In less than six months, the coronavirus COVID-19 has become the greatest challenge we have faced since the Second World War. With more than 6,5 million people infected all over the world, it is not only a health crisis. In its path, the pandemic is leaving devastating consequences in social, economic, political life and people’s health and mental wellbeing.
The spread of COVID–19 has impacted households and businesses in Kosovo in various ways. From reduced working hours to drop in income, increased burden of care, coping with distant learning and dealing with physical, mental or emotional health issues due to the pandemic - the effects on the household members have been many. Businesses have had to deal with the possibility of the contraction of the virus, consider how they take care of their health or their employees’ health, how and whether they conduct business or work, how and what they buy, sell or produce.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 in Kosovo has shifted UNDP’s and the whole UN family’s focus towards response and assistance to the people and institutions of Kosovo. To better understand the immediate impact of the crisis, the needs of the people and businesses is critical for better tailoring of the immediate and medium-term response. This is why UNDP initiated this rapid assessment - together with UN Women and UNFPA in close coordination with the Development Coordinator, Ms. Ulrika Richardson, her office and the rest of the UN Kosovo Team – to understand the impacts, and to be able to better target the response measures. The findings of this assessment have been used to inform the formulation of the UN Kosovo Team Socio-Economic Response Plan which will be launched soon”, says Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative.
“Women and girls remain disproportionately affected by the pandemic. In Kosovo, as well as globally we have witnessed a shadow pandemic growing as a result of the pandemic, that of violence against women. The Rapid Socio-Economic Impact Assessment also revealed an increased burden of domestic duties on women, therefore it is imperative to take into account the specific needs, risks, and roles of women and girls, in responding to the pandemic” said Vlora Tuzi-Nushi, UN Women Head of Office.
Dr. Visare Mujko – Nimani UNFPA Head of Office said that “This assessment gave us a clearer view on difficulties in accessing health services faced by the population in Kosovo at this time of COVID-19 pandemic, thus helping us to provide timely and appropriate support with particular focus on sexual and reproductive health. The purpose of the survey was to define the nature and extent of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and identify its scope, gender roles, intensity and threat to groups in vulnerable situations and the local economy. The data from the assessment will be available to all and can be used by central and local authorities as well as other development partners for better understanding of who are most impacted by the pandemic, and the range of actions needed. The findings will be helpful also for more targeted service provision, buffering of the effects of the crisis, and increasing community resilience.”
Below are some of the key findings from the Assessment:
· 89% of the respondents acquired COVID-19 related information from radio, television, and newspaper, and 74% through internet and social media.
· 96% of children of the households interviewed were able to attend regular distance learning, whereas 4% missed the learning, most commonly due to equipment being used by some other household member or problems with internet connection.
· As a result of COVID-19 outbreak, 28% of all respondents experienced effects on their psychological, mental or emotional health.
· Regarding basic social and health services, 13% claimed to have had major or some difficulties accessing utilities, including electricity and water supply. 19% experienced major or some difficulties accessing social services and 26% had difficulties in accessing health services for themselves or their family members including sexual and reproductive health services.
· 56% of the respondents think there is an increase of domestic violence while 35% do not know where to seek help in case they or someone experiences domestic violence.
· Women’s burden of unpaid care work increased much more for women. Women’s hours dedicated to cleaning has increased by 18 percentage points more compared to men and for cooking and serving meals by 29 percentage points more than men. They also play, talk, or read to children and care for children by 8% and 9%, respectively, more than men.
· 59% fear that it would be difficult to keep up with basic expenses if coronavirus related measures persist.
· Around 40% of the respondents who were employed before the pandemic kept their jobs, but were not working at all at the time of the interviews, while 22% reported reduced hours of paid work. Other 22% reported that they continued to work the same hours as before the pandemic. 8% reported to have lost their job due to the spread of COVID-19.
· 55% of businesses had to close, while 30% had to partially stop. Only 15% were operating as normal.
The rapid assessment was commissioned by UNDP, in partnership with UN Women and UNFPA and it was conducted during April - May 2020, with a total of 1,412 interviews with households in all 38 municipalities and with 202 interviews with businesses across seven municipalities (Ferizaj/Uroševac, Gjakovë/Đakovica, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Pejë,/Peć, Prishtinë/Priština, Prizren and Mitrovicë/Mitrovica). Both household and business surveys were conducted through computer-assisted telephone interviews. Sample distribution of interviews was based on official data from Kosovo Agency of Statistics obtained by Census 2011 data and the businesses were identified from the Kosovo Business Registration Agency (KBRA).
Read the report here
The UN Kosovo Team, including UNDP, UN Women and UNFPA in Kosovo have been supporting the people and institutions of Kosovo to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic since the outbreak, focusing particularly on the most vulnerable. We have rapidly shifted focus, responding swiftly and efficiently and reorienting our programme to assist Kosovo’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus, helping to protect people from the pandemic and its impacts, respond during the outbreak, and recover from the economic and social impacts in the months to come.
To learn more about our work to fight the pandemic, please visit our page: https://www.ks.undp.org/content/kosovo/en/home/covid-19-pandemic-response.html
For more information, please contact:
Burbuqe Dobranja, UNDP Communications Associate
Phone: (038) 249 066 ext. 410; mobile: 049 720 800 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Danijela Mitić, Communication Associate UNDP
Phone: (038) 249 066 ext. 412; mobile: 049 720 824 e-mail: email@example.com