Rethinking economic inclusion for the poorest in the COVID-19 context


What macroeconomic policy changes have governments made in the wake of COVID-19? What will be the impact on economic inclusion programs focused on livelihoods, skills development, and public works in the economic recovery phase of the pandemic? How can governments respond to the needs of the informal sector, urban migrants, and the new poor?

To respond to a prolonged pandemic, governments have made rapid changes to social protection relief programs to safeguard the welfare of millions of poor households in collaboration with multilateral institutions, NGOs, the private sector, and a host of other development partners. This support has largely centered on social assistance and emergency relief to curb the worst impacts of the pandemic on food security, health, housing, and meeting other basic needs in crisis. Yet the pandemic has produced a far-reaching impact on the global economy and with that, the job security and economic welfare of the poor worldwide. This webinar provided insights into recent research relevant to the emerging constraints governments face in reviving struggling economies to catalyze jobs and livelihood opportunities for the poor, from the impact on women’s labor force participation to the status of urban migrants moving back to rural areas.

Our panel of researchers and discussants shared with the audience how governments can leverage recent research and macroeconomic insights from India, Egypt, Malawi, Rwanda, and the Philippines to strengthen economic recovery programming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The core focus of the webinar was on the integration of economic inclusion interventions like BRAC’s Graduation approach into the pandemic response and how they can be best utilised with social assistance to respond to current and emerging needs brought on by the crisis.  



Shagun Sabarwal, Director of Policy, Training and Communications, J-PAL South Asia

Rahma Ali, Senior Research Associate, J-PAL Middle East and North Africa



Alex Avila, Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment, Government of the Philippines

Dalitso Kalimba, Deputy Director, Department of Economic Planning and Development, Government of Malawi

Vincent Gahamanyi, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF



Lauren Whitehead, Director of Technical Assistance, BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative