CLEAR Research Highlights: Becoming poor -Social protection and attitudes towards new urban poor after Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in poverty in Bangladesh, particularly in urban areas. Rising food prices and high inflation threatened to undermine already vulnerable households ability to recover. Social protection schemes offered a vital safety-net to mitigate the effects of the crisis and enhance households’ resilience in the face of uncertainty. As the pandemic ended the “Becoming poor” project – a collaboration between IDS (Institute of Development Studies) and BIGD (BRAC Institute for Governance and Development) investigated the experiences of urban communities and the social protection policies that existed to provide support.

The research used existing secondary data, along with new surveys and interviews with people from low-income neighbourhoods in Dhaka and Chattogram. It shed light on how different households navigated the economic uncertainty of continuous lockdowns and their experiences of the support schemes offered by the state and NGOs . Becoming Poor uncovered a story of patchy access to social protection and discrimination against residents of low-income neighbourhoods. Most tellingly it documented the toll poverty took on the mental health of residents in low-income neighbourhoods as they strove to rebuild their livelihoods while overcoming stigma. 

Based on their findings the researchers generated a number of policy recommendations including measures to: 

  • Counter discrimination and stigma against residents of low-income neighbourhoods. 
  • Ensure the dignified delivery of assistance. 
  • Implement a broader integrated policy response. 
  • Expand social protection in urban areas. 

Read the following project publications to find out more…

Roelen, K. et al. (2023) Policy briefing: Precarity, Area-Based Discrimination, and Limited Support: Experiences of Urban Poverty After COVID-19 in Bangladesh

অনিশ্চয়তা, এলাকাভিত্তিক বৈষম্য, এবং অপর্যাপ্ত সাহায্য: কোভিড-১৯ পরবর্তী বাংলাদেশের শহরে বসবাসরত দরিদ্রদের অভিজ্ঞতা 

Roelen, K. et al. (2024) Social Protection Experiences of and Attitudes Towards New Urban Poor After Covid-19 in Bangladesh, IDS Working Paper 600, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/IDS.2024.006