Survey shows managing household finances is the top concern for PNG families during the COVID-19 pandemic
Latest World Bank-UNICEF household surveys for PNG show that poorer households are more likely to have implemented coping strategies that reduce their savings and increase their household debt
PORT MORESBY, December 21, 2021 – Surveys by the World Bank and UNICEF of Papua New Guinean families found that while employment levels, access to education and health care remained relatively stable from January to June 2021, 93% of households in PNG since the beginning of 2021, and 40% had used five or more coping skills.
According to the third round of polls of around 3000 Papuan New Guineans (the first round was carried out in June 2020, and the second in December 2020), 88% are â€œvery concernedâ€ or â€œrather concernedâ€ about their household finances. The most common coping strategies included finding ways to make extra money (71% of households), spending on personal savings (52%), and non-cash support from friends or family (47%). Only seven percent of households said they received support from national or provincial governments.
New surveys conducted by the World Bank and UNICEF between May and July this year show that a third of households (35%) have reported lower or no income since early 2020, and households in rural areas are significantly more likely to have experienced a decline in income or -stop (36%) than households in urban areas (23%).
Other important findings from the latest polls contain:
- 93% of families in PNG reported using at least one coping strategy since early 2021, an 8% increase from the first survey when 85% reported using at least one coping strategy.
- Most coping families were in the bottom 40 percent of the wealth distribution.
- 33% of households reported selling livestock as a coping strategy, more than twice as many as in the first survey (15%).
- More than two-thirds of households reported at least one case of food insecurity in the past 30 days, with most families recorded in the island region (73%) and the lowest in the Highlands (63%).
- Less than a quarter of elementary school students were taking distance learning when schools closed in the first half of this year. Most of those who did not attend said the reason was that no distance learning program was available.
- Households led by women were much more likely to expect no income from this year’s growing season (13%) than households with male households (2%).
- Almost half of all respondents believe that drug and alcohol abuse conditions have worsened since January 2021 – the same result as the first survey.
** Stefano Mocci, World Bank Country Manager for Papua New Guinea (PNG) ** said that given that the pandemic will have a significant impact for some time to come, it is important to build up formal safety nets and aid in Papua New Guinea.
* “Families, especially those on the bottom 40% of income, are reducing their savings, wealth, and debt just to feed everyone and go to school. But this will only make economic recovery more difficult in the long run. “* said Mocci. â€œAnd the effects of the pandemic are not equally felt, as many indicators show that people in rural areas and those in the bottom 40% of the wealth distribution are struggling significantly more than other groups.
“We have worked with the PNG government to support the recovery of the economy throughout 2021, and this ongoing research will help PNG put the support where it is needed most.”
Claudes Kamenga, UNICEF Representative for Papua New Guinea (PNG) stressed that the ongoing response efforts for children and young people were vital to the future of the country.
* “While COVID-19 continues to affect families and communities in different ways, it is clear that the most vulnerable households are particularly hard hit. More than three-quarters of students who have not benefited from distance learning during previous school closings are children and Young people in vulnerable households will find it even more difficult to take part in future distance learning opportunities and to return to school, “emphasized Kamenga.
“All decisions made now for economic recovery affect tomorrow’s children and UNICEF is determined to support the government’s response to COVID-19 to help mitigate these effects.
The full report is [available online]. The next round of surveys is currently ongoing and will reflect the impact of the delta eruption in July and August 2021.
The World Bank works with 12 countries in the Pacific – including Papua New Guinea – and supports 84 projects with a total volume of 2.09 billion US dollars in sectors such as agriculture, health, education and employment, climate resistance and adaptation, energy, fisheries, rural development, economic policy, macroeconomic management, aviation and transport, telecommunications and tourism.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. In more than 190 countries and territories, UNICEF works for every child, everywhere, to create a better world for all.