Virtual Press Conference: Livelihoods, Coping, and Recovery During COVID-19 Crisis (Phase II)

View the webinar deck here

More than four months have elapsed since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in Bangladesh. It has become evident by now that the pandemic and its impact is going to last much longer than we had hoped in the beginning, with deep and long-lasting effects on the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable people. Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) and BRAC Institute for Governance and Development (BIGD) jointly conducted a rapid telephonic survey in April at the beginning of the ‘general holidays’ to analyze the economic shocks faced by the poor and vulnerable people and their coping mechanisms, and explore whether there are systematic variations among different demographic and occupational groups. After an interval of three months, by when economic activities had largely resumed, BIGD launched the second survey (Phase II) in June 2020 on livelihood and coping during the COVID-19 crisis, with an additional focus on recovery dynamics.

In a webinar titled “Livelihoods, Coping and Recovery during COVID-19“, the detailed research findings from the second round survey were unveiled by Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, Executive Chairman, PPRC and Dr Imran Matin, Executive Director, BIGD. Researchers were also present with the journalists at the press conference.

The objective was to analyze the evolving nature of the economic impact of COVID-19 on the poor and economically vulnerable populations and to understand the recovery journey of this demographic since the lifting of the ‘general holidays’. Moreover, a key focus of the survey was the impact on livelihoods. In April the study found that, a month after the pandemic started, only 50% households in rural areas and 32% in urban slums had any economic activity. After the lockdown was lifted, many have since resumed their work, and the rates substantially improved in June, 83% and 84% respectively. An important finding from the two rounds of surveys in April and June is the emergence of the ‘new poor’, house holds (HHs) that had per capita income above the poverty line in February—the month immediately preceding the onset of the COVID-19 crisis—but had fallen below the poverty line because of the crisis. Most of these ‘new poor’ were from the vulnerable non-poor HHs that had per capita income above the upper poverty line and below the median income in February.