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Monitoring COVID-19 impact on households in Kenya

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The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for timely data and evidence to help monitor and mitigate the social and economic effects of the crisis. Responding to this need, a high-frequency phone survey with households was designed and implemented to measure the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Kenya and later monitor the recovery.

The high-frequency phone survey on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Kenya is implemented by the World Bank, in collaboration with the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as the University of California, Berkeley.

The data is collected by phone interviews (1) with households from three different groups. The first group of households is drawn randomly from a subset of the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey in 2015/16. The second group is reached by Random Digit Dialing, whereby phone numbers potentially existing in Kenya are randomly generated. These first two groups cover urban and rural areas and are designed to be representative of the population of Kenya using cell phones. The third group consists of refugees registered with UNHCR and living in refugee camps as well as urban areas.

The questionnaire covers a range of topics including knowledge of COVID-19 and mitigation measures, changes in behavior in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, employment, income, food security, access to educational activities and health services, subjective well-being, perceptions of the government’s response, and coping strategies.

Data collection started in May 2020 and households were called repeatedly since then, to track the impact of the pandemic over time. Households were called every two months, for five survey rounds, in the first year of data collection and every four months thereafter. The subgroup of households interviewed in each week is representative of the surveyed population, allowing the analysis of trends as in the above dashboard.