Cash assistance in emergency settings has been shown to assist recipients in mitigating resulting economic fallout, for example through increased food security. The VAT Compensation, a new unconditional cash transfer in Colombia, assists 1 million low-income households in navigating the economic crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study Type:
Randomized Evaluation
Study Timeline:
June-November 2020
Results Status:
Results
Results:
The study highlights the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on households: for example, 57 percent of individuals who worked before the pandemic no longer had a job or remunerated activity by the time they were surveyed in June, and 58 percent reported having less to eat during the quarantine. The transfer had positive (albeit modest) impacts on household well-being in financial health and food access.6 The program also ushered in a record expansion of mobile money, with the use of the digital platform almost doubling between the first and second transfers and roughly 75 percent of recipients reporting use of the platform in November 2020. Nevertheless, there were many bottlenecks during the rollout, including delays with the app and connectivity issues. Financial Security: Beneficiaries of the VAT compensation were 15.5 percent less likely to sell their belongings to cover necessary expenses, and more than 90 percent of beneficiary households used the funds for food.  Beneficiaries were also more likely to invest in their children’s educations, and this effect was higher in urban areas. Food Security: Despite an increase of 6.1 percent in the likelihood of recipients purchasing food, researchers did not find that this translated to increased food security. Public Opinion and Community Cohesion: The transfer increased support for emergency assistance to households and firms during the crisis and promoted social cooperation.  Specifically, beneficiaries were 7.4 percent more supportive of the government’s social protection response to the pandemic, and were 3.4 percent more likely to contribute to their community through work (though not money) to support their community. Household health behaviors: Regardless of transfer modality, beneficiaries were 24 percent more likely to leave their home during quarantine to collect payment, which qualitative interviews suggest was driven by a need to “cash out” the payments and misunderstandings around how to retrieve the funds.  The VAT Compensation highlights the importance of developing digital payment ecosystems to facilitate easy deployment and efficacy of cash assistance during crises, such as improving infrastructure to improve connectivity in remote areas. In addition, results from the evaluation drive home the need for clearer communications about the program and financial education and literacy resources for newly banked clients.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated social and economic downturn are undermining children's educational and developmental outcomes, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Leveraging an on-going longitudinal study, researchers in Ghana conducted phone surveys and other research activities to measure the pandemic’s repercussions on children’s education and broader developmental outcomes. 

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
2020-2021
Results Status:
Results
Results:
Half of the schools offered remote learning activities. While private schools offered more personalized learning opportunities, public schools promoted government programs on television and radio. Fifty-three percent of public school teachers and 56 percent of private school teachers stated that their schools offered remote education activities. Private schools offered students more individualized distance learning materials and communicated directly with families through online classes or instant messages. Public schools were more likely to give assignments to their students through hard-copy materials and encourage participation in government educational television and radio programming. Private school students had more access to remote learning resources,including electricity (95 percent vs. 89 percent), school textbooks (82 percent vs. 72 percent), television (79 percent vs. 70 percent), reading materials (75 percent vs. 68 percent), and space for learning (66 percent vs. 54 percent). Private school students also received more support from their caregivers: twelve percent of private school students said they received no support from their caregivers during remote schooling, compared to 19 percent of public school students. The type of support also varied by type of school. For example, private school students were 13.8 percent more likely to have a tutor. Students with disabilities were likely more affected by school closures than other groups. Seventy-four percent of teachers were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the accessibility of TV and radio distance learning for children with disabilities. Likewise, 65 percent of caregivers indicated that either distance learning and/or education resources provided by the school were not accessible for children with disabilities. School closures impacted children's food security. On average, 30 percent of students claimed they experienced hunger in the last 30 days. The effects were greater among students with low socioeconomic status, among public school students, and among boys. Additionally, 6 percent of public school children missed daily lunches delivered through the Ghana School Feeding program. Private school students and students with high socioeconomic status had higher test scores at the end of the school closure period compared with their public-school counterparts. Even after controlling for previous numeracy and literacy scores, private school children outperformed their public school peers by about one-third of a standard deviation. Likewise, students from high socioeconomic status households experienced similar increases in both literacy and numeracy scores. Children from food-insecure households had significantly lower scores than those from food-secure households. Further results on the child and parent direct assessment are forthcoming.

How do cash transfers support newly-designated vulnerable populations and informal workers during an economic crisis? To help answer these questions, researchers studied  the effect of Ingreso Solidario (Solidarity Income), a new unconditional cash transfer in Colombia that was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis
Study Timeline:
2020
Results Status:
Results
Results:
The study found that Ingreso Solidario increased the probability that eligible households maintained an income source during the pandemic and did not disincentivize labor market participation. For households who experienced large labor market shocks (e.g. that lost a majority of their income) during the pandemic, Ingreso Solidario played a particularly important role in allowing households to maintain a source of income.     Overall, the study did not find effects of the program on food consumption. However, for those households that experienced large labor market shocks, the transfers mitigated more than 50 percent of associated drops in food consumption.  Results also showed that the transfers increased the probability of spending on health, such as cleaning supplies, and education, such as school supplies.  Researchers also found that the transfer increased household expenditures on education, and increased the probability that school-aged children spent at least four hours on virtual schooling activities by 11 percentage points. The program also increased the time students spent on education between 27-46 minutes, which represents 9-15 percent more than students from comparison households. However, researchers did not find any effects on the amount of time parents spent with their children on their studies. The team did not find any effects on the probability of being a victim of domestic violence (a concern during the pandemic with lockdowns and increased stresses on families), financial stress, or households’ primary category of concern.  Finally, Ingreso Solidario substantially increased the opening of bank accounts by 14 percentage points (equivalent to 56 percent of the comparison group), and also increased beneficiaries’ likelihood of using digital tools for financial transactions by 7.7 percentage points. While the authors note that usage of bank accounts and digital tools, relative to the proportion that opened new accounts, had a relatively minor effect, this is still an encouraging foundation for expanding financial inclusion and literacy in Colombia. Overall, the authors note that Ingreso Solidario is a successful emergency assistance program, and insights from the program may be used to inform further knowledge on social protection programs.

Money sent home by migrants working abroad is an important source of income, particularly in low and middle-income countries. How do pandemic closures and restrictions affect migrants' remittances? Researchers built on a previous study to conduct two rounds of phone surveys between Filipino migrants in the UAE and their families in the Philippines.

Partners:
Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis
Study Timeline:
2020-2021
Results Status:
Results
Results:
Of the migrants interviewed, 43 percent said their monthly income fell compared to February 2020. On average, migrants report a decline of 55 percent of monthly income. Using regression analyses, researchers found that migrants who experienced negative income shocks due to the COVID 19 pandemic passed on some of this negative shock to their family members at home. However, the decrease in remittances was lower than the total decline in income, between a tenth and a quarter of income losses.  The research team also examined whether remittances would increase in the face of the economic difficulties faced by households at home. The results showed that the economic conditions of households did not affect the remittances received, as migrants kept their remittances to households in the Philippines relatively stable, except for the decrease in income described above. The ability to label remittances for specific purposes, via Padalapp, does not affect the relationship between remittances and income. More results forthcoming.

In this study, we consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on family formation and dissolution. We use national microdata covering all marriages and divorces in Mexico and an event-study design. Our findings indicate that over March through December of 2020, marriage rates declined by 54% and divorce rates by 43%. By the end of 2020, divorce rates recover back to baseline levels, but marriage rates remain 30% below the 2017-2019 baseline level.

Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis, Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
January-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Our findings indicate that over March through December of 2020, marriage rates declined by 54% and divorce rates by 43%. By the end of 2020, divorce rates recover back to baseline levels, but marriage rates remain 30% below the 2017-2019 baseline level. Overall, our findings indicate that marital dissolutions quickly recovered (6 months into the pandemic), but family formation may be delayed or even permanently reduced.

In this paper, we investigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on fertility and newborn health in Mexico. We use national administrative data and an event-study design to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fertility and delivery characteristics. Our findings suggest that Mexico’s fertility rate declines temporarily for conceptions that would have occurred during the stay-at-home order.

Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis, Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
January-June 2021
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Our findings suggest that Mexico’s fertility rate declines temporarily for conceptions that would have occurred during the stay-at-home order. Initially, the fertility rate falls by 10% but quickly rebounds and returns to original levels by May 2021. Still, the overall fertility rate remains 3% lower over the post-pandemic period. Similarly, newborn health deteriorates during the pan- demic. Instances of low birth weight and prematurity substantially increase, with both remaining elevated over the entire post-pandemic period.

Using an individual-level experiment with male and female caregivers of young children in El Salvador, we evaluate the impact of a free digital stress management and positive parenting intervention. We find that, for males, the intervention increased stress and anxiety and lowered caregiver-child interactions. The effect on males is concentrated among the poorer and those residing with a partner. In contrast, women’s mental health was not impacted.

Study Type:
Randomized Evaluation
Study Timeline:
2021
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
For males, the intervention increased stress and anxiety and lowered caregiver-child interactions. The effect on males is concentrated among the poorer and those residing with a partner. In contrast, women’s mental health was not impacted. Yet, their use of physical violence toward children decreased by 18 percent. Our results align with theories linking economic deprivation and family structure to caregivers’ cognitive overload and mental health.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Results Status:
Results
Results:
While schools increased student support during the COVID 19 pandemic, the results revealed growing gender gaps. Female adolescents reported less support for their continued learning from schools and parents, less access to learning materials, more household and care responsibilities, and a sharper decline in higher education ambitions.  Researchers also found evidence of disparities among urban and rural households. For example, adolescents in rural areas had less access to the media and other channels that supported distance learning. Read more details here.   The results also revealed an increased involvement of out-of-school adolescents in paid work during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those from poor households. However, young people looking for jobs reported unavailability of jobs or being underqualified as major constraints in their search. Across contexts, adolescents exhibited very low involvement in vocational training or skill-building programs. Read more details here.   These findings point to the need for targeted education policies to mitigate growing inequalities in learning outcomes and to support skills training programs to support young people's transition to paid work. 

This project explores changes in childcare responsibilities as a possible channel through which the COVID-19 crisis has affected women’s labor. We use COVID-19 school closure policies in Kenya as an exogenous shock to estimate the impact of changes in household childcare needs on adults' labor, leveraging the partial school reopening of schools for students sitting national exams only for identification.

Study Type:
Randomized Evaluation
Study Timeline:
March-October 2021
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
This paper uses COVID-19 school closure policies in Kenya as an exogenous shock to estimate the impact of changes in household childcare needs on adult labor supply. We use nationally-representative bi-monthly panel data in a difference-in-differences design to compare changes after schools partly reopened in Kenya in October 2020 for households with a child in grade 4 or 8—the grades eligible to return to school after the partial reopening—against households with a child in adjacent grades. Having a child eligible to return increases adults’ labor supply in the weeks after reopening. Increases are concentrated on the intensive margin of hours and particularly in household agriculture hours, consistent with labor in this activity being more flexible. We find no effects on the extensive margin of labor participation or on wage employment, which may take longer to adjust to a childcare shock. Impacts are not significantly different by sex of the adult: though women have greater responsibility for childcare in Kenya, men also contribute and both increased childcare hours during school closures. Effects are driven by changes in household childcare burdens and in child agricultural labor when a child returns to school, and are larger in less wealthy households. The impact of partial reopening on work hours corresponds to over 30% of the fall in average hours in the first few months after COVID-19 cases were detected, indicating that school closures are responsible for a significant share of the reduction in labor supply during the pandemic. Large labor effects of a potentially expensive childcare availability shock suggest that policies making childcare more available and affordable could have positive impacts on adult labor supply in Kenya.

 

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
October 2020-September 2021
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Surveys from October 2020-February 2021 found the following:
  • Due to Covid-19, wage workers in Morocco and Tunisia have lost jobs, been temporarily laid off, and experienced reduced hours, lower wages and delays in pay. 
  • The impact has been minimal for public sector workers, but substantial in the private sector, especially for informal and irregular workers. Farmers, the self-employed and employers have experienced particularly sharp decreases in their revenues.
  • Although some workers and families are receiving government support, many are falling through a sparse safety net and experiencing large income decreases. Additional social protection and better targeting will be needed to cushion the impacts of the pandemic.
  • Between November 2020 and February 2021, there were some improvements in labour force participation and employment in Morocco and Tunisia, as well as falls in unemployment. Wage workers in all four countries have experienced layoffs, and reduced hours and earnings, particularly in the informal sector.
  • Although the majority of employers and the self-employed report that their businesses are open and operating, hours are reduced and most report lower revenues compared with 2019. Half of households report that their income has decreased; in most countries, the poor have experienced the largest income losses.
  • In most countries, social protection measures have reached only a small fraction of the population, a declining share from November 2020 to February 2021, and social protection systems remain poorly targeted.

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.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
April-May 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
  • 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.

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.

Researchers:
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
July-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
  • 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.

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.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
  A phone survey conducted with youth from Bihar and Jharkhand in June and July 2020 to assess how the nationwide lockdown had affected inter-state labor migrants found that:
  • 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.

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. 

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
April-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
 
  • 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.

Partners:
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
May-September 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
 
  • 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.

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).

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
Results:
Full results forthcoming
Key Findings:
 
  • 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.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
Results:
Final results forthcoming
Key Findings:
Round 4 Key Findings (October 2020):
  • 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.

 

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-November 2020
Results Status:
Results
Results:
Full results forthcoming
Key Findings:
  July 2020 Key Findings:
  • 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.
August 2020 Key Findings:
  • 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).

Study Type:
Pilot
Study Timeline:
September 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
  •  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.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
April 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
  • 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.

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