Household Financial Management Biggest Concern for PNG Families During COVID-19 Pandemic, Survey Finds
The latest World Bank and UNICEF household surveys for PNG show that the poorest households are more likely to have implemented coping strategies that reduce their savings and increase their debt.
PORT MORESBY, December 21, 2021 – World Bank and UNICEF surveys of families in Papua New Guinea found that while employment levels, access to education and health care remained relatively stable from January As of June 2021, 93% of households in PNG had used at least one economic coping strategy since early 2021, and 40% had used at least five coping strategies.
According to third round of investigations about 3000 Papua New Guinea (the first round was conducted in June 2020, and the second in December 2020), 88% are âvery worriedâ or âa little worriedâ about their household finances. The most common coping strategies were finding ways to earn extra money (71% of households), spending personal savings (52%), and receiving non-cash assistance from friends or family (47%). Only seven percent of households reported receiving assistance from national or provincial governments.
Conducted between May and July of this year by the World Bank and UNICEF – just before the major spike in Delta variant COVID-19 cases that significantly stretched PNG’s health services – new surveys show that a third of households (35%) have reported reduced or no income since the start of 2020, and households in rural areas were significantly more likely to experience a drop or stop in their income (36%) than households in urban areas (23%).
Other key findings the latest polls include:
- 93% of PNG families said they have used at least one coping strategy since the start of 2021, an 8% increase from the first survey where 85% said they used at least one coping strategy.
- Most families who used coping strategies were in the bottom 40 percent of the wealth distribution.
- 33% of households declared selling livestock as a coping strategy, more than double the number of households stating having used this coping strategy in the first survey (15%).
- More than two-thirds of all households reported at least one incidence of food insecurity in the past 30 days, with the highest number of families in the Islands region (73%) and lowest in the Highlands (63 %).
- Less than a quarter of elementary school students participated in distance education when schools were closed in the first semester of this year. Of those who did not participate, almost all indicated that the reason was that no distance learning program was available.
- Households headed by women were much more likely to expect no income from this year’s growing season (13%) than households headed by men (2%).
- Almost half of all respondents believed that drug and alcohol abuse conditions had worsened since January 2021 – the same result as in the first survey.
** Stefano Mocci, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea (PNG) ** said that as the pandemic will continue to have significant impacts for some time to come, it is essential that Safety nets and formal assistance be extended in Papua New Guinea.
* âFamilies, especially those in the bottom 40% of income, are cutting savings and assets and increasing debt, just so that everyone gets food and goes to school. But that will only make economic recovery even more difficult in the long run, “* says Mocci. âAnd the impacts of the pandemic are not being felt the same way, with many indicators showing that those in rural areas and those in the bottom 40% of the wealth distribution, struggle much harder than other groups.
âWe have been working with the PNG government on supporting economic recovery throughout 2021, and this ongoing research will help PNG target support where it is most needed. “
Claudes Kamenga, UNICEF Representative for Papua New Guinea (PNG) stressed that the ongoing response efforts are essential for children and adolescents, the future of the country.
* âAs COVID-19 continues to affect families and communities differently, it is clear that the most vulnerable households are particularly affected. With more than three-quarters of students unable to benefit from distance education during previous school closings, children and adolescents from vulnerable households will find it even more difficult to participate in future learning opportunities. remotely and back to school, â* Kamenga said.
âAny decision made for economic recovery today will affect the children of tomorrow and UNICEF is committed to supporting the government’s response to COVID-19 to help mitigate these impacts.
The full report is [available online]. The next round of the investigation is now underway and will reflect the impacts of the Delta outbreak in July and August 2021.
The World Bank works in partnership with 12 Pacific countries – including Papua New Guinea – supporting 84 projects totaling US $ 2.09 billion in commitments in sectors such as agriculture, health, education and employment, resilience and adaptation to climate change, energy, fisheries, rural development, economic policy, macroeconomic management, aviation and transport, telecommunications and tourism.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s most difficult places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. In more than 190 countries and territories, UNICEF works for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for all.