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.
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.
The research team has collected data on the impacts of COVID-19 as experienced by customers of social enterprises around the world. This includes customers of off-grid energy companies (thanks to support from GOGLA and the Rockefeller Foundation) and, clients of microfinance institutions (thanks to support from SPTF and their members) and numerous other social enterprises who have agreed to contribute their data anonymously towards this aggregation.
This project tracks on a monthly basis the impacts of COVID-19 on diverse households across five urban townships and across Magway Region in Myanmar. The core survey instrument will focus on six key areas: employment, food security, migration, access to support and services, lifestyle and behavioral changes (including WASH) and household finances.
- 80 percent of households reduced meals (size or number) in 7 days pre-survey, mostly due to reduced income
- Half of households have taken new loans, mostly for survival/purchase of food
- 20 percent of households have received any government support (food or cash)
- Almost 70 percent of SME owners are operating at half or less capacity. 30 percent of SME owners have closed entirely (higher in COVID-19 hotspots)
- More than 90 percent of respondents report using facemasks, washing hands, and reducing gatherings
- 54 percent of respondents have taken on new debts, mostly for survival
COVID-19 has devastated the livelihoods of millions of people across the globe. To get a snapshot of the effect of COVID-19 on BRAC’s program participants, BRAC International (BI) conducts two rapid assessments in nine BI countries between the first and third weeks of April 2020. A total 1,019 respondents in the first round and 2,475 respondents in the second round were interviewed over the phone using a short and structured questionnaire.
The coronavirus pandemic imposes not only a global health threat but also an economic shutdown in many countries. Such a shock poses a particularly large risk for the poor in developing countries who often have highly vulnerable income sources, limited savings, and a lack of adequate safety nets to fall back on.