Impact assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak on wellbeing of children and families in Albania – Albania | #covid19 | #kids | #childern

Executive Summary

This impact assessment aims to highlight the urgent, medium and long-term needs of families and children in Albania as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in Albania. The assessment methodology has an exploratory approach that involved the collection of socio and economic data related to Albanian families during the lockdown period. Data were collected through the phone interview method from 28 April to 8 May 2020.

The survey gathered primarily quantitative data, not limiting the participant to express their opinions beyond the predefined options in the questions. The assessment included current operational areas where WVA works and additional locations, where projects are implemented in collaboration with other partner organizations. Overall, the sampling frame was composed of 1.199 households from 15 municipalities in Albania, mainly in rural areas and the majority of the sample consisted of females.

The following sectors were assessed during this process: health prevention knowledge regarding Covid-19, fulfilment of basic needs by interviewed families during the lockdown period, livelihood and employment before and during the pandemic and the wellbeing of families’ in the time of Covid-19.

Key findings

Health prevention knowledge: The assessment reveals that all the participants (100%) have heard about the new coronavirus. The majority of participants are well-informed regarding the ways of transmission of Covid-19 as well as about the necessary prevention measures to limit the spread of the virus. The main source of information is television (98%) followed by internet (41%).

Basic needs: According to the extent that families fulfil basic needs, findings show that 75.5% of families do not fully meet food needs, 83.3% of them do not fully meet needs for disinfectants and face masks and 71.9% of families do not fully meet needs for necessary hygiene sets (shampoo, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, other personal care items) which are essential in the time of pandemic.

Livelihood and employment before and during the pandemic: Findings show that as the result of the pandemic, unemployment increased by 10%, full-time employment decreased by 9%.
A decrease has been reported in occasional work by 14% and remittances by 8%. Forty-three percent of the participants who have agricultural land report that the situation created by COVID-19 has affected the sale of their agricultural products. The pandemic is expected to put further strains on family’s finances and participants express concern about this issue. Around 68% of them report that the situation created by Covid-19 pandemic will affect their employment or self-employment.

Relationships in the family: The assessment findings reveal that during the pandemic 57.5% of parents report the frequent use of healthy parenting practices within their homes. During the Covid-19 time 48.6% of the participants report the presence of verbal abuse and 19.9% report the presence of physical abuse.

Education: Findings show that the majority of families (89%) included in the assessment reported that their children attended the online classes. The most used application during the pandemic for the learning process was WhatsApp (86.5%), followed by the Albanian Public TV (37%). 61% of participants believed that their children are at high risk from browsing the internet for long periods of time.

Mental health: About 35% of participants report high level anxiety symptoms experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic with female participants (M = 9.32) reporting higher levels of anxiety than males (M = 8.41).

Preferred solution by the communities: Participants were asked to express their opinion regarding the appropriate solutions to address the consequences of Covid-19 time during the pandemic and toward the future. Three most prevalent suggested solutions to address fulfilment of basic needs are Distribution of food packages (77.2%), Distribution of health and hygiene products (61.7%) and Distribution of technological equipment (49.3%). Amongst suggested solutions for overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic situation related to livelihoods and employment, 252 households or 52.4% reported the multipurpose cash as a solution in agriculture and livestock products. Whereas, according to the family relationships, participants has suggested as the most appropriate solution the support with materials that help to do activities with children by 59.6%. Related to education sector, especially home learning, participants rank as the first solution the support with technology equipment (764 HHs out of 1.117 or 68.4%). To address the mental health issues the psychosocial support is the first choice for the majority of the households (60.9%).

This assessment makes recommendations in four areas: social inclusion and protection, economic development, education and digitalization.

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