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SPACE Social Protection and Humanitarian Cash and Food Responses to COVID-19: Needs, Coverage, and Gaps

30 September 2020 — By Emily Wylde

The direct economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns are leading more people into poverty and hunger. Estimates to date on the impact of COVID-19 on poverty and food security are an important first step towards understanding the potential scale of need. However, they are mainly based on very high-level projections that apply uniform assumptions on impact, that simultaneously under-estimate the scale of needs and obscure who or where the needs are likely to be. At the same time, there have been some impressive efforts at compiling a detailed picture of social protection responses (Gentilini et al; IPC-IG), but the scattered and incomplete nature of the data makes it difficult to ascertain the extent to which coverage is expanding to meet the increase in needs.

This exercise aims to provide a more comprehensive look at needs, coverage, and gaps for 10 fragile and conflict-affected countries. It does this by undertaking detailed micro-simulation for three ‘deep dive’ countries (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe) and a more ‘light touch’ approach in the others (Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, OPT, Syria, and Yemen).