Covid-19 Data Initiatives in India and Nepal: Working toward an Inclusive Response
A team of researchers coordinated by Rohini Pande of EGC and Charity Troyer Moore of Yale MacMillan Center is analyzing the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable populations.
Collecting data and presenting a path to action
In India and Nepal, policymakers and citizens need access to up-to-date information in order to make informed decisions. This is particularly challenging given the quickly evolving health, economic, and social ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The mission of the South Asia research group led by Rohini Pande of EGC and Charity Troyer Moore of Yale MacMillan Center is to close existing knowledge gaps by rapidly collecting and analyzing data, making it easily available to stakeholders, and sharing these insights with policymakers and the public. We believe it is important that our research maintains close ties to what’s happening in the world and the decisions that policymakers have to make. We work in close collaboration with researchers at LEAD at Krea University, and partner with key officials in government who are responsible for policymaking and are engaged in immediate relief during the Covid crisis.
In response to Covid-related lockdowns in South Asia, our teams in India and Nepal have suspended all in-person data-collection activities, and all teams are working remotely. To ensure we can continue to collect survey data through the lockdown, our teams have quickly launched remote phone-based surveys through a team of home-based enumerators who conduct phone surveys using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). We are also deploying other team members (supervisors who listen to surveys in real time to monitor and provide feedback on call quality, backcheckers, etc.) to ensure data quality and adherence to our strict quality standards.
Open access to our data-collection instruments:
- Covid-19 Survey Modules homepage
- Nepal local government survey questionnaire (download the Excel spreadsheet)
After gathering the data, it is crucial that we quickly disseminate our insights through the right information channels. Our team is publishing op-eds, designing comprehensible infographics, and sharing policy briefs with policymakers and the public to ensure that important information about Covid-19 reaches those who may benefit from these research findings.
Read about this work:
- Preparing for Nepal's upcoming flood season and Covid-19: A survey of Nepali government officials gives insight to why and how local governments should receive more funding to manage the twin problems of floods and coronavirus.
- Expanding the scope of India's Covid-19 relief measures: An April 2020 survey finds that India's food distribution system helps alleviate food insecurity and should continue, given forecasts of continued pandemic-related distress.
- Reaching India's poorest women with Covid-19 relief: Distributing emergency cash payouts only using India's digital banking program may exclude the majority of poor women.
- Rural women’s coping strategies during India’s lockdown: In-depth telephone interviews reveal that women and their families are facing rising food prices and spotty access to social assistance programs.
As the nature of the pandemic continues to evolve, we are collecting data to address the following questions:
- In what ways are women particularly affected by the pandemic and its economic consequences? How can these new challenges be converted into opportunities for women to engage more effectively in the economy?
- How are Indian migrants who have returned home from urban centers – often with very little money or food – coping during the lockdown? Do they have access to safety nets like food rations and essential supplies? What local work opportunities match their skill sets? Are they facing stigma and discrimination over fears of them spreading Covid-19?
- Which Covid-19 prevention efforts are priorities and responsibilities for local officials? How can data and evidence help inform these evolving needs?