Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ROLE UK Programme supported travel for UK experts to deliver capacity-building training alongside in-country partners. Since the outbreak, both the Programme and its stakeholders have had to strategically adapt to the circumstances and deliver most activities remotely. The Programme has reflected on the opportunities and challenges that have come with the move to online pro bono delivery, launching a peer-to-peer review aimed at sharing best practice with the community. It also analysed the wider implications that the pandemic has had on the rule of law, launching the ‘Rule of Law in Times of Health Crises’ paper. Almost two years after the beginning of the pandemic, the Programme continues to play a central role in coordinating efforts to strengthen the rule of law as stakeholders face the challenges brought about by COVID-19.
This short paper is complimentary to that work and provides guidance to the community of practice with real-world lessons on how to maintain and strengthen their pro bono work during a health crisis. It brings together evidence from the UK legal sector on how the Network responded and adapted its work as Sierra Leone and neighbouring West African countries were struck by the Ebola outbreak. These reflections hope to aid other organisations as they continue to re-evaluate their approach to pro bono work, in the face of the continued challenges brought on by the pandemic. The outcome is a valuable resource for international rule of law actors that will help them to successfully adapt their work during and beyond a health crisis.