Tracking how people’s lives are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can enable policymakers to better understand the situation in their countries and make data-driven policy decisions. To respond to this need, IPA has developed the RECOVR survey—a panel survey that will facilitate comparisons, document real-time trends of policy concern, and inform decision-makers about the communities that are hardest-hit by the economic toll of the pandemic. In Zambia, the survey is being conducted in partnership with the Ministry of General Education (MoGE) and the Ministry of Health to inform the government’s policy responses. The RECOVR survey will provide MoGE with information about who is accessing distance learning; whether parents and caregivers can support students in their learning; and which mediums, content, and timings are optimal for distance learning efforts in Zambia. The survey will provide the Ministry of Health with information on the size of vulnerable populations (including information about children, the elderly, and pregnant women) to inform any potential nutrition supplementation responses, and other government responses, during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Ministry of General Education, Zambia; Ministry of Health, Zambia
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
June-December 2020
Implemented by IPA:
Impact Goals:
Build resilience and protect the financial health of families and individuals; Build resilient and adaptable businesses and employment opportunities; Improve social-safety net responses; Improve women’s health, safety, and economic empowerment; Keep children safe, healthy, and learning; Promote peace and safety, and improve humanitarian response; Reduce COVID-19 transmission rates
Outcomes of Interest:
Some of the key questions the survey aims to answer at the global level include the size and scope of the disruptions to government service provision, work disruptions and type of disruptions, whether and how households with school-aged children are spending time on education since schools have been closed, extent to which people are skipping necessary healthcare, identification of populations most at risk of skipping necessary healthcare. The Zambia survey focuses on health symptoms and care, COVID-19 mitigation behavior, education, work and income, social safety net support received, food and market security (with a particular emphasis on food access and dietary variety), and financial health.
Data Collection Mode:
CATI (Computer-assisted telephone interviewing)
Data Collection Instruments:
External Website:
Results Status:
Key Findings:
Round 1:
  • Over 25% of respondents say they never stayed home in the past week.
  • More than 50% of employed individuals have earned less pay than they did in a typical week before the government closed schools.
  • Over 50% of respondents say they have had to deplete savings to pay for food, healthcare, or other expenses since February 2020.
  • Over 35% of respondents say they have had to limit portion sizes at meal times or reduce the number of meals at least once in the past week.
  • 50% of respondents report their primary school children are spending time on education at home, and over 35% of respondents report their secondary school children are spending time on education at home. 
Round 2:
  • The proportion of respondents who said they felt their household was at risk of contracting COVID-19 increased by 10 percentage points, to 47 percent of respondents. For those who did not feel at risk, the majority (87 percent) of respondents still maintained that it was because they follow preventive measures. 
  • Seventy-five percent of respondents said that they would take the vaccine, and 76 percent said they would vaccinate their children. Sixty-nine percent of respondents agreed that vaccines were safe and effective.
  • One in five respondents indicated that they had no source of income for raising emergency funds of K800 within 30 days.
  • More than half (53 percent) of respondents indicated they had depleted their savings in order to cover basic household expenses like food or healthcare.
  • For the parents who are concerned about their children's education (14 percent), the majority (68 percent) are concerned about children falling behind in their education. 
  • Compared to a typical week in February 2020, women were 19 percentage points more likely than men to indicate “no earnings.”