Document Type : Original Article


Department of Research Development and Evaluation, Deputy for Research and Technology, Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Tehran, Iran


BACKGROUND: With the outbreak of the COVID‑19 virus crisis worldwide, including Iran, the 
need for corona prevention and treatment has become a national priority. With many businesses 
closed in the wake of COVID‑19 and job losses and declining incomes, vulnerable individuals’ and 
families’ access to the minimum wage and healthcare facilities is falling, and their health is exposed 
to a great risk. In Iran, a significant number of vulnerable groups are supported by nongovernmental 
organizations (NGOs). This study is designed to understand the performance of NGOs after the 
onset of the COVID‑19 crisis.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was carried out based on qualitative research between 
June and September 2020 in Tehran. This study was conducted using individual interviews with 33 
managers and experts of 24 active NGOs providing services to vulnerable groups and a member of 
an NGO network. Data were analyzed using content analysis.
RESULTS: Two main themes of service initiatives were extracted: (a) service initiatives to protect 
the target population against COVID‑19 infection and its aftermath and (b) management initiatives 
to retain staff, finance, and adapt the organization to crisis situations. Service initiatives included five 
categories of health service initiatives, livelihood, employment, education, and leisure initiatives, while 
organizational management initiatives include human resource management, financial management, 
and communication with organizations.
CONCLUSION: The COVID‑19 breadth and its special features have set it apart from other crises 
and have led NGOs to work hard on several fronts to care for the most vulnerable people against 
the epidemic and its consequences and maintain the performance of their organizations. The unique 
role of cyberspace has made it one of the definitive pillars of the activities of NGOs, not only during 
the epidemic but also after its end.


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