your government, and someone who is not beholden to you as the leader, they don't get their job from you. Get on the phone to them every day and say, "Here are the key decisions. Here are the things where I don't know if my people are telling me the right thing. I don't know if we have the right thing to tell. What do you think?" and get that external perspective. Getting external perspectives so that you can test the ideas that you have is going to be crucial right now.
The moment, one of the things that we are trying to do is actually create a bench of former Harvard Kennedy School students who are out in the world who've dealt with crises to be available as tele coaches to people to do exactly this. They are not going to be the technical experts to tell you what the answer should be, but they can be the ones who can help to say to you, "But have you asked this question? Have you asked that question?" Right now, leaders need to be really, really careful that they actually take upon themselves the role of ensuring that they are getting the right information and the right options in front of them because there's no space here for you to make a mistake that you can't learn from and respond to in a short amount of time. But, as I say this, yeah, be careful that there are no perfect responses here. So, you are going to have to take risks, you are going to have to have to make decisions that don't work out. But, this is why you need to then have a means of monitoring what happens with that decision very quickly so that you can adapt. And for leaders who aren't used to telling people that they make mistakes, you also going to have to be open to the fact that you will make mistakes and very regularly you're going to have to go back and say, "We tried this, it's not working, we're trying something else." Humility is going to be pivotal.
Thoko Moyo: In your experience as you talk to officials in some of the countries that you're working on, and you mentioned earlier on that you had been on a call with them officials in the Western Cape, what is the role of politics in all of this? You can answer the question or I can expand in terms of what I mean. You know, we see here in the US that there are interests that are being catered to in terms of the decisions made. When I think of some countries in Africa where the issue of politics actually may, you winning the next election may not actually be that important an issue for a leader because if you're an incumbent, you're most likely going to be returned. So, maybe there's less of a motivation for you to do the right things in a crisis because the stakes aren't that high. How do you think about politics in this context?
Matt Andrews: I think it's really difficult because I think that... So actually, we had a Zoom call earlier and one of the questions that was raised was like, "What do you deal with spoilers? What do you deal with politics in the case that you're going to have a bunch of people, actually even in incumbent parties, who are going to see this as an opportunity, and you could potentially have people in the opposition party or your party who are instructing their people not to listen, who instructing their people to do different things? And one of the things you're trying to do is get a single trusted message that everybody is behind. The other thing that is interesting, another dimension, is sometimes... We actually had an opposition party official from a country on the call and he said, "But what happens if you think I'm a spoiler, but all I'm trying to do is put what I think is a legitimate idea-"
Thoko Moyo: What do you mean by spoiler?
Matt Andrews: So, that was something people raised where they said we're trying to do this work and we have people who are telling us we're doing it wrong and they're getting in the way or they're obstructing the message or they're obstructing the supply chain, they're doing something to spoil the process. That's what the term is. And this person said, "Look, I'm trying to... I have some ideas that I'm trying to communicate into government from the opposition party. I'm not at the table. No one will invite me to the table. How do I bring my idea to the table?" So, I think this is actually tremendously complicated because I think you do have, let's say, politics right now that can get in the way. If people start to play too much politics right now, it can get in the way.
One idea that I have for some people is I say, "Look, I think that parties should try to invite people from opposition parties into these discussions, into these advisory processes." The people who empower the president or the provincial premier or the school district commissioner, they all have got to be the ones who have to decide and we need to lead them to decide. But, they would probably be very well positioned or very well advised to try and bring people from opposition parties and opposition voices because sometimes even within the NGO communities, they aren't organized politics, but they have different voices. Bring them into that advisory process, bring them into that discussion process, so that they're at least part of the process. The process matters a lot.
Thoko Moyo: Is that realistic? And I guess these are unprecedented times, so one hopes that leaders are behaving in a different way. But, how realistic really is it if very often in the number of countries, NGOs, civil society, opposition parties are all at odds with each other and it's not talking to each other or sharing ideas in a constructive way? In your experience, can that actually happen?
Matt Andrews: So, here's what I will say is, whether you say it's realistic, let's say on a scale of... No, what percentage likelihood is it going to happen? In most times, we'd say this thing I'm suggesting, there's like 0% chance that this is going to happen. Now, I think we need to move into the world where I think you're going to see this happening, but it's not going to happen as much as we need it to happen. That's going to be what... That's the truth. It's very, very hard to do. I think that when you have seen gigantic crises in places before, you do find that people thought to leave aside their differences and they do come together because they realize that people are dying. I do think that that does happen. I have spoken to people this week who have said that even when their country face the 2008 crisis across the Middle East, some countries faced the Arab Spring later on, and they had crises, and those crises did not bring people together. They're telling me that this is looking a little different in quite a few countries right now, that people are coming together. I do want to suggest that one of the key ingredients for this is leadership. I think the people who have power need to extend other branches to people and say, come and be part of this with us. I think that if you are forcing those other voices to shout at you from the outside and to criticize you, they will do those things. They will party do those things because they themselves are fearful, they will partly do those things because they know that politics can be about stoking fear, but if you bring them into your tent and if you include them in those conversations, and this is going to require humility by the people who are in power, I think that it is you who needs to be the first movement in doing this.
How many countries will do this? Thoko, I don't know. How many countries need to do this? Every one because this is something that is a virus that is not hitting people based on their political affiliation, this is a equal opportunity virus. Everyone is going to be affected by this, and if we can't get people together, then it is going to harm us. Now in some cases, just to say, I think there is a role for outsiders if the government is really, routinely not doing the right thing. If the government is putting its own political fortunes ahead of others, if the government is not responding, if the government is not engaging experts, if the government doesn't seem to be providing clear messages, I think there is actually a very uncomfortable but important role right now for civil society and for opposition parties to take a position on that and to come with their truth, and to speak their truth to their people. It should not be done in a cheap way though. It should not be done in a way to say we are going to bring you down. It should be done in a way to say we all get into force you to be truthful with the people right now. That is a role that is important where governments are not being truthful, where they're not engaging accurately with their people.
Thoko Moyo: And Matt, when you look at some of the developments that we've seen from big multilateral financiers, such as the World Bank, the IMF, that are setting aside billions of dollars for COVID-19 response, if you were advising them not as a global public health expert, but as thinking about some of the other areas that we should be thinking about, where would you say some of that funding could be usefully used in the context of public leadership and the critical role that you're identifying right here?
Matt Andrews: Yeah, so I'm actually not a public health expert at all. My work is more in public management and leadership. But, I would say, firstly there are some great pieces that are being written right now by some economists, some at Harvard — Ricardo Hausmann has done something very interesting this week. There is a series coming out through some affiliates of Dani Rodrik with multiple articles …
Thoko Moyo: These are all faculty at the Kennedy School …
Matt Andrews: … these are faculty at the Kennedy School, but they've also leveraged faculty all over the world who are trying to advise on where we need to be spending money in the future, what we need to support. I have a very simple message though is we need to support state capability, states matter. What I have seen in development over a long period of time is that multilaterals have said, we will support you if you deregulate, we will support you if you decrease the size of government, we will support you if you produce results and we'll tie all money to results. Now, results are short term things. What we don't want is more short term results, we want long term capability. We want states that have systems that can achieve. An example of what I think the change you need in development is, relates to healthcare. We have made huge advances, and I don't want anybody to hear me criticizing people cheaply, we have made huge advances in health in developing countries. More kids are immunized than were ever immunized before. The mortality rates of kids, of infants, of mothers has come down in most countries. Most of this has been because of interventions that involve logistical interventions, providing drugs, providing inoculations, et cetera, and I support all of that. But, we have been way behind the curve in building health systems themselves. So, you see that the kids are healthier, but we have not seen an increase in the number of doctors in developing countries. We have not seen increases in number of nurses. And what we're seeing now, is that many of these countries are simply not prepared because their systems are not robust enough.
In the future, we need to think about strengthening capabilities not just producing short term results. Now, I don't think that needs to be a trade off between those two things, but we need to think a lot smarter about making sure that capability is the goal over the long run.
Thoko Moyo: And Matt, in your sense, how easy is it or doable is it to pivot from where a country or a state may currently be focusing less on some of the public leadership essentials that you've outlined? As you speak to them and you are giving your simple message about, look, it's really important as a public leader that you are thinking about the overall strategy that you are leading the people you're working with out of their fear. I mean, how is it to pivot from, because they're right in the crisis now and there's fear, there's urgent things that are popping up, you're just trying to deal with whatever fires happen. How easy is it to pivot?
Matt Andrews: It's really hard. So, one of the things that actually wrote about in the blog post is we say our brains do strange things when we are facing these kinds of crises. You would have heard about the 3-F response, right? That we fight, flight or freeze. And sometimes we see our national leaders doing those three things, right? Don't talk to me about it, it's going to go away, or okay, let's fight it now as quickly as possible, or they just freeze. And the first thing that I would say is when we're dealing with a lot of these leadership folks, we need to understand that they also are dealing with fear, and this is very hard for them. And sometimes they're going to go back to old patterns of behavior in how to deal with this, which is going to be very much command and control, not this idea of decentralized coordination, releasing people's talents, helping people to get through their fear, working with them.
I think that there are approaches to that where we can help people stop those immediate responses and take a deep breath and say, "Okay, let's think about why you're here. Let's think about your role. Let's think about your responsibility." It very, very difficult in some cases to be able to get people to do that, and especially where government hasn't necessarily been about creating public value in many countries. Let's be honest, in many countries it's been about political fighting, it's been about one party being in charge for one period of time and another party, another charge, and they haven't been focused on the people as much as they need to. What we are trying to do is we're trying to say to people, the people depend on you right now, you have to respond to them. And that message, Thoko, is I think something that I have found resonates with people all over the world. If you can construct that message, that narrative and say, okay, let's take a deep breath. You don't have to freeze. There are things that you can do.
A key message I think that we also give to people in these developing countries is we find people saying, "Look, we don't have the resources to deal with this. We are in deep trouble, so maybe we shouldn't even try do anything. And we say to them, "You can always do better. You can always do better. You may not have the resources, but you can change the way that you authorizing your people. You can change the way that you're mobilizing and motivating your people." And again, I would say this is one of the lessons from the Ebola crisis that we should learn, Liberia and Guinea are not wealthy countries. They are not countries with deep benches of capability, but they managed to reauthorize their people. They've managed to mobilize their people to do something that was very special at that time. Right now, we are calling upon leaders in countries that don't have resources to think about how special this response could be.
Thoko Moyo: This is terrific. Thank you so much. Thanks for listening. Please join us for our next episode, and in the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.