A mixed-methods research study on the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on low and middle-income people in Mali, Niger, Burkina-Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria, and opportunities for policy and programmatic intervention. For this study, we conducted the following across all 7 countries:

  • In-depth remote Human Centred Design (HCD) interviews

  • Macro analysis of existing programmatic and policy responses, reports and surveys on the impacts of COVID-19

  • Phone-based survey with a nationally representative sample 

  • Expert interviews with NGOs/CBOs

We structured our research around four main thematic areas, for which we  generated findings, insights, and programmatic policy recommendations:

  • Financial health & livelihoods

  • Awareness & access to support services

  • Attitudes & psychological wellbeing

  • Programmatic/policy gaps & best practices

Country reports

What we did

Letter from the authors

Image by Ninno JackJr

Understanding the
 IMPACT of COVID-19 

in West Africa

Image by Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma'aji

Our hope is that by capturing representative human stories backed by data, we can inform the decision-making process & engagement across West Africa to compel a compassionate and effective policy and programmatic response to COVID-19.

Governments across West African countries of Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria, like those of most other countries globally, are trying to adapt the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is raging on with no immediate end in sight. They are trying to protect their population from COVID-19, balancing financial and food relief expectations while staving off economic collapse. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed and national lockdowns lifted in places, people have started to see some respite, but many still struggle to cope with the financial and psychological setbacks. Food insecurity is a reality for many, whose mounting debts are still unpaid and income volatility is high. Social relationships have both provided for and become strained due to the pandemic's toll on individuals and communities.

Contested election cycles, closure of international borders, lack of governmental aid, and limited support from the international community have further magnified the issues due to COVID-19. As the pandemic continues, the negative impact on sectors like education, mental health, gender equality, access to primary healthcare, security & violence, access to information, food security & agriculture, livelihoods & informal sector, among others, has started to become evident.

Most decisions require trade-offs, as delivering on one can mean jeopardizing the other, particularly for most of the population who survive on low incomes and have minimal access to support. Public, private, and third-sector responses must navigate these stark choices, recognizing if they are unable to help their vulnerable populations survive both the public health and economic crises, progress could be handicapped for a generation.

OSIWA partnered with Dalberg to conduct a mixed-methods study to understand the social, economic, financial, and psychological impacts of COVID-19 on low and middle-income people in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria, as well as the reach and efficacy of policy and programmatic support targeted at these communities.