The impact of COVID-19 in the life of Children in Province - 2

Aasaman Nepal has been working for the benefit of the communities since Day 1 of the pandemic declaration. The services range from the awareness generation, referral system for the relief package, psychosocial counseling to the children through telephone or in-person by maintaining the social distancing, and operating distance learning classes- FM. Simultaneously, Aasaman has been engaged in understanding the needs of the communities, especially of children. On May 12, 2020, Aasaman Nepal launched a need assessment survey centering on the challenges being faced by children in the wake of the COVID-19 in Province 2, particularly in learning.

The need assessment survey has applied participatory tools and techniques to conduct a cross-sectional analysis of the situation. Both qualitative & quantitative techniques have been employed for the questionnaire formulation. Aasaman Nepal has taken into consideration the ethical ways to conduct surveys along with the importance of social inclusion to understand the situation.

Methodology and Findings

Figure 1
The communities and respondents selection was based on the list of vulnerable municipalities from the 8 districts of province-2
Figure 2
Ethnic composition of households are as such- 41.96% Dalit, 11.34% Janjati, 3.08% Brahmin/Chettri, 5.95% Muslims and 36.23% others the dsitirct wise composition can be seen in Figure 3.
Figure 3
The primary source of income of households are as such- 42.29% agriculture, 3.08% livestock, 7.93% business, 28.74% labor wage, 4.07% government service, 4.52% remittance and 9.36% others .The district wise composition in Figure 4 .
Figure 4
Covid-19 Awareness
98% of children were aware about COVID 19. It was found that 97.89% girls were about the COVID as compared to 98.31% boys (the gender analysis can be seen in figure 5). The awareness was 100% in all the ethnicities except for children from Dalit communities, 2% of the children who were unaware about COVID 19 belonged to Dalit communities (the figure 6 depicts the trend). The primary source of information for COVID 19 for 35% of children was TV followed by radio (27%), heard from others (18%), internet (16%), newspaper (3%) and other sources (1%)
Engagement of children and expression of feelings of children about staying at home during lockdown
32% children responded that they spend most of their helping with family chores followed by 25% children spend time studying, 15% children playing, 15% watching TV or listening to radio, 9% children using the internet mostly facebook, and 4% children caring for siblings. It was also found that 61.89% of the girls were engaged helping families with the chores compared to 36% of the boys. Only 14.53% of girls reported that they spend most of their time studying during lockdown as compared to 17.8% of boys whereas only 5.68% girls reported using the internet as compared to that of 13.56% of boys. This shows inequalities of access to the internet in regards to gender and burden of chores inclined towards the girls at home during lockdown. Figure 8 and 9 represents the pictorial summary of the children’s engagement at home during lockdown. Furthermore, it was found that 35.6% of children felt irritated, 25.7% sad, 14.9% worried, 11.9% happy, 9.9% alone, 2% others (busy) at home during lockdown.
Access to Distance Learning
It was found that 86.8% of children were involved in some form of learning, 33.06% children were learning through internet or mobile, 30.18% through radio, 16.01% through TV, 6.8% by themselves or support of family members, and only 9.10% through all the means and 4.84% through laptop as shown in figure. Furthermore it was found that only 53% of the children attended virtual learning and only 24.1% found it very useful, followed by 44.7% useful, 16,3% partially useful suggesting content revision and 14.8% found it useful as they did not understand anything as shown in figure 13.
75.2% children reported that they have experienced violence during the lockdown. 52.39% reported they were harassed, 13.83% tortured, 11.57% faced physical violence, 12.10% faced verbal abuse and 10.11% were misbehaved. 42.95% girls and 32.20% boys reported they were harassed. 11.37% girls and 8.47% boys reported being tortured. Physical violence was reported by 15.255 of boys as compared to 5.47% girls. 8.63% girls and 10.17% boys reported facing verbal abuse.7.16% girls and 8.47% reported that they were misbehaved.
Major Findings
(i) Awareness about COVID 19 is high among the children and communities. However, dalit communities are still lagging behind in this regard as 2% of the respondents not aware about COVID 19 belong to to Dalit communities. (ii) 71.03% households form the marginalized communities are engaged in one of the most affected livelihood options- agriculture and wage labor. (iii) Majority of girls are engaged mostly in daily chores . (iv) Majority of children form Dalit communities have reported unpleasant experience of staying at home during lockdown- 41.1% children from dalit communities reported that they are irriated at home, 26.7% are sad, 15.54% busy, 10.02% alone, 2.04% very busy. (v) Majority of children were engaged in some form of learning at home, it was reported at  33.06% children were learning through the internet or mobile and 30.18% through radio. However only 53% of the children attended virtual learning. (vi) 31.3% children attending virtual learning are struggling with virtual learning and want the contents to be revised. (vii) Majority of children experience violence during lockdown, with the majority of girls and boys reporting harassment. The physical abuse is high among boys . (viii) 74.5% children reported that the source of violence was their family members.
Proportion of Children Face Abuse during the Lockdown by Reasons