Principal Investigators: Dr Daniel Stein and Dr. Heather Lanthorn (IDinsight)
Little is known about the effects of large cash transfers in contexts of protracted displacement. This includes the influence of cash transfers on health behaviours during shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
IDinsight plans to develop evidence in this area by building on an ongoing impact evaluation of GiveDirectly’s unconditional cash transfer program in Kiryandongo refugee settlement, Uganda.
The team will gather data on the COVID-19 public health measures that refugee households are implementing, the health services they are able to access, and their understanding of COVID-19 and preventative measures.
By comparing refugee households who have already received their GiveDirectly cash transfer with refugee households who will receive their cash transfer in the near future, we will develop better evidence on how unconditional cash transfers influence refugee household knowledge, behaviours, and access to health services during a pandemic.
The study found that one-off cash transfers did not achieve food security for all refugees- but do provide moderate protection from food insecurity. Food insecurity should be considered alongside assessment of future risks of COVID-19 infection in the settlement.
We have been able to work with an inspiring team in Uganda -- themselves mostly South Sudanese refugees -- to collect meaningful data on the experience of being a refugee during a time of additional hardship. We hope this research will both reveal the work that needs to be done as well as some ways to do it.
Life for refugees is difficult at the best of times, and the COVID-19 crisis has compounded many of the challenges refugee households already face. We hope our research can help policy makers make evidence-informed decisions that will improve refugee lives now and in future health crises.
Three phone surveys will be conducted between May and December 2020. After each survey, key findings will be shared with humanitarian organisations and findings will be made available through IDinsight’s website.
In the immediate term, surveys and findings will focus on refugee households’ understanding of COVID-19 and preventative measures, and their access to health services. This evidence can be used immediately by humanitarian partners to better understand the context in Kiryandongo and similar settings, and to tailor their response programs to better suit the needs of refugee households.
In the longer term, surveys and findings will focus on how cash transfers have influenced refugee households’ behavior, particularly their ability to adhere to public health directives. This evidence can be used in the longer-term by humanitarian partners to inform future responses to health crises in refugee settings.
The feedback from enumerators who switched from in-person to phone surveys during COVID-19 provides valuable insights to strengthen phone surveys.View
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