The COVID-19 global public health emergency has both immediate and long-term economic and social impacts. While children are largely spared the health impacts, available projections present a grim picture with rising household unemployment and poverty leading to children's school drop-out, malnutrition, higher risk of child marriage, early pregnancy, child labour, violence, skills gaps, and diminished lifetime earnings potential among the known impacts. With government budgets under pressure and a blooming recession, further cuts in services are highly likely.
To help navigate the uncertainty we are facing, this desk review will provide potential future scenarios to spark ideas, discussions, and planning. First, we will look at the impacts from previous crises and the available data to build prudent assumptions about the present situation. We will also look at the most pressing unknowns. Finally, the paper outlines four scenarios which provide opportunities to identify potential levers for positive change.
In attempts to delineate the future impacts on today's children, the paper will analyse the crisis as a dynamic phenomenon that shapes children's lives well into adulthood, with age and gender considered key influencing factors. Finally, recommendations will be proposed in alignment with a socioecological framework.
The methodology and limitations of this study are included in the annexes. It is worth noting that while the crisis will affect vulnerable children the most, it is not possible to address each dimension of vulnerability in this paper. With the exception of age and gender, children in this paper are considered those living in the Global South, even if their contexts vary widely.
Finally, the structure and approach to scenarios in this paper builds on the report “COVID-19 Scenario Planning For Nonprofit And Philanthropic Organizations: Practical Tool To Reflect On Potential Scenarios” completed by Deloitte.