In May 2020, UNICEF and UNFPA jointly commissioned the Families on the Edge study to explore the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women and children in low-income urban families in Malaysia. This report is the second in a series of reports under the Families on the Edge project and describes the extent to which 500 families with children in Kuala Lumpur’s low-cost flats have recovered from the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, which was from 18 March 2020 to 13 May 2020. The report is meant to offer critical insights for the general public and policymakers as Malaysia aims to ‘build-back-better’.
The purpose of this study is to support the Government of Malaysia’s efforts to mitigate the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups through the generation of high-quality evidence and promotion of stakeholder dialogue on short, medium and long- term policy solutions. Families on the Edge has been commencing over a period of at least 9 months beginning May 2020 until early 2021. Four rounds of quantitative and qualitative data collection will be undertaken over this period to allow the study to track short to medium effects.
The low-income urban families are showing signs of recovery, but it has yet to recover to the pre-crisis level. The recovery is partial, uneven, and uncertain. A sizeable number of workers remain unprotected. The COVID-19 crisis has pushed more families into poverty.
The first report analysed the immediate socio-economic impact of the COVID-19, with a focus on the relevance, adequacy and accessibility of key COVID-19 mitigation policies and other critical social services for these vulnerable groups. This second report continues on the above by analysing key changes in their lives that continue after the initial MCO, in particular those related to the economic and emotional impacts of COVID-19. Specifically, it focuses on circumstances that affect children, single mothers and person with disabilities.