57% of households ask family and friends for loans to face the effects of the pandemic in Ecuador | Economy | News

The two years of coronavirus continue to mark families living with less income and borrowing money to survive. The surveys carried out periodically by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) show the effects of the pandemic on the well-being of Ecuadorian households and that “although the same storm has fallen on all families, some are much most affected: households with children and adolescents are the hardest hit”.

In this 2022 the loss of employment continues to affect households with children (52%), above the national average (43%) and the proportion of households without children (32%). “This produces a slow and uneven economic recovery,” says the organization.

Almost 8 out of 10 households with children reported having less incomewhile in households without children this occurred in 6 out of 10. This indicates that the situation has not changed in these two years, since this trend has been maintained since 2020.

Similar to the results of previous rounds, approximately 4 in 10 households believe their income is more likely to fall in the next three months.

As of February 2022, a greater number of households consider it more likely that they will lose their jobs (33% to 42%).

And to face the crisis, asking for loans from family or friends is the main survival strategy of households (57%)after stopping buying medicines, not paying rent, basic services or debt.

Migrant remittances reached the record figure of $4,362 million in 2021

Migration remains an alternative to face the crisisespecially among households with children and urban households, reports Unicef ​​from the most recent Survey on Household Well-being in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ecuador (Encovid-Ec), which analyzes different dimensions related to comprehensive health , household economics, food security, care and education

These surveys are carried out at the national level, through random telephone calls to 1,800 households in the 24 provinces of the country. So far, five rounds have been developed: October 2020, January 2021, May 2021, October 2021 and February 2022.

In the health area, it is indicated that despite the challenges facing the health system and the interruption of some services due to the pandemic, there are improvements. Fewer households with people with chronic illnesses stopped receiving health care (from 13% in 2020 to 8% in 2022). Besides, access to childhood vaccination improvedespecially in households with a low socioeconomic level and with severe food insecurity, reaching levels above 90%.

Instead, the food insecurity does not decrease (48%), increasing substantially in households with girls and boys from the low (from 68% to 79%) and medium-low (from 63% to 73%) strata.

On access to social supports and child development services, almost 4 out of 10 households with children received support from social programs (Emergency Bonus, Human Development Bonus, among others), nearly double that of the first year of the pandemic. Similarly, more households with boys and girls under 5 years of age receive complementary feeding (from 34% to 53%) and have access to public services for child development or early education (from 30% to 38%).

In care, the mother continues to be the main person in charge of caring for children under 4 years of age (75% of households).

Access and quality of education

  • Face-to-face learning has slowly increased between October 2020 and February 2022 (from 0.8% to 24% in households with children from 5 to 11 years old and from 0.9% to 31% among households with adolescents from 12 to 17 years old), even so, the virtual or hybrid modality is the fundamental means for teaching girls, boys (85%) and adolescents (90 %).
  • With the progressive return to face-to-face education, the results show a decrease in school dropout in households with girls and boys (from 9% in the first round to 3% in the last round) and adolescents (from 8% to 5% ).
  • Among the difficulties of access to education are the lack of money, internet access and, significantly, the gaps in access to a computer between households with boys and girls from the lower strata. In households with children from 5 to 11 years of age from the low socioeconomic stratum, only 10% have access to a computer, while 74% have it in the high stratum.

Mental health

  • All households perceive that conflicts in the family environment have decreased since 2020, from 23% to 17%. In households with children and adolescents, the situation decreased from 25% in 2020 to 18% in 2022.
  • As of February 2022, 7 out of 10 households report that their boys and girls have suffered at least one emotional situation, the most common being to perceive them as sad and discouraged, aggressive or stubborn, and having new fears. This situation is maintained throughout all the rounds of surveys carried out. (I)