• 60 Decibels Logo
  • DFID

While only time can tell what the long-term effects of COVID-19 will be on agricultural supply chains and global food systems, the moment to shape our response is now. Through a project that has been generously funded by FCDO’s Research and Evidence Division and MercyCorps AgriFin Accelerator, 60 Decibels will survey 500 Kenyan farmers every month between June 2020 and June 2021 to understand their experiencing of living through the pandemic and the support they will find useful.

Researchers:
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June 2020- June 2021
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
April 2021 update:
  • Nine in ten farming households report being worse off due to the pandemic. 26% of farmers have lost at least one source of income compared to the same time last year. While financial stress has increased over time, it appears to have stabilized somewhat since October 2020. Wellbeing improved from 48% ‘much worse’ in December 2020 to 47% in February; ‘slightly worse’ increased from 40% in December 2020 to 44% in February 2021.
  • The use of savings and more extreme coping strategies have begun to increase from December 2020 to February 2021 (use of savings: 56% to 71%; sold or pawned asset: 24% to 39%; borrowed money: 32% to 34%), this could be indicative of farmers running out of financial reserves, increasing future financial distress. And while prices of inputs and food have stabilized, the prices farmers receive for crops continues to decrease, putting future earnings at risk.
  • 70% say essential inputs like fertilizers and seeds are more expensive than normal. Over 51% purchased less inputs and 51% hired less labour in the last two weeks. Overwhelmingly, the reason for these reductions was cost. Farmers want to sell more but are unable to. 8 out of 10 farmers who sold less because of Covid would like to sell more but are unable. 1 from the other 2 sold less by choice (for example, saving food for their family) and 1 sold less for different reasons.
  • Digital means can be further leveraged to support farmers recovery. Despite the potential of digital means, only 36% of farmers increased their use. In fact, 25% decreased their use, primarily because they don’t have funds to pay digital or lacked access to a device. Top support farmers are seeking: affordable inputs, access to market - information, transport, buyers, cash. Leniency in existing and new credit would be a welcome respite too.
  • Women were less confident in the next month (30% of females were ‘very confident’ in next month vs. 35% of males), and sold less than male farmers (22% of females sold ‘much less’ produce vs. 19% of males ). When discussing what support they need to increase sales, the top request from women was connection to new buyers (72%) and market information (72%) while men ask for market information (68%). Women asked for cash at a higher proportion than men (44% of females asking for cash vs. 39% of males). Researchers also noted key differences in digital usage, which may affect how female farmers are accessing information and coordinating livelihood activities through digital methods.
October 2020 update:
  • Nine in ten farming households report being worse off due to the pandemic. Financial stress is increasing over time.
  • More respondents are reporting a) severe worsening of financial wellbeing - 54% said their situation was ‘much worse’ in September compared to 34% in June, b) loss of income sources - 47% reported losing a source of income in September compared to 31% in June, and c) greater reliance on low risk and stringent coping strategies - use of savings has grown from 59% in June to 80% in September, while the sale of an asset has grown from 11% to 38%.
  • Relaxing of national curfew has meant farmers are making fewer adjustments to their core farming activities - hiring labour, purchasing inputs, harvesting and selling produce. In particular, hired labour has improved from 94% of farmers reporting a decrease in June to only 45% in September. The adjustment that has persisted is the sale of produce - 77% of farmers decreased sales in June and 57% continued to make this adjustment in September.
  • The majority are optimistic for the short rain season. However, the extent of confidence is waning as the rains approach. Only 23% of farmers are ‘very confident’ that they will be able to undertake farm activities as usual next month, compared to 57% in July.
  • Cash remains the top requested support month-on-month as coping strategies get exhausted and financial strife persists. Emergency financial loans could also help farmers cope today and support recovery in the future.
  • Access to affordable inputs. 72% say essential inputs are dearer than usual. Farmers are facing a difficult choice: either purchase less inputs and put their harvest at risk, or purchase at the higher price and risk losing money this season. Localized delivery of, and lenient loans for, high quality inputs would help farming households cope with COVID-19 shocks.
  • Majority of farmers want to sell more but are unable to. Six in ten farmers sold less produce to cope with COVID-19 but only two actively made the choice to do so. The other four wished they could sell more but did not have the option to do so. Farmers are seeking connection to new buyers, market information and transportation support.
  • Digital means are currently underutilized as a support and recovery tool. Despite the potential of digital platforms to provide financial liquidity, increase access to agricultural information, and increase market access, only 36% of farmers (40% women and 32% men) have increased their use of digital products during this pandemic. In fact, 23% decreased their use. Top barriers included farmers not having access to a device, limited trust in digital products, lack of funds to purchase internet/airtime bundles and network-related issues.

Part 1: Aims at generating evidence on how young firms and young workers are coping with the current situation. We target 720 alumni of accredited Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) in Uganda who graduated 2 to 4 years ago, whom, as of January 2020 were: young entrepreneurs (22%), formal workers (44%) and informal workers (24%) in core manufacturing and service sectors in Uganda (plumbing, welding, carpentry, tailoring, etc.).

Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis
Study Timeline:
May 2020-June 2021
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
April 2021 Policy Brief (June 2020 Survey):
  • School closures widen pre-existing inequalities in access to schooling. Forced by the school dorms’ closure in late March, the students moved back to their family home. There, many had to adjust to inadequate learning environments: 52% reported having worse access to internet, 39% worse access to power and 52% less space to study and concentrate. These shares are significantly higher among agricultural households, particularly for those who rely on subsistence agriculture as their main source of income.
  • School closures likely widen pre-existing gaps in access to labor market opportunities. Since the beginning of the lockdown, over 30% of the students in our sample had worked, mostly for pay and in the sector in which they were being trained while at the VTIs. Even though there emerges no difference between female and male students when it comes to time spent studying as well as contacts with classmates and teachers, less than half as many of the female students as male students were involved in any work activity (18% vs. 40%).
  • Shared ad hoc tools to assess learning losses and remedial education. The heterogeneity in learnings material and time devoted to schooling portend heterogenous learnings losses across students. New standardized learning assessment tools would be developed to allow the government to direct resources in a targeted manner to those most in need. Remedial education should be provided to those students who have fallen behind and should be offered at no cost as these students are likely to belong to the poorest households and areas.
This study is a spin-off of the Meet Your Future Project, an ongoing RCT designed to investigate the relative importance of several barriers to quality employment that students face when transitioning from the educational sector into labor markets characterized by high levels of informality. Ev- idence on medium and long run effects of the school closure will be available in the near future.

COVID-19 is likely to differentially impact educational access in low-income countries. First, this study provides high-frequency descriptive data on schooling attitudes, home environment, and at-home learning for a representative sample of Busia County 8th Graders. Researchers conducted a phone survey of 2,973 8th grade students and their parents from 198 schools across Busia County. This is a key age group, as 8th grade marks the transition from primary to secondary school.

Researchers:
Study Type:
Randomized Evaluation, Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
February 2020-May 2022
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Results from the descriptive survey are outlined in CEGA's blog post and as follows:
  •  Students are learning at home, but spending much less time studying at home than they would at school: 98 percent of students studied at home in the week before the interview, and spent 2.2 hours studying per day.
  • Accessible EdTech platforms (radio, television, and SMS) successfully reach students where more expensive options fail: 67 percent of students used at least one EdTech platform in the last week. Radio is by far the most popular platform, with 44 percent of students listening to radio lessons in the previous week. This is followed by television and SMS lessons, with 26 percent and 18 percent utilizing each of these services, respectively.
  • Richer students benefit more from EdTech due to greater technology access: Students from higher income households are significantly more likely to access one or more of the EdTech platforms. This is driven by the fact that students from higher income families are 27 percent more likely to use the television to watch lessons than students from lower income families.
  • IPA

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.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-July 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
 
  • 62% of respondents say they stayed home most days or every day in the last week.
  • 64% of employed individuals have spent fewer hours working for pay/running a business/helping on a family business than they did in a typical week before the government closed schools.
  • 89% of households have received support from the government in response to COVID-19. Of those that are receiving support, 97% are receiving food and 45% are receiving cash.
  • 26% of respondents say they have had to limit portion sizes at meal times more than once in the past week.
  • Respondents cited lack of access to internet, devices, and learning materials as major barriers children will face if schools do not open in August and instead offer distance learning.

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.

Partners:
Ministry of General Education, Zambia; Ministry of Health, Zambia
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
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.”
  • IPA Logo

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.

Partners:
Rwanda Education Board
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-November 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Round 1:
  • More than 70% of respondents say they feel their household is at risk of contracting COVID-19. For those who don’t feel at risk, almost 30% report it is because they follow preventive measures.
  • More than 50% of households say they have had to reduce food consumption in the past week.
  • Almost 80% of respondents say they have had to deplete savings to pay for food, healthcare, or other expenses since February 2020.
  • 80% of employed individuals have earned less pay than they did in a typical week before the government closed schools.
  • Households report that 80% of children in primary and secondary school are spending time on education at home since schools were closed.
Round 2:
  • 78 percent of respondents report feeling at risk of contracting COVID-19, a slight increase from Round 1 (75 percent).
  • A smaller share of those who reported receiving government transfers in Round 1 reports reducing portions or skipping meals. Across rounds, the share of respondents that had to limit portions at mealtimes decreased from 50 percent to 44 percent.
  • 14 percent of respondents could not come up with Fr35,000 within 30 days. One fifth of female respondents could not come up with Fr35,000 within 30 days.
  • There was a 7 percentage point increase in the share of respondents working since Round 1 and, of those working, 41 percent are working fewer hours.
  • Parents’ most common concerns are children falling behind in their education (24 percent), children getting into trouble (21 percent ), and affording school fees and materials (17 percent).

The COVID-19 pandemic shapes the lives of people around the globe - at the same time, people themselves have the power to shape the pandemic. By employing protective health behavior, such as social distancing, hygiene, mask wearing, and appropriate actions when infected, the population can contribute to alleviating the severity of an outbreak.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
March-May 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
  • Both knowledge and uptake of protective health behavior are relatively high.
  • Knowledge is the largest explanatory driver of protective health behavior, while socioeconomics and economic preferences are minor determinants.
  • However, knowledge itself is strongly shaped by socioeconomic gradients, being lower in less educated, less wealthy, and rural households.
  • Similarly, information sources predict knowledge and differ significantly by socioeconomic groups.
  • The rural-urban gap prevails across outcomes.

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.

Partners:
Government of Mexico City
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-July 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
 
  • More than 40% of respondents report that they perceive their household to be at risk of contracting COVID-19. For those who do not feel at risk, 70% of respondents report following preventive measures.
  • More than 50% of employed individuals have been paid less (earned less) than in a typical week before schools closed.
  • More than 30% of respondents say they have exhausted their savings to cover essential expenses since February 2020.
  • More than 60% of respondents indicate that they cannot afford the amount of food they used to buy before the pandemic because household income has decreased or because the price of food is now too high.
  • More than 90% of respondents say that primary and secondary school-age children in their household have continued educational activities from home.
  • 45% of respondents perceive that insecurity in their neighborhoods has increased since the beginning of the pandemic.

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.

Partners:
Côte d'Ivoire Ministry of Employment, Côte d'Ivoire Ministry of Education
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-July 2020, October 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Round 1:
  • 41% of respondents say they feel their household is at risk of contracting COVID-19. Those who do not feel at risk overwhelmingly cite following preventive measures as a reason
  • More than 70% of respondents say they have had to deplete savings to pay for food since February 2020
  • 65% of employed individuals have earned less pay than they did in a typical week before the government closed schools
  • While 35% of employed individuals report spending fewer hours working, 47% report working the same hours working for pay/running a business/helping on a family business than they did in a typical week before the government closed schools
  • 69% of respondents with children intend to continue to using Eneza once schools reopen
Round 2:
  • Nearly 40% of respondents report feeling that anyone in their household is at risk of contracting COVID-19, which stayed largely consistent across rounds. For those who do not feel at risk for COVID-19, 77% cite that it is because they follow protective measures.
  • 13% of adults report limiting portion sizes due to an inability to buy food for all 7 days in the last week, compared to 9% of those under 18. The majority have not had to limit portions during the last week.
  • Almost one fifth of non-poor respondents can obtain 65,000 FCFA within 30 days through savings, compared to only one eighth of poor respondents. Male respondents are more likely to obtain 65,000 FCFA within 30 days from working or savings, whereas female respondents are more likely to rely on family or friends.
  • Heads of household both in and outside of Abidjan indicate similar employment rates as in February, but nearly half report earning less.
  • Only 25% of students in lycee were reported having taken their exams.

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.

Partners:
Ministry of Employment, Burkina Faso
Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-July 2020, October-December 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Round 1:
  • 8.4% of respondents say they or any other person in their household delayed or skipped needed healthcare visits since mid-March 2020. Most cite long waits or understaffed clinics
  • 25% of respondents say they have had to limit portion sizes at meal times or reduce the number of meals in the past week
  • 21% of respondents say they would not be able to find 20,000 FCFA to pay for an emergency. 50% say that it would be somewhat difficult to obtain these funds
  • More than 60% of employed individuals report having earned less pay than they did in a typical week before the government closed schools
  • Respondents report that 50% of primary and secondary school children are spending time on education at home since schools were closed
Round 2:
  • The proportion of respondents who indicate that they always wear a facemask in public decreased by 9pp. Among those who do not wear a facemask, the proportion who believe it is not necessary (50%) nearly doubled.
  • There have been decreases between 19-25pp in respondents' inability to buy their usual amounts of food from markets because of market shortages, high food prices, or reduced incomes.
  • Across rounds, a majority (78%-81%) of respondents could obtain emergency financial sources (20k FCFA) in 1 month, though more than one in four would find it somewhat difficult.
  • Among those who indicate they are working less compared to February 2020, 38% indicate it is because the business is no longer operating. Among this group, only 22% has looked for a new job.
  • A majority of respondents prefer for primary-level students (79%) and secondary-level students (75%) to return to in-person schooling.

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.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
June-October 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Round 1:
  • Around 10% of respondents or someone in their household have developed mental health symptoms since COVID-19 reached the country.
  • 45% of employed individuals have earned less pay than they did in a typical week before the government closed schools.
  • 60% of respondents say they have had to deplete savings to pay for food since February 2020.
  • More than 40% of respondents say they have had to limit portion sizes at meal times or reduce the number of meals they eat.
  • 63% of respondents say their main concern regarding primary and secondary school-aged children in their household is their children falling behind in education.
Round 2:
  • One in four respondents reported developing mental health symptoms, more than double the proportion since May.
  • Total employment reported increased slightly compared to May 2020, but was still 15 percentage points less in October than February 2020.
  • For 48 percent of respondents it would be impossible or very diffcult to come up with 200,000 Leones within the next 30 days.
  • There was a 20 percentage point increase between rounds in respondents reporting needing to limit their meal portions.
  • One in five respondents below the poverty line is concerned about their school-age children having enough to eat versus one in ten respondents above the poverty line.
  • One fifth of respondents is concerned about physical violence towards minor children or between romantic partners.
  • Mercy Corps logo
  • Causal Design logo

Humanitarian cash transfers have been shown to enable vulnerable populations to meet basic needs during acute emergencies, serving as a critical safety net. But can cash assistance also serve as a ladder to economic recovery during protracted, conflict-driven crises?

Partners:
Cash and Livelihoods Consortium of Iraq (consisting of Mercy Corps, International Rescue Committee, Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam, and Norwegian Refugee Council)
Study Type:
Randomized Evaluation
Study Timeline:
October 2019-July 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
 
  • Cash transfers made households more food secure and enabled them to invest more in meeting critical needs including shelter, education and health. Cash transfers enabled households to meet their critical food consumption needs, including better dietary diversity and less reliance on distressful coping strategies than their control group counterparts. These results were observed despite a rise in food insecurity across the study population as a whole, indicating a protective effect of cash. The cash transfers also allowed households to spend more on developing their family’s human capital, including medical expenses and school fees.
  • Cash improved households’ economic recovery prospects by boosting or stabilising their employment and productive asset ownership in the face of multiple shocks. Iraqis who received cash were better able to retain or acquire new assets, such as mobile phones and livestock, that can help them generate income and act as capital stores to cope with future shocks. Treated households, on average, were also better able to maintain regular employment in the face of major economic contraction in Iraq. These effects on preventing distress sale or ‘shedding’ of productive assets and on job losses have important implications for the design of social protection policies within protracted crises.
  • Variations in cash transfer schedules affected the timing and strength of key outcomes. A primary contribution of this study is a better understanding of how cash transfers can be designed to maximise impact on specific outcomes of interest. Larger lump-sum payments emerged as the most effective method for promoting expenditures on basic needs (such as shelter repair), human capital development (such as education) and productive household assets. Smaller tranche payments, on the other hand, were best suited to immediately stabilise and smooth household consumption and improve short- and medium-run food security. These results largely mirror findings in more stable contexts and should provide greater impetus for humanitarian donors to offer more flexibility in the design of cash transfers in protracted crises.
  • Cash transfers did not lead to additional income generation. The effects of the cash transfers on productive assets and employment did not translate into additional income for recipient households during the period of the study. While cash provided households with needed resources to invest in improved livelihood strategies, turning these into greater income requires market demand for products and services, which are often lacking in protracted-crisis contexts. Further, vulnerable populations typically targeted for cash assistance may not have adequate skills or access to harness relevant opportunities. These findings point to the limitations of cash transfers alone in supporting sustainable poverty escapes in protracted crises.
  • The provision of financial health education alongside cash strengthened the effects on economic, social and psychosocial outcomes. Participants who received cash and financial health education training experienced greater impacts on food security, employment, intercommunity relationships, and perceptions of their economic and physical security. The training complemented the material benefits of the cash by supporting recipients to develop and apply financial management plans. The study's qualitative findings confirmed that these helped reduce participants’ anxiety and uncertainty about meeting current and future economic needs. The training sessions also provided opportunities for positive interactions between different social groups, including hosts and displaced populations, which may explain why researchers find positive impacts for training participants on intercommunity trust, cooperation and attitudes towards the use of violence against others.
Policy Impacts:  The Cash and Livelihoods Consortium of Iraq (CLCI), the implementing partner for this research, has used the findings from the impact evaluation to inform programming and policy. Given the scale of CLCI’s programming (they have delivered over 160 million USD in cash transfers to over half a million individuals across 12 governorates of federal Iraq since 2015), these uses represent major impacts of the research.
  • Inspired by the RCT results, the CLCI has rolled out financial education training alongside all cash programming to amplify material and psychosocial wellbeing outcomes. This is being replicated by additional partners outside of the consortium.
  • Based on the null findings on household incomes, the CLCI is now implementing livelihoods support activities alongside cash assistance to encourage new income generating activities.
  • The CLCI is influencing national debates, led by the Cash Working Group, and informing Government of Iraq social protection systems on optimal cash transfer values and durations based on the findings of the impact evaluation.
  • University of Ghana Logo
  • University of Pretoria Logo
  • NOVA Institute Logo
  • ETH Zurich Logo

Without a vaccine, keeping a safe distance is the most effective measure to contain the spread of COVID-19. Reseachers conducted panel phone surveys with 1,400 poor households in two of the African cities with the most COVID-19 infections, Accra and Johannesburg, to analyze how the urban poor are practicing social distancing and personal hygiene.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
April-October 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
 
  • 1,400 poor households in two major African cities were interviewed during lockdowns.
  • The lockdown had a high economic impact in Ghana.
  • In South Africa, COVID-19 had an adverse impact on the urban poor’s mental health.
  • Lack of information was an issue, while misinformation appeared to be limited.
  • Stricter regulations do not always lead to higher compliance with social distancing.

Does the COVID-19 stay-at-home order increase domestic violence? The significant decline in household income combined with prolonged confinement with the potential assailant may increase household conflict. Despite these plausible reasons for an increase in household violence, economic theory predicts that domestic violence depends on the income distribution within the household.

Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis
Study Timeline:
March-May 2020
Results Status:
Results
Results:
Using an event-study design, we find domestic violence calls for legal services decreased, however, domestic violence-related calls for psychological services held constant and even increased in certain weeks. Then, we consider the effect on official police reports and find that domestic violence police reports declined. We conclude by considering the differential effects of three local policies: food assistance, the prohibition of alcohol sales, and support to micro-entrepreneurs. We discover suggestive evidence that food assistance and support to micro-entrepreneurs mitigated domestic violence, but the alcohol ban did little to prevent household violence.
Key Findings:
During the lockdown: (1) domestic violence calls for legal services decreased, (2) domestic violence-related calls for psychological services held constant and even increased in certain weeks, and (3) food assistance and support to micro-entrepreneurs mitigated domestic violence, but an alcohol ban did little to prevent household violence

This study examines the feasibility of working and studying from home in Pakistan, using the 2018–19 Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey released recently. PSLM is a nationally representative household survey with extensive information on employment outcomes, educational attainment, internet and TV access, and hand-washing facility. Following Dingel and Neiman (2020)’s approach, researchers define jobs that can be done from home for urban and rural districts.

Study Type:
Descriptive / Surveillance
Study Timeline:
April-May 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
Only 10 percent of jobs in Pakistan can be done from home, and rates are even lower for rural residents, as so many of Pakistan’s workers are in low-skill, low-paying service industries and cannot work from home. Results also highlight the homeschooling challenges students face, given low rates of access to TV and the internet. Pre-existing inequalities in which many rural female students already lack educational opportunities will further compound these difficulties. Results highlight the need for states' financial support for vulnerable workers and expanded internet access for both teaching and effective job performance.

This research assesses how low-income households in rural Kenya coped with the immediate economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It uses granular financial data from weekly household interviews covering six weeks before the first case was detected in Kenya to five weeks after during which various containment measures were implemented.

Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis
Study Timeline:
February-November 2020
Results Status:
Results
  • J-PAL Logo

In 2017, IPA launched a randomized controlled trial in Kenya to test the effectiveness of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) in eradicating extreme poverty. Participants in the study treatment groups have been receiving regular cash transfers for over two years and will continue to receive these transfers over the next several months. This provided a unique opportunity to study how digital cash transfers can help during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study Type:
Randomized Evaluation
Study Timeline:
2020-2021
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
 
  • Transfers significantly improved well-being on common measures such as hunger, sickness and depression in spite of the pandemic, but with modest effect sizes.
  • They may have had public health benefits, as they reduced hospital visits and decreased social (but not commercial) interactions that influence contagion rates.
  • During the pandemic (and contemporaneous agricultural lean season) recipients lost the income gains from starting new non-agricultural enterprises that they had initially obtained, but also suffered smaller increases in hunger. This pattern is consistent with the idea that UBI induced recipients to take on more income risk in part by mitigating the most harmful consequences of adverse shocks. 
Read the full summary here. 

The goal of this study is to test whether outreach with religious leaders in Pakistan can enhance state effectiveness at dealing with the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Researchers:
Study Type:
Randomized Evaluation
Study Timeline:
April-July 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
The study finds that simple one-on-one engagement significantly improves the advice given by religious leaders to congregants on preventing COVID-19 transmission in the mosque. Engagement was equally effective with or without explicitly religious content. Treatment effects are driven by the subsample who are already convinced of basic information about COVID-19 at baseline, suggesting the treatment does not work by correcting basic knowledge about the disease. Rather, it may work through the effectiveness of one-on-one engagement that reinforces existing knowledge and connects it to actions that respondents can take intheir role as community leaders.

Research has shown that engaging local actors in the monitoring of public services can improve outcomes across multiple sectors, and in the case of the Ebola epidemic, a community monitoring intervention was able to significantly improve response to the crisis. For the past 6 years, Elevate: Partners in Education has been implementing a school scorecard intervention in Ugandan primary schools in which local actors are trained to monitor issues at their school.

Researchers:
Study Type:
Quasi-experimental Analysis
Study Timeline:
May 2020
Results Status:
Results
Key Findings:
  • Community monitoring interventions can improve educational outcomes
    • In order to move towards sustainability and scale, need to better understand underlying mechanisms of impact
  • Participatory process aligns different stakeholders towards shared goal
  • Community monitoring interventions and aligning stakeholders could help to develop more resilient education systems

This study aims to assess the short- and medium-term impact of Covid-19 on a particularly vulnerable and large but difficult to reach population in India: temporary migrants. Building on a sample of urban migrants from a previous study, we will conduct phone surveys to understand the economic and health effects of the current lockdown. The sample includes both migrants stranded in the city and others who managed to return to their villages.

Study Type:
Pilot
Study Timeline:
May-July 2020
Results Status:
Results
Results:
We present a summary of the salient ways in which informal workers – who are disproportionately local migrants – have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns. This report is based on five rounds of household surveys conducted over the period of June - October 2020. The sample consists of male migrant daily-wage laborers primarily employed in construction recruited in Chennai but mostly from villages or towns in Tamil Nadu, and their wives. Participants attended a minimum of one round and a maximum of five rounds. First, migrants headed home towards family, villages, and native places from Chennai when the lockdown began, but then began heading back to Chennai by July. This trend of returning to the city continued to pick up speed in August. Almost 41% of the sample reported being in their native district in the month of May-June, which fell to 27% in the month of October. In the final round, conducted in October, researchers find 73% of the sample residing in Chennai. Second, employment was concerningly low during the months of May and June at almost 45%, however the month of October witnessed a transition to almost 87%. There was a significant change in employment status between rounds and the overwhelming majority of this was towards seeking and finding work. Moving back to Chennai, marked a clear improvement in chances of employment and, likely, drove much of this trend. Among women, roughly 30% of the population found work after the lockdown. Third, most migrants have growing awareness of various COVID-19 precautions, though some report important barriers to taking necessary precautions. Guidelines such as wearing masks and washing hands are broadly considered important. However, there remains a level of fear associated with the pandemic and its uncertainty. About 45% of male participants report being very scared or terrified about this situation. There is also drop in mental health status for both men (by 4 points, SD 3.6) and women (by 2.9 points, SD 3.4) when comparing Cantril’s ladder positions reported retrospectively by respondents to present well being status. Finally, stigma around travelling migrant population is seen to exist. When respondents were asked how they think migrants who travel back to natives from work places would be treated by people around them, on an average almost 63% answered that these migrants would be assumed to be ill.

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