Policy Brief - COVID-19 & Urgent Need for Child-Sensitive Social Protection

The COVID-19 pandemic is negatively affecting children’s lives in a myriad of ways. Well-intentioned government containment and response efforts such as movement restrictions and school closures have disrupted education for more than 1.5 billion students,1 leaving some of the most vulnerable children without nutritious school meals and at heightened risk of dropping out when schools reopen. It has overstretched health systems, diverting health resources and capacity to COVID-19 response and limiting children’s access to critical primary health care and nutrition services that protect them against malnutrition and preventable deaths. It has significantly reduced or eliminated many parents’ and caregivers’ income-earning opportunities, especially for those reliant on the informal economy and daily earnings, leading to reductions in the quantity and quality of meals for the poorest families, and forcing families to make risky choices in order to meet their basic needs.