Timeline: May 2020 – September 2020
Context and Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused multifarious sufferings by disrupting the typical way of life of human beings. The eruption of COVID-19 has made an impact on all walks of life, especially the vulnerable and disadvantaged people all across the globe have been affected the most. The COVID-19 situation has affected Bangladesh severely as the numbers of infected people are rising every single day. At the same time, Bangladesh is facing a huge problem at the economic front as the economic activities have become stagnant due to the lockdown to reduce the infection. The growth prospects of Bangladesh have also downgraded as garment exports have declined considerably after COVID-19.
In addition to this, industry, trade, selected agro-based areas, and the service sectors are in a standstill. Domestic demands have suffered a hit causing severe unemployment and thus, reducing income. Industrial workers, small business owners of the formal and informal sectors, micro-entrepreneurs, and to some extent, the farmers have lost their sources of income. The situation is questioning Bangladesh’s economic growth objectives and its aspirations to graduate to a low-middle income country by 2024. Inequality, which was prevalent already before, is expected to rise further, should the crisis continue. There exists an apprehension that social cohesion, peace, and stability of the country, which has enabled Bangladesh to grow during the last decade, will be in danger, challenging the long-term goals of the country.
This research intends to understand the Corona virus driven core livelihood challenges of ‘the people at risk’, and how they have impacted social cohesion, peace, and justice (within family and society). Along with that, the study also aims to explore the options/opportunities to cope with the risks of social cohesion and stability; and identify strategies for the Government (national and local level), donors, NGOs, and communities to consolidate social cohesion and thus sustain peace and social justice in light of SDG 16.
This research further aims to survey the urban poor (non-garment workers), industrial workers (garment workers), rural poor (landless poor dependent on selling daily labour and agro-based products), migrant workers (returnee/still living abroad or their representatives in Bangladesh) and lower-middle-income groups (salaried or micro-entrepreneurs).
Methodology: A mixed-method approach of research has been adopted where both quantitative as well as qualitative surveys will be conducted to collect and validate primary data/information. The quantitative approach will use a structured questionnaire survey (interview) to explore the current impact of COVID-19 on social cohesion, peace, stability, and inclusiveness. The qualitative approach will comprise of key informant interviews (KIIs) and case studies to explore the understanding and practice of people during COVID-19 to uphold and promote social cohesion, peace, stability, and inclusiveness.
Given the context of COVID-19, associated with lockdown and social distancing, the telephonic survey will be the only option under quantitative research. Given the time and resource constraints, the study will remain within 400 respondents which are obligatory with a 95% confidence interval and 5% margin of error.
Progress till date: The research team has developed both quantitative and qualitative questionnaire for data collection. In order to understand the impact of COVID-19, the quantitative questionnaire consists of issues like employment and income; institutional exclusion/inclusion; a sense of belonging; coping mechanism; expectations about future as well as other pertinent issues of livelihood and social cohesion. The data collection phase of the research will be commenced in July 2020. LightCastle and Partners will conduct the telephone survey. Both descriptive and analytical statistics will be applied to present the results. The findings of the research will be ready for dissemination by September 2020.
Contact Person: M. Shahidul Islam, Research Fellow, Email- email@example.com