From April-May 2020, researchers surveyed 7,338 beneficiaries of two government safety-net transfer programs in Bangladesh – the Old Age Allowance and the Widow Allowance – supported under the Department of Social Services.
- Beneficiaries of these programs suffered significantly during the COVID-19 induced mobility restrictions, with 51% of respondents forced to reduce medication consumption and 22% forced to reduce food consumption (based on a one-week recall period of the rapid phone survey).
- The median household reported having earned zero income in the two weeks prior to the survey. While the timely payment of benefits is crucial during crises of such scale, 41% of beneficiaries reported not being paid the full benefit amount, despite such payments being due before the COVID lockdown.
- The study's estimates also demonstrate that those who had access to digital safety-net payments were more likely to receive transfers timely and suffered lower consumption and income vulnerability.
- These findings highlight the importance of regular and timely disbursement of safety-net payments, to promote food security and basic consumption for vulnerable populations. Widespread adoption of digital financial services, such as mobile money, could work as a viable platform to ensure that payments are transferred on time to safety-net beneficiaries.
Governments and educational organizations worldwide are trying to quickly adapt to the unprecedented circumstances created by the pandemic, by developing or scaling up distance education modalities to continue delivering educational content to students and maintain students’ connection to formal education. However, the effectiveness of these tools is largely unknown.
The overall objective of LwC-Africa is to generate new evidence and policy guidelines on how African citizens respond to and cope with the profound global shock to their lives and livelihoods caused by COVID-19.
Mitigating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and response has been identified as a priority by programmers and practitioners. There is risk of increased Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Myanmar linked to the pandemic, but there remain evidence gaps on how best to mitigate GBV risk within the context of COVID-19.
In order to understand the real-time impact of the pandemic on vulnerable households in Bangladesh, Innovations for Poverty Action, in partnership with the Underprivileged Children’s Education Programme (UCEP), conducted a two-round survey across Bangladesh in July and December 2020, to provide a detailed look into households’ well-being at two distinct points in the pandemic.
- Already vulnerable households have faced significant economic hardships due to the pandemic, which has also jeopardized food security. These changes have been accompanied by changes in women’s decision-making power and increased their reported incidence of intimate partner violence.
- By December 2020, economic insecurity has lessened but negative mental health impacts on mothers persist.
- Most children (71%) are continuing educational activities in some way. Few watch government-provided lessons, and fewer use online resources. Instead, those that can, rely on the help of family members, neighbors, and paid tutors.
- This persistent negative economic impact highlights the need for continued assistance for vulnerable households, which may also have cross-cutting benefits on other dimensions of household wellbeing.
- Continued economic hardship may also pose a challenge for the return to in-person schooling. Additionally, the wide variation in educational supports available to students suggests that policymakers should anticipate substantial variation in the distribution of learning losses, when developing outreach efforts or remedial programs.
- The pandemic appears to have harmed women’s mental health and increased intimate partner violence, which makes the need for strengthening systems to support women’s mental health and reduce intimate partner violence even more pressing.
This study uses a cluster-level randomized controlled trial to evaluate the causal impact of the VEA program across 332 rural villages. VEA is a national community-led water, sanitation, and hygeine program in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although VEA has been operational since 2008, the study focused on more recent activities; as the program was implemented in these villages in the later phase of the program (throughout 2019).
The nationwide lockdown announced by the Indian government on March 24, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 has had a tremendous effect on the Indian economy. Labor migrants are among the most affected: usually employed in informal, low-paid jobs, they are now without work, with no social protection, no assistance from previous employers, and no network to fall back to in their 'host’ states.
- Almost half (45 percent) of the respondents who resided outside of their home state in the pre-lockdown period had returned to their home state.
- 32 percent of the respondents who had a salaried job in the pre-lockdown period had lost their jobs. Of those still employed, 37 percent were on leave, mostly unpaid.
- 30 percent of the migrants who were still employed received support from their employers and a few withdrew money from their Provident Fund (social security) account.
- 51 percent of migrants received government assistance, mainly food supplies. The Aapda program of the Bihar government (the state's disaster compensation scheme) reached 61 percent of migrants.
- 31 percent of the interstate migrants did not receive any support from any source. As a result, 31 percent reported that their daily food intake was less than usual.
- At the time of surveying, the respondents reported higher levels of anxiety and lower levels of life satisfaction than in the pre-lockdown period.
- Among the migrants who returned home, 68 percent of male migrants wanted to re-migrate, but only 37 percent of female migrants did.
In India, COVID-19 and the resulting national lockdown has led to a public health and economic crisis. Safe behaviors such as frequent handwashing and physical distancing are an important means for stopping the transmission of the virus. In response to the pandemic-induced economic shock to households, the Government of India and state governments in the country have announced various social protection schemes to help poor households withstand the adverse effects of the lockdown.
Using administrative data of visitors to Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics (primary health care centers), researchers conducted surveys with around 1,200 residents of Delhi every 7-10 days. The questionnaire was brief and focused on food and income security, awareness of and access to government relief schemes as well as knowledge of public health directives.
Given the particular vulnerability of elderly populations in the pandemic, due to both heightened health risks and lockdown-induced isolation, an initiative to collect COVID-19 related data grew within the Tamil Nadu Aging Panel Survey being conducted under the institutional partnershipbetween J-PAL South Asia and the Government of Tamil Nadu to study the long-term well-being of elderly individuals.
- Social Protection: The Government of Tamil Nadu launched two schemes for ration card-holders in the state: (1) Free rations from April to July, doubling the rice entitlement; (2) A cash transfer of Rs.1000 (about USD 14) per ration card for April and May The schemes reached most, although not all intended recipients.
- Food security and nutrition: At the start of the lockdown in March 2020, the elderly faced sizeable health and food-security challenges: nearly 50 percent of respondents reported not having enough resources for food in the next week. In subsequent survey rounds, it was found that the number of elderly unable to buy medicine or see a doctor since April had fallen. Food insecurity, however, had risen and was high particularly among the elderly living alone.
- Health knowledge and awareness: During the April phone surveys, 1.4 percent of the elderly reported having COVID-19 symptoms. Of the elderly reporting symptoms, nearly 80 percent did nothing or self-medicated. No respondent reported calling the government helpline in April; only 0.1 percent reported having called the government helpline in July. Awareness of COVID-19 spread, symptoms, and precautions was moderate in April. In July, awareness had grown among the elderly living alone, presumably as information percolates through networks.
- Mental health and well-being:
- Social connection: At the beginning of the lockdown, social interaction was low for the elderly, both in-person and remote. In April, the elderly who were living alone were less likely to have regular phone calls. By July, both regular in-person visits and calls had picked up moderately for the elderly living alone and elderly living with others.
- Loneliness and depression: In April, the elderly living alone were about twice as likely to indicate feelings of loneliness and depression than those living with others in their households. These indicators reflect lower loneliness and depression than those at the baseline survey. This may be due to the nature of the COVID survey (shorter and via the phone), which is less conducive to building a rapport between surveyors and respondents. As the lockdown progressed, all elderly (those living alone and those living with others) became far more likely to express feelings of loneliness and depression. This was especially true for the elderly living alone, 32 percent of whom reported often feeling lonely when asked in July.
India’s COVID-19 lockdown is widely believed to have disrupted critical health services, but its effect on non-COVID health outcomes is largely unknown. Comparing mortality trends among dialysis patients in the eight months around the lockdown with the previous year, researchers document a 64 percent increase in mortality between March and May 2020 and an estimated 22-25 percent total excess mortality between April and July 2020, the first four months after the lockdown was imposed.
- 63 percent of patients experienced a disruption to their dialysis care due to the lockdown. 42 percent of patients reported being unable to reach their hospitals due to travel barriers, 15 percent found the hospital was closed or refused to provide care, 23 percent had to switch to a different hospital from the one they typically visit, 17 percent could not obtain necessary medicines, and 11 percent faced increased hospital charges. Monthly dialysis visits decreased by 6 percent between March and April.
- Monthly mortality (the share of people alive who die in a month) increased sharply from 2.67 percent in March to 4.37 percent in May (a 64 percent jump) after a month of exposure to the lockdown and 3.23 percent in June, after which it returned to pre-lockdown levels. Overall, total excess mortality among dialysis patients between April and July 2020 was 22-25 percent.
- Disruptions to care are strongly positively associated with morbidity, hospitalization, and mortality after the imposition of the lockdown, providing strong evidence that increased mortality was driven by disruptions to dialysis care. The surge in mortality was not driven by confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
- Women and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups experienced larger increases in mortality. Disadvantaged socioeconomic groups and those living farther away from a hospital were more likely to experience disruptions to their care, which may explain their worse outcomes. Women experienced similar levels of disruptions and morbidity to men, but were less likely to be hospitalized following disruptions, which may have contributed to their higher mortality.
Researchers studied the employment status and aspirations of youth who had joined Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in Tamil Nadu over a period of three years (2017 to 2019). The cohort, including graduates, dropouts and current students, were asked questions about their principal activity in the month of March 2020 (before the COVID-19 pandemic), changes in their status during the lockdown period (March - July 2020), and their work aspirations for the near future.
The Feed the Future Myanmar Agriculture Policy Support Activity (MAPSA) is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded activity, led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), that seeks to improve governance in the agricultural sector in Myanmar. MAPSA partnered with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) to conduct six rounds of Rural-Urban Food Security Survey (RUFSS).
- COVID-19 has had strong negative impacts on income-based poverty among both rural and urban households. Losses of jobs or other income have been the main impacts.
- Twenty percent of respondents reported their household earned no income in June.
- USD 1.90/day poverty in the sample increased by 27 percentage points from January to June.
- Falling into poverty was strongly associated with loss of employment and recent childbirth.
- The poor frequently coped with income losses through loans or other credit, although between 15 and 20 percent of households also reduced their food expenditures.
- Self-reported food insecurity experiences and inadequate dietary diversity among mothers were much more common in the urban sample, despite the rural sample being poorer.
- In urban areas, one-quarter of respondents were worried about food quantity and quality, and one-third had inadequate diets.
- Self-reported losses of income and jobs were strong predictors of food insecurity and inadequately diverse diets.
- Mothers who had given birth in the past month had much less diverse diets than pregnant women.
The Feed the Future Myanmar Agriculture Policy Support Activity (MAPSA) is a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded activity, led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in partnership with Michigan State University (MSU), that seeks to improve governance in the agricultural sector in Myanmar.
- COVID-19 prevention measures are at their highest level since June. Almost all COVID-19 prevention measures have been applied in a larger share of communities than in any of the previous survey rounds. In nearly all communities, respondents reported restrictions on gatherings, such as weddings or other social activities, and mandates on wearing face masks outside the home. Many communities also implemented measures that interfere with employment and income generating activities; 70 percent of communities reported that residents cannot leave the village/ward for work or trade and 76 percent reported that food vendors and traders are not allowed to enter the village.
- Community respondents perceive a quarter of households to be extremely poor. Respondents to the October round of the survey reported that on average 25 percent of households in their communities are extremely poor, which is similar to levels reported in September (27 percent), but much higher than was reported in the June/July (17 percent) and August (11 percent) rounds. Reduced income due to less work or lower wages for non-farm workers and less income from non-farm businesses are mentioned as the primary reasons for the high prevalence of extremely poor households in the most recent round.
- Cash-based assistance reaches 90 percent of communities. In June/July, government assistance came mostly in the form of food, but since August has changed to predominantly non-food assistance. Twenty percent of communities reported receiving non-food assistance in June/July. Respondents reported in October that on average 90 percent of communities received cash or non-food assistance from the government, a level similar to that reported in September.
- Agricultural production and marketing, particularly sales of agricultural commodities, continues to face challenges. One-third of the surveyed communities reported that the production of farmers in their community were lower than normal in October and September, compared with 48 percent of communities in June/July and 42 percent in August. Communities reported that bad weather and pests were the reasons for lower production. In October, 48 percent of communities also reported disruptions to agricultural sales, mainly due to closures of town/city markets, low output prices, insufficient traders or brokers, and other COVID-19 related mobility restrictions. This is the highest share of communities reporting disruptions since the start of the telephone survey in June/July.
- Barriers to healthcare facility access and delays to healthcare seeking. Respondents from 11 percent of communities reported being unable to visit healthcare facilities when they wanted to, and respondents from 25 percent of communities reported postponing visits to healthcare professionals out of fear of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, 19 percent of respondents mentioned knowing people in their community who had felt ill and would normally have visited a healthcare provider but chose not to do so due to fear of being suspected of carrying COVID-19. Fortunately, fewer villages reported medication scarcity than was the case in the June/July survey round.
- Strikingly, 60 percent of mills are anticipating a revenue drop of at least 30 percent this year compared to 2019. Only 3 percent of mills are expecting an increase in revenue.
- Just over half of the mills interviewed experienced disruptions in selling milled rice and in buying paddy. However, those impacts have lessened considerably, as only 15 percent of millers reported experiencing those disruptions in the past 30 days.
- Almost all mills regarded byproduct sales as important to their business. Roughly half reported no changes in byproduct prices compared to 2019, but one-quarter reported price increases, while the other quarter reported decreases. Mills from Ayeyarwady have been more negatively impacted by lower byproduct prices than elsewhere.
- For most mills, both paddy purchase and rice sales prices are now slightly higher than the 2019 average. Interestingly, prices increased more for low-quality varieties than for high-quality varieties. Margins for low-quality varieties have increased relative to 2019, while they have decreased for high-quality varieties. Thus, mills producing larger quantities of high-quality rice now may be adversely affected by lower margins.
- 44 percent of rice millers reported challenges buying paddy and 26 percent reported disruptions to rice sales. With the timing of the survey in August, these challenges are unlikely to have been driven by the transportation restrictions that were a challenge earlier in the monsoon season.
- 71 percent of rice mills were using some safety measures, but adoption of social distancing was near zero and use of face coverings decreased 19 percentage points from July.
- 46 percent of mills reported lower daily throughput compared to the same time in 2019. The median decrease among those reporting lower throughput was 30 percent.
- Milling margins increased on average in the August survey compared to July.
- 38 percent of mills applied for new loans in the thirty days prior to interview. However, just 57 percent of those who applied were successful.
This study, led by the Asociacion Profamilia, includes the answers to an online nonprobabilistic survey (Solidarity II) carried out between April 16 and 25 and September 2020 (n=1735). It aims to estimate the changes in behavior and immediate expectations at the end of the quarantine period and compares its results with a survey performed at the beginning of the lockdown (Solidarity I).
- Among the most common concerns are that a vaccine or treatment against the coronavirus will not arrive soon in Colombia (79%), that a vaccine or treatment will not be developed soon (79%), and that when the vaccine arrives in Colombia it will not be accessible (74%). 50% think it is likely they will receive the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.
- 62% receive information about COVID-19 through social networks, 55% through official websites and 51% through television.
- 43% mention that in their neighborhood, community, group or town they have taken measures or there have been public health/communications campaigns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- 25% say that they would like to support local communities in responding to the outbreak.
- 82% accept that most children will continue to be educated at home, and 85% believe that parents should choose whether or not to send their children to school in person.
- 95% agree that people should be forced to wear masks outside the home.
- 90% accept that neighborhoods, localities or municipalities experiencing outbreaks should have stricter restrictions than the country at large.
- 86% accept that employees can choose whether they work in the office or do their work from home.
- 44% think that people will be able to get the coronavirus vaccine in a year or year and a half.
- 26% think that life will return to "normal" in two or more years.
This study assessed implications of the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic on household income and food security in two East African countries – Kenya and Uganda, using online survey data from 442 respondents. Results show that more than two-thirds of the respondents experienced income shocks due to the COVID-19 crisis. Food security and dietary quality worsened, as measured by the food insecurity experience scale and the frequency of consumption of nutritionally-rich foods.
- More than two-thirds of households experienced income shocks and worsened food security.
- Food security outcomes were worse among the income poor and households dependent on labour income.
- Labour-dependent and income poor households employed food-based coping strategies.
- Membership in savings groups was more likely to mitigate member’s income shocks than NSSF.
This paper considers whether the COVID-19 stay-at-home order affected crimes targeting women. We use national municipal-level crime data from Mexico’s National Public Security System, which reports sexual crimes, lapses in alimony, domestic violence, and femicides. We track monthly changes in crime using an event-study design. Our results show three main patterns. First, lapses in alimony, sexual crimes, and domestic violence follow a U-shaped trend.
- Lapses in alimony, sexual crimes, and domestic violence follow a U-shaped trend. Each crime declined and then rose back to their pre-COVID levels.
- Femicides, the most violent crime against women, remained constant during the pandemic.
- Femicides declined in municipalities with alcohol sales prohibition.
How does the outbreak of COVID-19 affect livelihoods and food security in rural Liberia? COVID-19 is not only a direct threat to health but has also disrupted domestic food supply chains, food production and formal and informal labour income in many developing countries. In an earlier study, researchers compared the impact of large-scale agricultural investments (LSAIs) on livelihoods, i.e.
The study uses administrative data for 35 million private-sector jobs in Mexico to investigate the differences between the Great Lockdown (GL) and the Great Recession (GR). Using an event-study design, researchers observe that the GL produced more loss of employment than the GR. The researchers then document five heterogeneous facts. First, men and women were similarly affected by each crisis.
- Men and women were similarly affected by each crisis.
- Both recessions impacted the youngest workers (15 to 29 years old), but the Great Lockdown also negatively impacted those over 60 years.
- The Great Recession produced more job loss in large companies (over 1000 workers), while the effects of the Great Lockdown were greatest in small and medium-sized companies.
- In both crises, individuals were most affected at the extremes of the income distribution.
- The construction industry was detrimentally affected in both the Great Lockdown and Great Recession. The hospitality-focused service sector was more impacted in the Great Lockdown than the Great Recession.