Research Project

Understanding the Gendered Impact of COVID-19 on Young Self-Employed Nigerian Women and Co-Producing Solutions that Foster Better Systems and Wellbeing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionate economic and health impacts on self-employed workers in Nigeria. Self-employed women and youth have been particularly affected. Though uniquely disruptive, the COVID-19 pandemic shares similarities with life events such as childbirth, family emergencies, and health emergencies.

The project has two main objectives:

i. To conduct a gendered situational analysis to assess how the COVID-19 pandemic and other disruptive life events affect the paid and unpaid work and the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of self-employed young women in Nigeria; their strategies for coping with such events, and how these compare with those of self-employed young men.

ii. To co-produce with self-employed young women, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders a gender-transformative intervention that integrates social protection and promotes wellbeing. This will address the research question of how to collaboratively strengthen women’s resilience against disruptive life events and emergencies.


Our Process

We will primarily be conducting the project in Oyo State, in southwestern Nigeria, one of the country’s four most populous states. It is a suitable site to capture a wide range of self-employed young workers’ experiences given its large and diverse population of migrants from across Nigeria and given the baseline data that we have from there based on the Ph.D. work of Iyeyinka Kusi-Mensah (a member of the research team).

This is a multi-method project with three phases:

Situational Analysis This phase of the project entails conducting a situational analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other significant life events and experiences on the work and well-being of self-employed young women and comparing these with the experiences of self-employed young men using qualitative interviews, secondary data analysis and digital storytelling.

Co-Production This phase involves co-producing interventional packages with self-employed young women, using methods of focus group discussions, scoping and systematic reviews, policy analysis, and theory of change workshops aimed at improving their resilience against disruptive significant life events and experiences.

Piloting & Evaluation In this phase of the project, we will be conducting a quasi-experimental study to pilot the interventional packages co-produced in phase 2 and find out the effectiveness of various interventions for improving the resilience of self-employed young women.

This project will advance knowledge of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other disruptive life events on the work and wellbeing of self-employed young women and provide co-produced, actionable solutions to mitigate the effects of these disruptors on their work and wellbeing.