Forcibly displaced populations during COVID-19

The JDC supported the inclusion of samples of forcibly displaced populations in High Frequency Phone Surveys in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Iraq, Burkina Faso and Bangladesh.

20 Jul, 2023

Overall objectives

In the absence of data on the socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on FDPs, the JDC will support extensions of planned and existing high frequency phone-based COVID-19 surveys to include FDPs in these activities. This data will inform the policy dialogue for country and global-level planning to identify, raise awareness of, and counter negative socioeconomic outcomes of COVID-19 on FDPs. In Iraq, this activity aims to inform World Bank and WFP operations about socioeconomic changes, market functionality and the level of economic activity.

Activity description

The World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice and Development Economics Data Group have jointly conducted high frequency phone surveys (HFPS) in some 100 countries to understand welfare needs and changes in socioeconomic outlooks during the pandemic. The JDC will supported surveys in seven countries to include representative samples of forcibly displaced populations. The data collection and analysis helped answer questions on the changes in welfare, vulnerabilities and prospects during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as analytical work in each country and cross-country analysis. Specific elements include sample size, questionnaire design, and implementation arrangements.


This work follows up on the Cox’s Bazar Panel Survey fielded in March – April 2019 by Yale University and the World Bank. The survey included a representative sample of Rohingya refugee or asylum-seeking households in Cox’s Bazar to help determine how household proximity to the camp may affect welfare for Bangladeshis living in the Cox’s Bazar district as well as samples of proximate (“high exposure”) and distal (“low exposure”) hosts.  Subsequent rounds of phone surveys were implemented during the pandemic in 2020 to monitor work, wages, food security, non-labor income, and coping strategies.

Burkina Faso

The World Bank and the National Institute of Statistics and Demography are implementing a HFPS to monitor the negative effects of COVID-19 on households using household phone numbers from the 2018/19 Enquete Harmonisée sur les Conditions de Vie des Ménages (EHCVM). The HPFS will be conducted monthly for a year and will be expanded to include a large sample of forcibly displaced populations. With the technical and financial support of UNHCR, the Internationl Organization for Migration and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the government has establised a database of forcibly displaced people called CONASUR. The CONASUR database will serve as a sample frame for the additional sub-sample to be added in the HFPS. The target is 1,500 displaced households in the HFPS which will be included in the last three rounds.


The World Bank and the National Institute of Statistics, Economic and Demographic Studies (INSEED) partnered to implement a HFPS to monitor the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on households, using household phone numbers from the 2018/19 Enquete sur les conditions de vie des ménages et le secteur informel (ECOSIT 4). JDC support expanded the sample to cover 1,000 refugees households in two rounds of the survey, aiming to coincide with the third and fourth round of the national sample.


The World Bank is planning to conduct four HFPS rounds carried out by the National Institute of Statistics of Djibouti (INSD). For the sample of forcibly displaced people the team will combine data collection with that of host communities in the last two rounds and will use the same sample of households interviewed in the 2019/20 survey. This sample was drawn from UNHCR’s proGres database which has information on refugees and asylum seekers in Djibouti. The team worked closely with UNHCR to develop the sampling framework, and will continue to engage in the analysis phase and preparation of briefs with key findings.


To monitor the impact of  COVID-19 on Ethiopia’s economy and people, the World Bank, in collaboration with the government, designed and implemented a HFPS about household welfare. Data collection started at the end of April 2020 and households are called back every three to four weeks for a total of seven survey rounds to track the impact of the pandemic. With the support of the JDC, the team will include a stratum of refugees in two rounds of the survey in 2020. Data collection for the refugee stratum will coincide with rounds six and seven of the national survey. The simple random sample will include refugees with access to a phone and will be of around 1,650-2,000 households. The survey complements the Ethiopia Socio-Economic Study of Refugees which integrates data of refugees as part of the national household survey pilot.


The World Food Program (WFP) in Iraq started a mobile phone survey (mVAM) in April 2020 to acquire information on food consumption and access to basic services during the pandemic. In September 2020, this was expanded to a technical collaboration between the WFP and the World Bank. With JDC support, the household survey will be expanded to include interviews with 800 internally displaced people (IDPs) and 600 returnee households. The team will work with the JDC to identify returnees and IDPs is adherance to EGRISS guidelines.


The World Bank, the UN Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF) and academics at UC Berkeley and Harvard are conducting a HFPS on the impact of the COVID-19 on Jordanians and Syrian refugees. Two waves of face-to-face panel surveys are planned for a sample of 1,700 Jordanian households from the National Unified Registry. Of these, three sub-samples will be defined.* 500 Jordanians randomly drawn from the registry will also be surveyed to compare results to Syrian refugees over three rounds. JDC funding will support a second panel survey of 800 Syrian refugees over three waves.  The sample will be randomly drawn from from the UNHCR database.  All the surveys will be paired with an identical, face-to-face, survey of a comparable sample. The data and findings will be incorporated into the Jordan Poverty Assessment and will also be used to inform UNHCR operations.

Engagement with partners

UNHCR country and extended teams will be consulted to inform them of the data collection schedule and content and will be invited to suggest a small set of items that could be added to the questionnaire which would be particularly relevant to their operations. In some countries, the team will engage with UNHCR for support in developing the sampling strategy and sampling frames, seeking comments on intermediate and final deliverables, and defining possible joint data collection and analysis where opportune.

Background and Context

The COVID-19 tore through lives and livelihoods across the globe with alarming pace and impartiality. Although the most vulnerable populations may be the most affected, without sufficient data it was difficult to understand the gravity of the challenge or design countermeasures to alleviate suffering. Timely data and evidence is critical in monitoring and mitigating the social and economic effects of the crisis on vulnerable groups and the inclusion of forcibly displaced populations in national COVID-19 responses.

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have significant short- and long-term impact on household welfare in Burkina Faso, specifically income and employment, prices and long-term human capital.

* The first is a nationally representative sub-sample stratified across income distribution. The second and third sub-samples are households that receive the government’s emergency cash assistance response and those close to the targeting criteria but not included to understand the effectiveness of the response.

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