Developing a Locally Rooted Approach to Covid-19 Response



In March 2020 Zambia and Malawi each 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. These national level responses are important, but they do not fully reflect how individuals, and the communities in which they reside, respond to Covid-19. The primary objective of this study is to generate a greater understanding of these responses in Zambia and Malawi. We will examine such issues as: knowledge of Covid-19; attitudes and fears surrounding health and economic impacts; social, economic and health vulnerabilities; and social distancing practices and other preventative measures. We pay particular attention to the local variation in concerns over social stigma, levels of enforcement (e.g., curfews, market-place closures, social assistance programs), and engagement of different authorities (e.g., religious leaders, local chiefs).

This study has two primary objectives: 1) To generate information and actionable insights for government officials, CSOs, donors, other stakeholders and the public and 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.


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Reports on Zambia: 



Reports on Malawi: 




Lust, Ellen (PI); Dulani, Boniface; Harris, Adam; Ferree, Karen; Kao, Kristen; Metheney, Erica. 2020. The First GLD-IPOR Covid-19 Survey in MalawiSampling Details

Our materials are also available in the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) COVID-19 Survey Archive.



Kao, Kristen, Ellen Lust, Boniface Dulani, Karen Ferree, Adam Harris, Erica Metheney (2020). “The ABCs of Covid-19 Prevention in Malawi: Authority, Benefits, and Costs of Compliance,” World Development. Find it here



Boniface Dulani. "AD HOC Meeting for the Development of Covid-19 Policy Recommendations." The Research Department in the Ministry of Health, Malawi, 23-24 September. 

Ellen Lust, Boniface Dulani, Wezi Msisha and Henry Chingaipe. "Insights from Malawi's New Government from the First GLD-IPOR Covid-19 Survey," GLD-IPOR Webinar, July 8 2020. Watch the full Webinar.


Reporting on the Project:


The Nation, Malawi


Zodiak Radio, Malawi


The Nation, Malawi



International News:

Al-Fazl 2020. "Covi-19-Bulletin"/"Africa." Al-FazlAhmadiyya Muslim Commnity, UK, No.65, 1 June. Read Article (English).

BBC News 2020. "Most Malawians 'more scared of hunger than Covid-19.'" BBC News, UK, 1 June. Read Article

BBC News 2020. "Malawi has no coronavirus - ex-President Banda.'" BBC News, UK, 10 June. Read Article

Chinese Headline New Media 2020. "Over 80% of Malawians fear hunger more than Covid-19, study shows." Chinese Headline New Media, China3 June. Read Article

Hierro, Lola 2020. "More afraid of hunger in Malawi." The Union Journal, USA, 1 June. Read Article

Hierro, Lola 2020. "Más miedo al hambre en Malawi." Una Boda Como la Tuya, Spain, 1 June. Read Article

Hierro, Lola 2020. "Más miedo al hambre en Malawi." Listinsemanal, Spain, 1 June. Read Article.

Hierro, Lola 2020. "El coronavirus en África | El continente supera los 250.000 positivos." La Neta Neta, Spain, 1 June. Read Article

Masina, Lameck 2020. "Malawi COVID-19 Cases Rise as Citizens Return from South Africa." Voice of America, USA, 2 June. Read Article.

Regnum 2020. "Жители Малави больше боятся голода, чем коронавируса – опрос." Regnum, 2 June, Russia. Read Article (Russian). 


Regional News: 

Adriaanse, Crispin 2020. "Over 80% of Malawians fear hunger more than Covid-19, study shows." Independent Online (IOL)South Africa, Southern Africa, 2 June. Read Article

Citi Newsroom 2020. "Most Malawians 'more scared of hunger than COIVID-19." Citi Newsroom (CNR), Ghana, West Africa, 1 June. Read Article.

Dzido, Justice 2020. "Most Malawians 'More Scared Of Hunger Than COVID-19'." The Publisher Newspaper, Ghana, West Africa, 2 June. Read Article.

Ghanaweb 2020. "Most Malawians 'more scared of hunger than coronavirus'." Ghanaweb, Ghana, West Africa, 1 June. Read Article.

HyperCitigh 2020. "Most Malawians ‘fear hunger than Covid-19’, survey shows." HyperCitigh, Ghana, West Africa. Read Article.

Larnyoh, Magdalene Teiko 2020. "Survey shows that most Malawians fear hunger than COVID-19." PulseLive, Kenya, East Africa, 3 June. Read Article

Leaders of Africa 2020. "Conducting Survey Research in the COVID-19 Era." Leaders of Africa, 6 June. Read Article.

URRDC 2020. "Malawians Most Trust Health Professionals to Address Covid-19 Crisis, Wary It Becomes a Political Football." Ubuntu Research and Rural Development Company Ltd. Read Article.

Writer, Staff 2020. "Most Malawians 'fear hunger than Covid-19', survey shows." Africa Feeds, Ghana, West Africa, 1 June. Read Article


National News:  

Biz Malawi 2020. "81% OF MW ISN’T AFRAID OF COVID-19." Biz Malawi Online, Malawi. Read Article

Moyo, Judith 2020. "Joyce Banda says 'there is no Covid-19 in Malawi.' Nyasa Times, Malawi, 10 June. Read Article

Muheya, Green 2020. "Survey shows Malawians don't fear Covid-19 as much as hunger, healthcare collapse." Nyasa Times, Malawi, 1 June. Read Article

Mwale, Joseph 2020. "Study assesses attitudes to Covid-19 measures." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 18 September. Read Article. 

Mzale, Dumbani 2020. "81% DON'T FEAR COVID-19 - SURVEY." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 1 June. Read Article

The Nation 2020. "Covid-19: Fears." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 8 July. Read Article.

The Nation 2020. "Covid-19: Social Reactions." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 8 July. Read Article.

The Nation 2020. "Covid-19: Trust in Authorities." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 8 July. Read Article.

The Nation 2020. "Covid-19: Vulnerabilities." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 8 July. Read Article.

The Nation 2020. "Covid-19: Economic Impact." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 8 July. Read Article.

The Nation 2020. "Covid-19: Response to Illness." The Nation Malawi (NPL), Malawi, 8 July. Read Article.

Zodiak Radio. Covid-19 and the fresh presidential elections. Live Radio Panel Discussion, 11 June 2020. Listen.