UNICEF study highlights plight of children and youth in Jordan during COVID-19
Secondary impacts of the pandemic have been 'quietly devastating'
AMMAN, 25 August 2020 — A new study released by UNICEF has highlighted the socio-economic challenges faced by vulnerable children, young people and their parents in Jordan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study, covering both Jordanian and Syrian families, found that the number of households with a monthly income of less than 100 JD (140 USD) has doubled since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and only 28 per cent of households have adequate finances to sustain themselves for a two-week period.
“The secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been quietly devastating for the most vulnerable families who are enduring tremendous stress as they try to provide a safe, nurturing and healthy environment for their children,” said Tanya Chapuisat, Representative, UNICEF Jordan.
“This study shows that while much-needed assistance is reaching those in need, further efforts are required to both expand this coverage and better target the most disadvantaged children to prevent vulnerable boys and girls from falling through the cracks as a result of this global pandemic,” she added.
The study findings also showed that among the sample size:
- Children went to bed hungry in 28 per cent of homes during lockdown – decreasing to 15 per cent of homes post-lockdown.
- 4 out of 10 families are unable to purchase the hygiene products they need;
- Employment was disrupted in 68 per cent of households as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- 17 per cent of children under 5 have not received their basic vaccinations;
- 23 per cent of children who were sick during COVID-19 did not receive medical attention, largely due to fear of the virus and lack of funds;
- 8 out of 10 households adopted a negative coping strategy in the past 3 months;
- 89 per cent of young women perform household duties, including caring, compared to 49 per cent of young men.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the digital divide facing children from the poorest households and the need for concerted efforts to support their learning recovery. Children in one quarter of the families surveyed did not access the official national online learning platform during lockdown and only 31 per cent of households have access to a Wi-Fi connection at home.
The results also highlighted the increasing stress on caregivers during lockdown and worrying trends in the prevalence of violence against children in their homes. More than two-thirds of parents reported difficulties in dealing with their children during and after lockdown. Fifty-six per cent of parents reported using psychological violence against their children during lockdown, while over a third of parents used physical violence.
UNICEF is supporting the roll out of the Government of Jordan’s National Social Protection Strategy to help provide a safety net to the vulnerable children and their families across the country. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, UNICEF has also scaled up its cash transfer programme Hajati to support 30,000 children, while outreach efforts continue to help children to learn and stay safe during the pandemic.
Read the full assessment here.
Note on methodology: As the assessment follows a stratified random sampling methodology to cover all the populations covered by the different programs implemented by UNICEF, the findings are not statistically representative of the total population of the country.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Jordan, visit www.unicef.org/jordan.