Joint press release: Two thirds of households with children have lost income and 40 per cent of children weren’t learning during pandemic

UNICEF-World Bank report finds that the lost earnings have left adults in 1 in 4 households with children going a day or more without food.

10 March 2022
A girl listening to classes on the radio with her mother sitting enxt to her.
Aichata Konaté, 15 ans, en 6ème à l'école Adama Dagnon, ici avec sa mère. « Je suis resté quelques mois sans aller à l'école, puis notre père a décidé de nous emmener à Ségou, où il a pu m'inscrire à l'école Adama Dagnon. J'ai alors bénéficié d'une radio solaire et le directeur de l'école m'a dit que je pouvais assister aux cours avec cette radio pour m'aider à rattraper mon retard ».

NEW YORK and BAMAKO, 10 March 2022 – At least two thirds of households with children have lost income since the COVID-19 pandemic hit two years ago, according to a new report published today by UNICEF and the World Bank.  

Impact of COVID-19 on the welfare of households with children – which presents findings from data collected in 35 countries including Mali– notes that income losses have left adults in 1 in 4 households with children going without food for a day or more. Adults in nearly half of households with children reported skipping a meal due to a lack of money. 

The report finds that children are being deprived of the basics, with children in 40 percent of households not engaging in any form of educational activities while their schools were closed. Given that data is compiled at the household level, the actual participation rate at individual level is likely even lower, especially for children who come from households with three or more children. 

“We must increase the quality of education and continue to promote inclusive education so that children do not fall further behind. Where it is safe, we will continue to work with the government to re-open schools safely. UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Education to build on distance learning mechanisms through an ICT in education strategy to increase digital literacy and learning,” said Sylvie Fouet, UNICEF Representative in Mali. 

UNICEF and the World Bank in Mali are supporting social protection systems, including cash transfers. This new report reiterates the need to expand these systems to mitigate the impact on families, especially the poorest households that are being pushed even deeper into poverty.  

“The disruptions to education and health care for children, coupled with catastrophic out-of-pocket health expenses which affect more than 1 billion people, could put the brakes on the development of human capital – the levels of education, health and well-being people need to become productive members of society,” said Carolina Sánchez-Páramo, Global Director of Poverty and Equity for the World Bank. 

UNICEF and the World Bank urge a rapid expansion of social protection systems for children and their families. Support including the delivery of cash transfers and the universalization of child benefits are critical investments that can help lift families out of economic distress and help them prepare for future shocks. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 200 countries or territories have introduced thousands of social protection measures, and the World Bank has supported countries with approximately $12.5 billion to implement such measures, reaching nearly 1 billion individuals worldwide. 


Notes to editors: 

The report draws on information from a set of high-frequency phone surveys (from 35 countries) and focusing solely on the impact of the crisis on children. In the paper, we analyze the initial impact of the crisis (with survey data collected during the period April to September 2020) as well as the subsequent evolution of the impact of the crisis (with survey data collected during the period October 2020 to May 2021). We focus on the following harmonized key indicators of children’s welfare covering both their individual conditions as well as those of the household they live in: (i) Income loss and job loss; (ii) Food insecurity (households reporting an adult member didn’t eat for a whole day or skipped a meal due to lack of money/resources); (iii) Social protection programs (whether households have received any government assistance since the beginning of the pandemic); and (iv) Education (participation in any educational activities following closures due to COVID-19). 

Media contacts

Stephanie Joy Raison
Chief of Communication
Tel: +223 75 99 93 11
Brahim Ould Isselmou
Communication Specialist
Tel: + (223) 70 54 99 52


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, visit

Follow UNICEF on  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

For more information about COVID-19 and guidance on how to protect children and families, visit: 

About the World Bank Group 

The World Bank Group provides financing, global knowledge, and long-term commitment to help low- and middle-income countries end poverty, achieve sustainable growth, and invest in opportunity for all. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has deployed over $157 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. The World Bank is also supporting over 50 low- and middle-income countries, more than half of which are in Africa, with the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, and is making available $20 billion in financing for this purpose until the end of 2022. 

Follow the World Bank on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube