Measuring the impact of donations at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Cunha, Luiza Ribeiro Alves and Antunes, Bianca B. P. and Rodrigues, Vinícius Picanço and Ceryno, Paula Santos and Leiras, Adriana (2022) Measuring the impact of donations at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Annals of Operations Research. ISSN 0254-5330 (

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The governments' isolation measures to contain the transmission of COVID-19 imposed a dilemma for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Since these people have very unreliable sources of income, a dilemma arises: they must either work under risky conditions or refrain from work and suffer from income cuts. Emergency donations of food and cleaning supplies in a pandemic context might be overlooked by government and civil society actors. This paper aims to model the effects of donations on mitigating the negative effects of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities. Applying the system dynamics method, we simulated the behaviour of the pandemic in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) communities and the impacts that donations of food and cleaning supplies have in these settings. We administered surveys to the beneficiaries and local organisations responsible for the final distribution of donations to gather information from the field operations. The results show that increasing access to cleaning supplies in communities through donations can significantly reduce coronavirus transmission, particularly in high-density and low-resource areas, such as slums in urban settings. In addition, we also show that food donations can increase the vulnerable population’s ability to afford necessities, alleviating the stress caused by the pandemic on this portion of the population. Therefore, this work helps decision-makers (such as government and non-governmental organisations) understand the impacts of donations on controlling outbreaks, especially under COVID-19 conditions, in a low-resource environment and, thus, aid these hard-to-reach populations in a pandemic setting.