Researchers of the Social Policy Research Institute (SPRI Global) supported UNICEF Ethiopia in partnership with the Central Statistical Agency in carrying out a rapid quantitative study on the impact of COVID-19 on Children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The survey data were collected by Rebret Business and Consultancy PLC under the leadership of Dereje Kebede and over the span of two weeks between October and November 2020. This policy brief makes a first attempt to explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children in Addis Ababa. The data are based on the results of telephone interviews with 241 households (encompassing more than 1000 individuals) in 3 sub-cities of Addis Ababa.

The study finds that children are highly vulnerable to the indirect effects of the pandemic and related policy measures. Although Addis Ababa had among the lowest headcount rates of multidimensionally poor children before the pandemic, children experienced hardship due to service disruption and movement restrictions. Findings include:

  • Health and Nutrition: There had been significant disruptions to access to antenatal health services, the amount and quality of meals children received, including interrupted access to school meals. 11% of households reported that their children received both fewer and smaller meals than usual. Households most frequently cited income decline and rising food prices as a result of the pandemic as the reason for these changes.
  • Education: Following school closures, the government implemented a Distance Learning Plan to provide remote learning opportunities for children through TV, radio, and other digital platforms. However, children’s school performance and engagement in education suffered, and many schools did not organize compensatory learning activities.
  • WASH: Despite nearly universal access to improved WASH facilities, 44% cited frequent water shortages and 14% no clean water nearby. Efforts were made by the government and NGOs to improve hygiene awareness, distribute personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, and soaps, and install public handwashing facilities.
  • Child protection: Children faced higher risks of exposure to vulnerable conditions at home as an indirect result of financial shocks and increased time confined at home during school closures and lockdown. Respondents noted an increase in domestic violence, abuse, and protection violations at home following the pandemic.
  • Social protection: During the pandemic, 90% of households received their Urban Productive Safety Net Project social transfer payment every month, while 10% did not, and 7% received irregular payments. Face-to-face activities decreased as a preventive measure against the pandemic.

The research brief can be accessed here, or via UNICEF.

This research was undertaken as part of a quantitative poverty analysis report titled: Faces of Poverty: Studying the Overlap between Monetary and Multidimensional Child Poverty in Ethiopia. The report analyzed the relationship between monetary and multidimensional child poverty, and investigated other factors associated with deprivation, from basic goods and services to multidimensional deprivation.

This video was produced by the Social Policy Research Institute (SPRI Global) in cooperation with UNICEF Ethiopia and the ILO-ITC, as part of the 2021 ILO-ITC course “E-Coaching on Social Protection: Towards responsive systems”.

In addition to this quantitative survey focusing on Addis Ababa, qualitative interviews with key informants in the sectors of health, nutrition, child protection, education, and WASH were carried out in Amhara and Somali to investigate bottlenecks in service provision before and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These accompanying qualitative research briefs can be found here: