Developing a Locally Rooted Approach to Covid-19 Response (2020-2021)


Photo Source GLD

In March 2020, Zambia and Malawi reported their first cases of Covid-19, with both governments restricting non-essential travel, banning large public gatherings, and establishing emergency committees to spearhead efforts to contain the pandemic at a national level. GLD implemented a study in 2020 in both Malawi and Zambia to generate a better understanding of citizens’ responses to such measures, and the impact of the pandemic on their individual lives and communities. 

In order to generate as complete a picture as possible of the local situations over time, we conducted three survey rounds in Malawi and two rounds in Zambia. These rounds provided a total of 17,643 observations, gathering information on issues including knowledge of Covid-19; attitudes and fears surrounding health and economic impacts; social, economic, and health vulnerabilities; social distancing practices and other preventative measures. Particular attention was paid to the local variation in concerns over the social stigma, levels of enforcement, and engagement of different authorities.  

This study has two primary objectives:

1) To generate information and actionable insights for government officials, CSOs, donors, other stakeholders and the public

2) To provide insights for academics and practitioners concerned with understanding the relationships between individual, household, and community vulnerabilities and resilience in the face of crises.

Funded by: The Swedish Research Council.

Related Publications:

Kao, Kristen, Ferree, Karen, Boniface Dulani, Adam S. Harris, Ellen Lust, Cecilia Ahsan Jansson, and Erica Metheney. 2023. “Symptoms and Stereotypes: Perceptions and Responses to Covid-19 in Malawi and Zambia.” Comparative Political Studies. (full article).

Kao, Kristen,  Harris, Adam, Ferree, Karen, Dulani, Boniface, Lust, Boniface, Metheney, Erica, and Ahsan, Cecilia (2021). “Elections in the Time of Covid-19: The Triple Crises Around Malawi’s 2020 Presidential Elections.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties. (full article)

Kao, Kristen, with Harris, Adam; Ferree, Karen; Dulani, Boniface; Lust, Ellen; Metheney, Erica and Ahsan, Cecilia (2021). “Stigma, Trust, and Procedural Integrity: Covid-19 Testing in Malawi.” World Development. (full article)

Kao, Kristen, with Lust, Ellen; Dulani, Boniface; Ferree, Kare; Harris, Adam; and Metheney, Erica (2020). “The ABCs of Covid-19 Prevention in Malawi: Authority, Benefits and, Costs of Compliance.” World Development. 137: 105167. (full article)

Kao, Kristen; with Ferree, Karen; Boniface Dulani; Harris, Adam; Lust, Ellen, Ahsan, Cecilia and Metheney Erica (2020). “Disease Threat, Stereotypes, and Covid–19: An Early View from Malawi and Zambia.” 2021. The Program on Governance and Local Development Working Paper Series, No. 36, University of Gothenburg. (full paper)

Kao, Kristen, with Ahsan, Cecilia; Bergman, Jennifer; Bjurnevall, Sara; Dulani, Boniface; Ferree, Karen; Fischer Madsen, Lucas; Harris, Adam; Hinfelaar, Marja; Lust, Ellen; Metheney, Erica Ann (2021). “Fears, Vulnerabilities, and Precautions over Covid-19: A Report on Citizens’ Experiences in Malawi and Zambia.” . Report of The Program on Governance and Local Development, University of Gothenburg. (full report)

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