COVID-19: Emergency Livelihoods Cluster Response

Manual and Guideline
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Section 1: Introduction

Iraq officially entered a dotted lockdown from the 27th February, first in Najaf, after a case of COVID-191 was reported on 24th February, followed suit by other governorates. Curfews put in place in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) began on 14th March, and similarly in Federal Iraq by 17th March, and the country has remained in lockdown since. There are now over 2,013 cases and 112 deaths in Iraq.2 Since 11th May, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) eased parts of the coronavirus-related lockdown to allow most businesses to reopen and removing the ban on traffic within provinces. The easing of lockdown measures comes as the KRI has seen no new cases of the virus since 6th May.

A recent aggregation of livelihoods activities by Emergency Livelihoods Cluster (ELC) members demonstrated that 29 percent of activities were reported as stopped/inactive,3 whilst in a similar survey conducted at the start of April, this was 65 percent. This is largely attributable to easing of lockdown restrictions in KRI, however, it is worth noting that 56 percent of beneficiary targets for both HRP and non-HRP activities still remain unmet. Of the HRP activities, 62 percent of beneficiary targets remain unmet, representing an estimated figure of 3,202 beneficiaries who were not reached in April.

This is leading to delays in beneficiaries accessing livelihoods. Similarly, anecdotal evidence points to the fact that many individuals in the private and public sector will either have experienced job losses, or delays in access to their salaries. Many will not have access to paid reductions for cuts in time at work or unemployment benefits and retention schemes. Equally social assistance benefits will be affected where movement is restricted.

From the 55 HRP and non-HRP activities4 reported by ELC partners, the majority (45 percent) are now ongoing, with 25 percent of these reported activities designated as planned. The new CfW activity5 made up the majority of ongoing activities, with activities focused on supporting the COVID-19 response. Adapting strategies included using remote coordination and training, provision of PPE and safe practices.

Humanitarian actors focusing on emergency and sustainable livelihoods alike will, therefore, be looking to understand the best practices, exemplar adaptations, risks and challenges brought to the forefront during the COVID-19 outbreak. Within the context of the COVID-19 outbreak this guidance document introduces new activities to the ELC HRP, including the revisions to the existing HRP activities and those non-HRP livelihood activities.
The purpose of the document is to advise on:

  1. How to adapt livelihoods activities by each modality

  2. Who to continue to coordinate with during the lockdown

  3. Guide cluster members to useful resources